Coping with Stress and Depression During the Holidays

This is an edited version of a presentation that I made in 2006 at the Morristown, NJ Depression Bipolar Support Alliance. It addressed many issues about dealing with the Holidays and provides excellent coping strategies to make your holiday season the best it can be.




Here are some tips to help your holiday season be a healthy one!

  • Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Try to set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself. Organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Do not put entire focus on just one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day) remember it is a season of holiday sentiment and activities can be spread out (time-wise) to lessen stress and increase enjoyment.


  • Remember the holiday season does not banish reasons for feeling sad or lonely; there is room for these feelings to be present, even if the person chooses not to express them. Leave “yesteryear” in the past and look toward the future. Life brings changes. Each season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. Don’t set yourself up in comparing today with the “good ol’ days.”


  • Do something for someone else. Try volunteering some time to help others.


  • Enjoy activities that are free, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations; going window shopping without buying; making a snowperson with children.


  • Be aware that excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.


  • Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way.


  • Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends or contact someone you have not heard from for awhile.


  • Save time for yourself! Recharge your batteries! Let others share responsibility of activities.