Coping with Stress During the Holidays: Finding Peace and Yourself

October 16th, 2023 ANGEL TANG, AMFT
The Holidays is often talked about as “the most wonderful time of the year”. And it can be stressful for many people, especially for those who struggle with anxiety and depression. Here I’ll discuss some practical strategies to manage these very real feelings.

Holiday stress


1.  Permission to be authentic

It is perfectly normal to have emotions – positive ones, AND negative ones.

Name your feelings – sadness, anxiousness, loneliness, overwhelmed, they are all real. Give yourself permission to have them.

They all have a place in our experience as humans. By first of identifying and inviting your negative emotions to be felt, no longer supressing them, you then allow authenticity and this can help reduce a layer of stress.


2. Permission to self-care

Ahh here’s the buzzword you might be seeking for.

And while this self-care has been thrown around in tiktok-therapist-sphere,  self-care doesn’t have to be a $10 Starbucks drink, a 90 minutes skin care routine, or $300 salon trip. That’s right! There are other ways, even in your daily hustles, to do self-care. Here’s what I mean…

  • Prioritizing your own emotional needs first
  • Looking inward to find out what part of your body stores your emotions. Acknowledge them.
  • Ask yourself “am I breathing?”
  • Eating scheduled meals and nurish your body
  • Set boundaries around holiday triggers
  • Call a friend

    This leads to my next point…

3. Permission to ask for help

Emotions, especially stress, are challenging to work through alone. Sometimes self-care requires some help from others. 

Phone a friend, open up to a partner, contact your Employer Assistance Program (if your employer offers one), or contact a mental health professional for support. Talking about your emotions and receiving support can be just what you need and help you find healing.

You get to give yourself this permission. No one else can give you this. No one else knows what help you need until you recognize it, so ask for help.


4. Permission to do Less

Slow it down.

Look inward and invite slowness into your life.

Stress makes you want to do more. And that is normal, and be curious about what stress feels like in your body, and with curiosity, invite non-judgment with this feeling.

Whatever you are feelings are true and valid. 


What expections are you holding yourself to that really, truly, are not serving positive purposes in your life? or the lives of others? What boundaries can you set around unrealistic expectations set by others, or by yourself?

Being authentic about your own needs and recognize that you get the choice of doing less, and giving yourself permission to do less.


Holiday stress


Stress during the holidays is an individual journey that you can get support with. Acknowledging your feelings, looking inward for your own realistic expectations, practicing self-care, and do less, you may be able to find peace and healing during this challenging season. Remember that you’re not alone, and there are resources and people available to help you navigate the ups and downs of the holiday season.


I hope you got some ideas and entertainment through this post. This post is not a replacement for receiving professional mental health help through mental health professionals. If you are struggling with mental health issues, persistent anxiety, or other psychological illness, please seek professional psychotherapy. I would be happy to help! A free consultation is a call away.




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by Allison Arkfeld, LMFT 118095 at The Cove: Therapy & Coaching