The holiday season is an exciting but stressful time of year. In the midst of a pandemic, things can be more anxiety provoking than enjoyable. Here’s some tips to manage your mental health during the holiday season.

Decide and be clear of your group-size comfort level.

Gatherings during the holidays should be a joyful time with those you love. But your health is paramount. So, make sure to be clear on your ideal group size. Along with that, decide on if you need your gathering to be completely vaccinated, recently tested, or wearing a mask. Additionally, make sure you express to others what you are comfortable with in terms of COVID guidelines. If you decide that gathering in person is too stressful or uncomfortable, try meeting virtually for the holidays! 

If traveling, try to travel during non-peak times.

Traveling during the holiday season can be a hectic experience. With COVID-19 being a factor, you’ll want to select your travel days wisely and avoid peak holiday travel days. The most popular travel days for Thanksgiving each year are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after. For Christmas, the 23rd and the 28th are peak days. Avoid these to ensure stress relief and minimal COVID exposure.

Remember the intentions of the holiday, and BREATHE.

It’s easy to lose track of what the holidays are for when you begin to stress over every little thing. But just remember to take a minute and understand what they’re for. Think about what you’re thankful for. You can do this by keeping a gratitude journal. Also remember this time is meant for you to be with loved ones and to enjoy the company of those closest to you. Last but not least, make sure you take a second to breathe, be present, and enjoy the moment.

Take some time for yourself, don’t try to be all things for all people.

The holidays often have many tasks involved (hosting, cooking, gifting, etc.) so much to the point that it can feel like you’re working instead of on holiday. Remember to take a step back. Take some time for self-care, relaxation, and to be by yourself. It’s good to do things for those you love over the holidays, but remember to do some things for yourself. 


The holidays are what you make them. Managing your mental health with these tips can help you enjoy the holidays for what they are supposed to be, a nice break to spend time with loved ones. Make decisions to put yourself in the right frame of mind so you can use the time to relax, unwind, and spend quality time with others. 


About the Author: Written by Trey Schwartz. Trey is in his final year of studies at Purdue University.  He is studying Mass Communication & Media Studies.  Trey enjoys learning about personal growth.

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