Mental Health Support for the Holidays

While the holidays can be filled with nostalgia, gratitude, and joy, they can also come with challenges. Grief, conflicts in relationships, and juggling many obligations can make the holidays difficult to manage. At Pathlight, we understand how holiday stressors affect mental health. To offer support, we’ve put together this holiday-specific mental health page full of tips, coping skills, and resources to help you through holiday challenges.

Find the Best Resources for You

Each mental wellness journey is unique, so what you need might look different from what others need. We’ve gathered a wide variety of resources ranging in topics and support needs. Flip through to find the best options for you.

  • Support

    The link between social support and mental wellness is strong.

  • Boundaries

    Boundaries enable us to create an environment that supports recovery.

  • Grief

    Talking about grief and loss helps us cope.

  • Mindfulness

    Mindfulness increases self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-compassion.

  • Coping Skills

    Coping skills help regulate emotions, have effective communication, and navigate stress.

  • Helping a Loved One

    You can be an effective part of your loved one’s support system. 

Support Through Community Connection

When we’re surrounded by people who accept us fully for who we are, we’re more likely to feel supported, loved and valued. That’s one of the reasons such a strong link exists between community and mental health. Human beings tend to thrive when they’re in communities — and struggle more in isolation.

Increase your community by learning more about what type of community would be most helpful to you, joining a support group, or connecting with others online through platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

  • Supportive space meets Tuesdays 11/28/23–1/02/24. Hosted by ERC Pathlight & and Nōn Wels of The Feely Human Collective.

  • Pathlight Peer Support Groups

    Pathlight offers support groups for anxiety and mood disorders.

  • Loneliness Vs. Solitude - Is There A Difference?

    Take a deeper look at loneliness vs. solitude and how they affect our mental health.

  • Impact of Community on Mental Health (and How to Find Yours)

    Learn the five benefits of social connection, and resources to find support.

  • Hope for the Holidays: Mental Health Treatment and the Holiday Season

    Treatment is available throughout the holidays – find support today.

  • Only7Seconds: Resources

    Gain tools to address loneliness and live more connected.

  • 1N5: Resources

    Mental health tips, and crisis resources at your fingertips.

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Resources

    Share your experiences, find support, and learn coping skills.

  • The Loveland Foundation: Resources

    Connection and healing created for communities of color, especially Black women and girls.

  • Trans Lifeline: Resources

    Community support and resources created by trans people for trans people.

Creating and Maintaining Boundaries

The holidays can come with many challenges or demands. Knowing what our needs and desires are, and being able to express those to others can help us protect our mental well-being.

"A boundary lets those in my life know what is acceptable to me and unacceptable. A boundary says, 'This is the line, and this is how you cross it.' They are actually what creates authentic connections and are centered in my values."

"It is okay to not spend the holidays with people who do not share your values. You are worthy of boundaries, self-care and deserve good mental health. We must take care of ourselves. This allows us to be more present for those who want to share this time of year together."

Eric Dorsa (they/them) | Pathlight National Recovery Advocate
  • Setting Boundaries for Mental Health

    Read about developing boundaries from someone with lived experience.

  • Boundaries: Setting Our Children Up for Success

    Learn about supporting a child in recovery by setting boundaries as a parent.

  • Exploring Parenting - Identifying Personal Blocks to Setting Boundaries

    Tips to address barriers that impact a parent’s ability to set boundaries.

Recognizing Grief During the Holidays

The holidays can remind us of what we’re grateful for. They can also remind us of who we’ve lost or what we don’t have. What do we do with these difficult feelings? How do we navigate them during the holidays - a time when we might feel pressure to be joyful or celebratory? These tips and resources can help you learn how to talk about your grief and how to cope, or how to support others who are grieving.

  • Healing Through Grief And Loss

    Learn about common grief misconceptions, and how to talk about loss with friends and family.

  • Good Grief

    Hear from those who have lived experience talking about loss, and honoring it during the holidays.

  • Skills Building Series: Grief

    Learn to accept grief's presence rather than avoiding it, and why this this is helpful for your mental health.

  • Is Grief the Same as Depression?

    Grief and depression are not the same, although symptoms may overlap. Learn more.

  • How to Support Your Child Through a Loss

    Tips for parents who are comforting a grieving child.

  • Only7Seconds: Talking to Your Teenagers About Grief

    Tips and wisdom for those helping a teen who is grieving.

