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Prioritize your mental health this holiday season

GEHA | December 12, 2022

Tips for coping with holiday stress and emotions.

If you don’t feel cheerful this holiday season, know you are not alone. It’s perfectly normal to feel extra stress and anxiety around the holidays for a variety of reasons. You may be spending extra money, struggling to meet deadlines at work, grieving the loss of a loved one, exhausting yourself with holiday prep or missing sunny days.

Your feelings are valid, so allow yourself some grace if you don’t feel joy all throughout the holiday season. Additionally, you can try out these tips to prioritize your mental health.

  • Acknowledge your feelings. Remind yourself that it is normal and okay to feel stressed and anxious around the holidays. Take time to express your feelings and don’t force yourself to feel happy.
  • Manage your expectations. Odds are the holidays won’t be perfect and you may experience some change from previous years. Do your best to embrace the change and celebrate in the ways you can. 
  • Make time for yourself. When you feel overwhelmed or anxious, it’s okay to step back. You can set healthy boundaries with your loved ones and say “no” when you need to.
  • Reach out to loved ones. If you’re struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety, reach out to a friend or family member. Even if you can’t see each other in-person, you can still talk via text, call or social media.
  • Keep healthy habits. Staying healthy physically will help you stay healthy mentally. Eat healthy meals, get plenty of rest and participate in regular physical activity. Reduce tension from stress by giving yourself a few minutes of quiet every day and doing some relaxation stretches before bed.
  • Ask for help. If the holidays become too much to handle, reach out to a professional for guidance and support. This may be your primary care physician or the new 988 national mental health hotline number.

If you’re a member of any GEHA medical plan, you are eligible for telehealth powered by MDLIVE. Take advantage of the licensed therapists that are available to discuss your mental health.

For more mental health advice, check out these GEHA articles:

“Stress, depression and the holidays: tips for coping.”, Mayo Clinic, 11 December 2020
“Mental health during the holidays: five tips to ease the struggle.”, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, 3 December 2020
“Five ways to take care of your mental health this holiday season.”, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, 29 November 2021
“McLean’s guide to managing mental health around the holidays.”, McLean, 22 December 2021

This information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and if you have questions regarding a medical condition, regimen, or treatment you should always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice from a qualified medical professional because of information you have read herein.

This is a brief description of the features of Government Employees Health Association, Inc.’s medical plans. Please read the GEHA Federal brochures which are available at All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations and exclusions set forth in the Federal brochures.