The holiday mental health survival guide: how to manage stress this holiday season

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Nearly a third of all Americans anticipate being more stressed out this holiday season compared to last year, according to new research from the American Psychiatric Association. But there are some ways to cope with holiday stress. 

Don’t let the Grinch steal your holiday joy. Experts say taking control of a few key elements can help make this a joyful season.

“Inflation is an insane stress right now! I mean everything is way more expensive,” shopper Alex Strahle said.

“There’s a lot of negativity going on not just here, but all around,” shopper Josh Kesler said.

Added to those worries, there’s all the holiday shopping, travel headaches, family gatherings and more.

“We have visions of the perfect holiday season and how it’s supposed to go,” said Dr. Philip Izzo, a psychiatrist with Main Line Health.

Izzo says people should manage even lower their expectations.


Holiday mental health survival guide with Dr. Philip Izzo

11:34

“When you’re feeling stressed, feeling overwhelmed, when you need to take a break, setting realistic boundaries will help reduce stress,” Izzo said. “So will sticking to a budget. And don’t overindulge, eating or drinking too much.”

Also, be sure to get enough sleep and exercise.

“This is a time to focus on being with your family, enjoying that time,” Izzo said.

Dr. Izzo says family dynamics can be complicated, so it’s best to stay away from political or controversial topics.

“This is not a time where you try to convince your 80-year-old uncle he should or should not support a political candidate,” Izzo added.

And giving yourself the gift of some personal time can go a long way towards keeping the holidays “happy.”

“I like an epsom salt bath, I like to hang out with my cat, listen to really good music, have a glass of wine,” shopper Astrid Van Wieren said.

Stress relief comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. You can hear more tips in the extended interview with Dr. izzo above.