Practicing Mindfulness and Meditation

According to psychotherapist Dr. Russ Harris, mindfulness is simply “paying attention with openness, curiosity, flexibility, and kindness.” Mindfulness can help us increase self-awareness and develop self-acceptance and self-compassion. Practicing mindfulness during the holidays can be a powerful way to experience more balance, calm and peace. Mindfulness doesn’t mean we won’t experience any difficult emotions or thoughts, but it can help us be less reactive to these experiences – acting within our wisdom and values when moving through challenges.

Many of us think of mindfulness as the same as meditation. But that is actually not true. While meditation can be a great way to access mindfulness, you don’t have to use it in order to practice mindfulness. Allow yourself to pick the mindfulness or meditation practices that are most helpful to you.

sitting in park on bench
  • 3 Ways Mindfulness Supports Depression and Anxiety Recovery

    Gain lasting improvements in mental health by practicing mindfulness.

  • Urge Surfing

    A skill to move through urges for behaviors that are not serving us.

  • Leaves on a Stream

    A tip for noticing thoughts without attaching to them.

  • Four Square Breathing

    Use slow and measured breaths to relieve stress.

  • Loving Kindness Meditation

    Create a feeling of kindness and compassion for ourselves, and loved ones.

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation

    A body-based mindfulness exercise for relaxation.

Developing Coping Skills for Mental Health

Learning coping skills is an important part of developing and maintaining mental wellness. Coping skills can help us regulate our emotions, have effective communication with others, and navigate stressful situations; all of which could come in handy while preparing for, or actively dealing with holiday challenges. Whether you’re just starting out or need some refreshers, these resources can provide you some tips for where to start.

smelling flower
  • 10 Mental Health Tips for the Holidays

    10 tips to help you reduce stress and find balance. 

  • Mental Health Skills Building Series: Anxiety

    Tips for managing anxiety during the holidays.

  • Skills Building for Mental Health: Depression

    Tips for managing depression and seasonal affective disorder during the holidays.

  • Stress Awareness

    Learn helpful tools to manage stress in the moment. 

  • The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety – And How to Cope

    Develop coping skills for both chronic stress and anxiety.

  • Does Nature Heal?

    A lived experience story about nature, self-awareness, mindfulness, connection, and healing.

  • 1N5 Resources: Self-Care

    Resources and tips for mindfulness, sleep, nutrition, and movement.

  • Only7Seconds: Notice. Stop. Reframe

    Your thoughts can be your greatest gift if you NOTICE. STOP. REFRAME. 

Helping a Loved One

With possible changes in routine, extra social events, or additional stress, the holidays can be a triggering time for those with anxiety, depression, or trauma-related disorders. You may notice old or new symptoms popping up for your loved one and wonder what to do or how to help. When someone you love is suffering, you may feel lost, alone, or powerless. We have developed resources, recorded presentations and support groups designed to help you learn more about your loved one’s experiences, and how you can be an effective part of their support system. 
  • The Basics On Mood & Anxiety Disorders With Dr. Howard Weeks

    Hear common questions/answers about anxietyand mood disorders.

  • Family Involvement in Mental Health Treatment: Q&A

    How families can foster sustainable recovery.

  • Courageous Caregiving: Resiliency Tools for the Journey

    Skills to combat irritability, burnout, and loss of confidence in caregiving.
  • Exploring Parenting - Identifying Personal Blocks to Setting Boundaries

    Address barriers that impact your ability to set boundaries as a caregiver.

  • How to Support Your Child Through a Loss

    Tips for parents who are comforting a grieving child.

  • A Therapist Shares How to Talk About Suicide

    Tips for supporting a friend or family member you’re worried about.

Need More Support? Learn About Treatment Options.

When mood, anxiety or trauma-related disorders start to impact our day-to-day lives, and we’re unable to manage symptoms on our own or with outpatient care, it’s time to consider a little extra support. Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center offers a full spectrum of mood, anxiety and trauma-related services for children, adolescents and adults of all genders. We are committed to an environment of cultural humility: grounded in a foundation of safety, mindfulness, and awareness to ensure the best environment for engagement, learning and recovery.

  • Treatment and Services for Children and Adolescents

    When your child is struggling with a mood and anxiety disorder, their pain is your pain. This experience can feel distressing, isolating and – at times – hopeless. Pathlight’s goal is to guide you and your child on a path to long-lasting change, healing, and life-changing recovery.
  • Treatment and Services for Adults

    Pathlight’s adult programming offers mood and anxiety disorder treatment for all genders ages 18 and older — bringing together a highly experienced, multidisciplinary team of experts to address the physical, psychological and social implications of these conditions.

Speak With a Mental Health Professional Today

Connect with an experienced mental health professional to understand how Pathlight can help you or your loved one. This conversation is free and there is no commitment required. We're here to help. Call us at 877-711-1878 or schedule a time to talk.

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