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Mental Health during the Holidays and a Pandemic

The holiday season can bring about great joy and excitement for many. It can also bring additional stress. And now this year, as everything looks different, it brings a new set of challenges.

Navigating the holidays while also navigating a pandemic may increase feelings of stress, anxiety, isolation, and depression. There will be fewer gatherings of friends, family, and colleagues. Many individuals and families may be experiencing increased financial distress. People may be experiencing an increased bout of uncertainty and fear related to the coronavirus pandemic. The changes of plans and traditions in a time of increased stress can be difficult to cope with.

Keeping yourself safe and healthy also includes taking care of your mental health. Make self-care a priority. Get enough sleep, eat healthy, keep hydrated, practice gratitude, avoid excessive use of alcohol, and reach out to friends.

A few other fun ideas to keep a smile on your face:

  • Surprise someone with a Christmas Carol call!

  • Bring back the old-fashioned letter! Mail holiday and New Year greeting cards.

  • Host a cookie decorating party via zoom.

  • View holiday lights by driving around neighborhoods.

We are all going to need to shift our expectations this year. Most likely your plans are going to change this holiday season. Talk with your friends and family now about what you’ll be doing so everyone has time to adjust. Try to stay positive and remember this is a temporary situation.

If you’re still finding yourself sad, hopeless, or unable to enjoy the holidays this year, you may be struggling with a mental health condition. Take an online screening to determine if what you’re feeling is a sign of something like depression or anxiety rather than holiday stress.

If your feelings are overwhelming you, contact your local healthcare provider or call the 24/7 Portage County Helpline at 330-678-HELP


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