Managing your mental health during the holiday season can be a challenge, and Christmas can be especially difficult for people experiencing depression or anxiety. While Christmas is the highlight of the year for many people, it can also cause stress, loneliness, and anxiety for those who suffer with their mental health.

Finding the right balance between celebrating and self-care is crucial during the holiday season. If you’re searching for strategies and tips to help you manage mental health at Christmas, we can help you.

Whether you’re dealing with holiday-related stress, loneliness, or simply seeking ways to make this Christmas more enjoyable and peaceful, our suggestions will provide you with valuable insights to manage your mental health at Christmas this year. See our top tips to help you cope during the Christmas break.


Is it Normal to Feel Anxious During Christmas?

Feeling anxious during Christmas is much more common than many people realise. The holiday season often brings with it a range of stressful events and worries that can trigger anxiety. Common anxieties experienced during Christmas can include the pressure to meet high expectations, such as finding the perfect gifts, hosting gatherings, or maintaining family traditions.

Financial strain from holiday spending can also contribute to anxiety, as well as the need to juggle various commitments and obligations.

Anxiety during Christmas can also be caused by the common emphasis on happiness and togetherness during this period. For those who suffer from anxiety or mental health issues, this expectation can intensify feelings of loneliness or sadness and cause a decline in mental health.

If you find yourself feeling anxious during Christmas, know that you’re not alone, and it’s okay to acknowledge and address these feelings. Knowing how to manage anxiety at Christmas can help you to enjoy the festive period – continue reading to see our tips to manage mental health this holiday season.


What is the Relationship Between Mental Health and Christmas

There is a strong relationship between mental health and Christmas, as the holiday period can cause mental health to improve or worsen for many people across the world. While Christmas is often associated with feelings of joy, it can also have negative impacts on mental health, such as increased anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

For some, Christmas can provide an opportunity for social connection and support, as spending time with friends and family, participating in holiday traditions and acts of kindness such as gift-giving can provide a sense of belonging and happiness. These social interactions and positive experiences can contribute to improved mental well-being.

However, the holiday season can also be a cause of severe stress and emotional challenges for many individuals. The pressure to meet high expectations, whether related to presents, hosting gatherings, or creating a perfect holiday atmosphere, can lead to heightened stress and anxiety. Financial strain from holiday expenses can add to these pressures, potentially impacting mental health negatively.

For some people, Christmas may also be a reminder of loss, loneliness, or past trauma, which can intensify poor mental health and isolation during this period. The emphasis on happiness and celebration during Christmas can make individuals who are struggling with mental health issues feel even more isolated or pressured to mask their struggles.

It’s crucial for individuals to be aware of their own mental health needs, seek support when necessary, and find a balance that allows them to enjoy the positive aspects of Christmas while managing its potential challenges. See our tips to learn how to manage mental health at Christmas below.


5 Top Tips to Manage Mental Health at Christmas

Knowing how to manage mental health at Christmas can help you during the period if you typically find it difficult. 5 ways to manage mental health during Christmas include:

Take a Moment to Yourself

Giving yourself a moment to manage your emotions and feelings can really benefit you if you are struggling with your mental health at Christmas. The deadline of Christmas Day and family/social commitments around the period can cause social anxiety or negative emotions. Taking a moment to process how you feel can help to clear your mind ahead of busy events. If you are suffering from anxiety it may be a good decision to avoid alcohol, as alcohol can worsen symptoms of anxiety.

Reach Out for Support

Having somebody available to talk to can massively impact your mental health. Whether it is a therapist, a family member, a loved one, a friend or a stranger, talking about how you feel can positively impact your mental health and wellbeing.

By speaking openly about your feelings, you will be able to connect with somebody else who can share advice, alleviate anxieties and offer a listening ear. Feeling alone during Christmas can negatively affect your mental health – reach out to someone to help.

Practice Mindfulness Techniques

Taking time for yourself and focusing on your own wellbeing is another useful way to manage mental health at Christmas. Yoga sessions, meditation, somatic therapy sessions, journalling and other mindfulness techniques can help to boost mood and alleviate stress and anxiety.

Set Realistic Expectations

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, eating disorders or other mental health conditions that may make Christmas difficult to manage, setting short term goals and creating realistic expectations can be another good way to manage mental health during Christmas.

A huge cause of additional anxiety around the holidays is expectation. By setting realistic goals that you can achieve or complete, you can help reduce stress and boost your mood during difficult periods.

Take the Pressure Off Yourself

If you are feeling overwhelmed and unsure how to manage mental health at Christmas, ask for help! Family and friends can help to reduce any pressure you feel and alleviate any additional stress you may be experiencing. Having a support system in place can massively benefit you, so don’t be afraid to reach out to others.


How to Cope with Loneliness at Christmas

Feeling alone at Christmas can result in poor mental health, such as depression or low mood. As Christmas is promoted as a social time spent with loved ones, it can make people feel more lonely than ever which can worsen mental health.

If you are struggling with your mental health or feeling lonely at Christmas, reach out to the local community for support and company. Whether it is a neighbour, friend, family member or stranger, talking about your feelings with somebody can help you to feel less alone.

If someone you know is struggling with loneliness, speaking to them regularly can help to boost their mood and alleviate negative feelings. Even a short conversation can help a person feeling lonely, so reach out for help.

If you are struggling with addiction and mental health, we can help at Ocean Recovery. Reach out today to learn more about our treatments and dual diagnosis programmes.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: December 1, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.