3 Ways To De-Stress During The Holiday Season As A Mental Health Professional

While wonderful, the holidays can also be a stressful and anxious time for anyone, including you. As a mental health professional, it’s important to take the time to acknowledge these feelings. You cannot shoulder everyone’s emotional struggles and try to cope during this busy time.

As a mental health professional, self-care should be something that occurs all year round. Being in this field can be stressful, but the added responsibilities of the holiday season can make those stressors so much worse. Your self-care is important, and enables you to better serve your patients.

Whether it’s the stress of finding the perfect gifts or cooking up a feast, or simply the anxiety over political conversations at the dinner table with extended family, you can overcome these emotions and preserve your own mental health with these three tips.

#1: Keep Healthy Habits

Whether it’s exercising during your break or meditating after dinner, keep your normal de-stressing routine. While you might feel like you’ve got a million other things to do, keeping your routine will help provide structure and help you avoid any post-holiday guilt.

Additionally, these habits help keep your normal stress levels down, so they’ll help with any added stress. Working with patients throughout the year can take a toll on your mental health, and helping them deal with their own added stress might only compound your own. By keeping your healthy habits, you’re already working toward relieving your own concerns, so you can therefore help patients more effectively.

#2: Plan Ahead

If you know you’ll be away for an extended period of time this holiday season, make sure you’re planning ahead with your work. While patients might need a counseling call or last minute session, you can plan your meetings, paperwork, and regular sessions ahead of time, so it isn’t all waiting when you come back in the New Year.

While it might make for a busy schedule, consider moving meetings up or beginning to alert patients that your sessions will be altered. By not procrastinating, you can help relieve any self-made stress that comes from waiting.

#3: Take Time To Yourself

Hopefully, this is part of your healthy habits already, but if it’s not — make it a top priority. When we prepare for the holidays, we always think of others, and not what we need most. Sometimes, for your own mental health, you need to rest and take some time to yourself. It’s not laziness or selfishness to take some time to care for yourself, and probably something you’ve recommended to a patient. Sometimes, we need to take our own advice.

Whether it’s hiding away with a book and cup of tea, snuggling in for a movie with a loved one, taking a walk around your neighborhood, or simply sleeping in an extra hour, time to yourself is crucial this holiday season.


Pathways of Pennsylvania has been serving communities in Pennsylvania since 1981. Every individual has a right to lead a meaningful and positive life, and we are changing lives, one day at a time. Pathways of Pennsylvania is comprised of four companies: Children’s Behavioral Health, Inc., Pathways Community Services, LLC, Raystown Developmental Services, Inc., and The ReDCo Group, Inc.