Blog

December 13, 2019

How to Help Your Loved Ones Cope With Anxiety and Depression During the Holidays 

Sophia L. Thomas DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP

The holidays can be stressful, especially for people with anxiety and depression. One in five adults experiences mental health issues each year — or about one at every dinner table. Here’s how you can support those who may be struggling.

  1. Encourage self-care. Sleep, healthy eating and mindfulness are keys to good mental hygiene.

  2. Embrace the highs and lows. There’s more pressure to be joyous during the holidays, but it’s unrealistic to sustain.  

  3. Don’t overdo it. Plan for downtime and say no to keep the holidays from becoming overwhelming. 

  4. Live in the moment. Avoid comparing one holiday to another or dwelling on old memories that taint new ones. 

  5. Sweat together. Exercise alleviates stress and improves mood.

  6. Find help. Encourage them to talk to their health care provider about treatment options, even if it’s just a seasonal bout. 

Six out of 10 people who struggle with mental illness say the holidays make their condition worse, most likely because of unrealistic pressure to make it the “most wonderful time of the year.” These tips can help ease anxiety and depression among your friends and family, and make the holidays a lot more tolerable for the ones you hold dear.