Licensed Psychotherapist Melissa Hummelt, with online mental health platform BetterHelp, explained that the survey found “about 45%, are worried about their mental health during the holiday season. And 72% of Americans expect something to negatively affect their mental well-being this winter.”
Hummelt said holiday stressors include family gatherings, with one in four survey participants predicting family dynamics negatively impact their mental health. Additionally, 31% of participants said holiday shopping, spending and cooking will negatively impact their mental health and 46% said finances are a major stressor too.
Over half, 55%, of participants said they cope by indulging themselves. Forty-two percent said they cope by sleeping more, followed by 35% who said they cope by binge-watching, 28% spend time on social media and 33% talk to a loved one.
When faced with holiday stress, Hummelt says to “go easy on yourself. Give yourself permission to feel and express what you’re going through. Holidays are an emotional time for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons [and] are loaded with a lot of expectations.”
The psychotherapist said it’s important to make time for yourself and prioritize things that will allow you to enjoy the holidays such as sleep, exercise or alone time.
“Tuning in to your needs helps you to be the best host, the best guest, the best gift-giver, whatever you need to be for your friends and family and most importantly for yourself,” Hummelt said.
When it comes to family-related stress, Hummelt noted the importance of setting boundaries.
“When you find yourself frustrated, don’t be afraid to step outside, find something else to focus on for a few minutes or be direct and set clear boundaries about what you do and do not want to discuss,” Hummelt said.
In addition to maintaining your mental health, Hummelt said it’s also important to reach out to family and friends to make sure they’re okay by asking how you can support them.