Graphic of woman sitting on a blue couch

A Blueprint to Handling the Holidays

December 2, 2021

The holidays are no easy feat. Whether you are starting to decorate, traveling, or staying home, they can be a time of great joy—and turbulence. It’s almost inevitable for people to forget about their mental health. Whatever celebrating may look like for you, here are some tips to survive the holiday season. 

Party at Home

While shuffling from one holiday party to another may be fun, staying home can provide a sense of peace. Get some tunes ready, pack your pantry with treats, and enjoy your cozy environment. Here are some simple ways to embrace the holidays at home. 

  • Jam out to holiday classics. 
  • Step out of your comfort zone and try a new holiday recipe. 
  • Host a virtual karaoke party. 
  • Reflect on 2021, set goals for 2022, and create a vision board. 

Preparation for the Family Round Table 

The holidays present wonderful opportunities to spend time with loved ones. On the other hand, they can create tough times for others. Family conflict is difficult, so here are a few tips to minimize any potential quarrels. 

  • Don’t go into any situation unprepared. Practice responses to bothersome questions you may encounter. Use active listening, and, if needed, agree to disagree. 
  • Take a deep breath— or five. While it may not be possible to physically leave a situation, focus on your breathing to reset. 
  • Before you go, set a time limit. Enforce boundaries with family members. Don’t push yourself past your comfort zone. 

Dealing with the Holiday Blues 

The holiday season can trigger an abundance of emotions, including anxiety and depression. Challenging demands, such as holiday parties and family obligations, can often cause us to ignore our mental health. There are multiple ways to manage symptoms and receive help. 

  • What are the holiday blues?: For many people, the holidays bring on a period of sadness, loneliness, and anxiety. These feelings may last throughout the holiday season and are more present during November and December.
  • Symptoms: The most common sign is a reoccurring feeling of sadness. Changes in appetite, sleep patterns, irritability, and increased exhaustion are also symptoms of the holiday blues. 
  • Treatment: Despite there being countless triggers for the holiday blues, there are ways to work through these emotions. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, try new traditions, learn to say “no,” and seek support if you need it (see mental health resources below). 

Holiday Mental Health Support 

The holidays may look different for everyone, but you are never alone. Despite campus being on break, there are countless resources available at any moment. 

  • Colorado Crisis Services: 24/7 confidential mental health support hotline. Call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255. 
  • Suicide Prevention: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free 24/7 confidential support for individuals in distress, and crisis resources for all. 1-800-273-8255
  • Nod: This is an app that helps individuals build connections. There is no need to feel lonely at any time. Download the app today—it’s free for CU Denver students. 
  • You@CUDenver: This app helps individuals find tips and tools for everything, from mental and physical health to friendships and life balance. All you need