How to Be Well This Holiday Season

Dec 9, 2022

The holiday season is usually a time filled with joy, traditions, and celebration, but for many, it can be just the opposite. Perhaps a loved one has passed away, their absence altering your typical traditions. Maybe the holidays create a feeling of loneliness if you don’t have someone to spend them with. Maybe the stress of managing the many expectations for family gatherings and gift-giving can be too much to bear. A few of our staff offered some advice and further resources for coping with difficult emotions this holiday season:

“Discover your own traditions that can bring you happiness. We often feel we are bound to our family traditions that add additional stress. Give yourself permission to create new traditions for yourself and/or your family.”

“Gratitude increases our mood and lowers stress. Gratitude can lower your blood pressure and increase your immunity. Find 3 things to be grateful for and take some time to meditate or focus on those 3 things.”

“Practice self-care. Setting time aside to commit to honoring ourselves and our hard work is important. Self-care reduces our anxiety, depression, and anger, and increases our energy and immune functioning.”

  • Christy Durbin, MS, LPCS, LPCC, Treatment Director/Licensed Program Manager/Clinical Supervisor at Maghakian Place

“I am having this conversation with many folks right now that I encounter through my community work with the Saint Paul Police Department – especially post-pandemic. Many of them are facing financial strain, burnout, and/or are experiencing trauma-related triggers, often not leaving room for their own needs and self-care during the holidays. I recently met with an individual who is struggling through the holidays, but referred to the great Amy Poehler: ‘It’s never overreacting to ask for what you need and want.’”

  • Amber Ruth, MSW, LICSW, SPPD COAST Embedded Social Worker

“Acknowledge your feelings and validate that the holidays can bring lots of mixed emotions – and that is okay. You can feel multiple things (joy, grief, stress, sadness, etc.) at once and it’s okay to give yourself permission to just ‘feel how you feel’ without shame or judgment.”

  • Caitlin Lietzau, MSW, LGSW, Admin with School-Linked Program

“Give yourself permission to say no, whether it be to a family gathering that you know does not honor your needs or to the extra party that may put you over the edge. Give yourself grace and permission to honor your own needs.”

“Schedule time to ‘breathe’ and feel whatever feelings may come. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings and grieve those who have passed, traditions that may have changed, and the heaviness that can come with the holiday season.”

  • Julie Bourque, Case Manager II with Children’s Targeted Case Management

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