50 Digital Resources to Help You Manage Your Mental Health During the Holidays

The holiday season brings a bounty of emotions and challenges. Gift-shopping, gift-giving, meal-planning and travel arrangements combined with anxiety and stress during the holidays might have been regular challenges for some people in previous years. During a pandemic, different concerns about changes in tradition or lack of social interaction may surface, causing feelings of worry and loneliness for people as they try to sort out new situations while managing holiday stress.

OnlineCounselingPrograms.com collected digital resources to help those in need of mental health support for problems such as loneliness, grief and depression during the holidays.


Anxiety and Stress Resources for the Holidays

Articles, Websites and Toolkits

Anxiety Test, Mental Health America: online screening test that can help users determine if they are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and should see a physician or health care provider.

Find Your Holiday Happiness: Manage Anxiety and Depression, Anxiety and Depression Association of America: strategies for reducing stress and travel fears, as well as tips for helping anxious children.

Managing Stress Around the Holidays, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation: ideas and tips to manage stress, such as setting boundaries.

Stress, Depression and the Holidays: Tips for Coping, Mayo Clinic: practical suggestions related to planning for the holidays, being realistic and knowing when to seek support.

Podcasts and Videos

Holidays and Anxiety: Stress the Halls, The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast: tips to avoid stressful seasonal habits such as gift-buying and vacation planning.

Tips for Taming Stress During the Holidays: Health Impact of Stress, Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center YouTube channel: discussion on how stress responses during the season can affect cancer patients.

Support Groups

Anxiety and Depression Online Support Group, ADAA: safe space for those wanting to share and seek support from others who have the same experiences with anxiety and depression.

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Depression Resources During the Holidays

Articles, Websites and Toolkits

Depression and Anxiety Around the Holidays, Cedars Sinai: what to look for if you think someone is struggling with depression.

Depression Test, Mental Health America: online screening test to help determine if you are experiencing symptoms of depression and should see a physician or health care provider.

Healthy Holidays, Mental Health First Aid: articles and tips on topics such as managing depression during winter and social anxiety during the season.

Helping Kids Cope With Holiday Blues, Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation: strategies to help children deal with sadness during the holidays.

Tip Sheet: Beating the Holiday Blues, Health in Aging Foundation: prevention techniques, coping strategies and warning signs to help seniors experiencing sadness around the holidays.

Podcasts and Videos

Beating the Holiday Depression and Anxiety, Silent Symptoms: Black Mental Health Podcast: explanation on how loss, loneliness and financial stressors can affect individuals during the season and how to cope.

Coping with Christmas and Holiday Depression, Stress and Anxiety, Dr. Cullen Hardy YouTube channel: animated video with strategies for coping with emotions during the holidays including setting boundaries and managing expectations.

Support Groups

DBSA Online Support Groups, Depression and Bipolar Alliance: peer-led virtual discussions for sharing experiences and coping strategies.

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Family Tension Resources During the Holidays

Articles, Websites and Toolkits

10 Helpful Ways You Can Manage Family Stress During the Holidays, Families for Depression Awareness: guidance on managing family-related stress, such as disconnecting from screens, to help enjoy experiences with relatives.

10 Ways to Cope With Difficult Relatives During the Holidays, Scripps Health: strategies to make family gatherings more enjoyable, such as avoiding upsetting topics and limiting alcohol consumption.

Podcasts and Videos

Holiday Coping Techniques, The Psych Central Podcast: tips for dealing with an annoying relative and more.

Holiday Survival Guide: Family Style, Life Kit Podcast: how to navigate those tricky situations around family and celebrations, including having an escape plan.

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Grief Resources During the Holidays

Articles, Websites and Toolkits

Coping With Grief During the Holidays, American Cancer Society: suggestions on how to cope with the loss of a loved one during the holidays and advice on helping children grieve.

How to Deal With Grief During the Holidays, Psychology Today: strategies for surviving the season without your loved one.

How to Help a Grieving Loved One During the Holidays (PDF, 181 KB), National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization: what to say or do when a loved one is grieving.

Surviving the Holidays, GriefShare: articles and videos from a network of support groups for those grieving the loss of a loved one during the holidays.

Podcasts and Videos

Navigating Grief and Loss Around the Holidays, Minnesota Public Radio: discussion about people trying to deal with the death of a loved one while everyone else is celebrating.

Coping With Grief During the Holidays, Mindfulness and Grief Podcast: strategies to navigate overwhelming emotions and practice self-care with the understanding that grief is messy.

Support Groups

The Dinner Party: online community for grieving 20- and 30-somethings to find peer support and build lasting relationships through (virtual) dinner parties.

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Isolation and Loneliness Resources During the Holidays

Articles, Websites and Toolkits

10 Things to Do if You’re Alone During the Holidays, PsychCentral: activities, such as phoning a friend and volunteering, to help people feel better when they are alone during the holidays.

Comfort a Friend Facing a Lonely Holiday, Option B: how to recognize someone may be lonely, how to be a good friend and how to recognize their need for space.

Connect2Affect: assessments, tools and a searchable database to help connect those who might be feeling lonely to support systems.

Overcoming Loneliness Together (PDF, 13.5 MB), Humana: information on the causes of loneliness, how to cope with loneliness and help others who are lonely.

Podcasts and Videos

Loneliness with Dr. Ellen Vora, Phoenix Helix Podcast: discussion about how to view the holidays as a time to learn more about yourself instead of setting unreasonable expectations.

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Mental Illness Resources During the Holidays

Articles, Websites and Toolkits

Coping With the Holidays Survival Guide, PsychCentral: mental health articles on everything from coping with loneliness to gifts and drinking.

Coping with the Holidays When There Is Mental Illness (PDF, 449 KB), NAMI Maryland: guide to planning for those living with mental illness, touching on subjects such as the importance of routine and familiarity.

Emotional Wellness This Holiday Season, Vibrant Emotional Health: Q&A addressing common misconceptions related to Seasonal Affective Disorder, stress and more.

Keeping the Holidays Happy During COVID-19, American Academy of Pediatrics: discussion and tips on how to help children handle changing routines and demands around the season.

How to Support Your Loved One With a Mental Illness During the Holidays, Mental Health First Aid: guidance on the importance of listening and encouragement for those living with mental illness.

Mental Health and the Holiday Season, Chester County (Pennsylvania) Fund for Women and Girls: warning signs that could indicate poor mental health during the holiday season.

Mental Illness: Coping with the Holidays (PDF, 131 KB), NAMI Aurora, Colorado: suggestions to those living with mental illness during the holidays, such as scheduling time away from the large crowds and setting realistic goals.

Recognizing Holiday Triggers of Trauma, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: the importance of creating meaningful alternative rituals to avoid traditional celebrations where situations are uncomfortable.

Podcasts and Videos

Social Media and the Holidays, Mental Health Gateway Podcast: how to avoid social media, which can add stress during the holidays.

Survive the Holidays and Preserve Your Mental Health, Not Crazy Podcast: how to decide if not going to a party is the best option.

Tips for Coping with Bipolar Disorder During the Holidays, HealthyPlace Mental Health YouTube channel: the importance of self-care, sticking to a budget and avoiding social media.

Support Groups

Mental Health America Support Group and Discussion Community: forums categorized by different mental health conditions allow members to share and offer support.

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Mental Health Apps and Help Lines

Apps

Breathe2Relax: how to perform and use diaphragmatic breathing techniques for stress control.

Covid Coach: free tool to support self-care and stay healthy during a pandemic and beyond, with tips to stay connected and navigate parenting, caregiving and working from home.

Mindfulness Coach: free tool with activity log and daily mood rating features to help users learn to use mindfulness to cope with unpleasant thoughts and emotions.

Warmlines, Hotlines and Text Lines

Crisis Text Line: send “MHA” to 741741 to access Mental Health America’s 24/7 free text line and connect with trained crisis counselors.

HERO Warm Line for First Responders: dial 844-833-4376 from 8 a.m. to midnight ET daily to speak with fellow first responders who are trained to offer peer support and an empathetic ear.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: dial 800-273-8255 anytime to receive free and confidential support or prevention and crisis resources.

Project Return Peer Support Network: dial 888-448-9777 for English or 800-448-4055 for Spanish, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. PT Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. PT Saturday, to connect with this warm line for people who are coping with mental health concerns and who need a peer to talk to while traditional services are closed.

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This article is for informational purposes only. If you are experiencing a mental health condition or crisis, contact a mental health professional.

Are you interested in supporting people through mental and emotional challenges? Learn how to become a mental health counselor.