NEWS Mental Health News Vaccines Bring Relief to the Holidays, But We'll Still Have to Manage Some Stress By Cathy Cassata Cathy Cassata Cathy Cassata is a freelance writer who specializes in stories around health, mental health, medical news, and inspirational people. Learn about our editorial process Updated on January 11, 2022 Fact checked Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more. by Karen Cilli Fact checked by Karen Cilli Karen Cilli is a fact-checker for Verywell Mind. She has an extensive background in research, with 33 years of experience as a reference librarian and educator. Learn about our editorial process Share Tweet Email Print Verywell / Ellen Lindner Key Takeaways While vaccines have brought some normalcy to the holidays this year, you still might be feeling pressures and stress of the season.There are ways to cope and protect your mental health during the holidays.Staying connected to loved ones, setting boundaries and managing financial strains can help you enjoy holiday festivities. This holiday season may feel a little brighter than last since many people are vaccinated, however, the reality that we’re still in a pandemic continues to cause an array of complicated emotions. “It’s been clear throughout the pandemic that the overall impact on the population’s mental health has been significant. There have been reports of more depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts during this time, particularly for youth and young adults, caregivers, frontline workers, and BIPOC populations,” says Doreen Marshall, PhD, vice president of mission engagement at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Still, she remains positive that measures taken to protect and support mental health are making an impact amid continued and collective distress. “The silver linings of this pandemic period include a continued sense of community cohesion, increased help-seeking, more attention to delivery of mental health services and suicide prevention, and telehealth made treatment more accessible for many,” Marshall says. As you focus on your own mental health, consider paying attention to the following holiday pressures and ways experts suggest navigating them. Pressure to Make Up For Lost Time Losing out on gatherings and time together last year can create the urge to do everything this year. However, the pandemic may still cause you to miss out on important events and gathering Deborah Serani, PsyD, psychologist, and professor at Adelphi University in New York says let go ofvaluing the number of activities you participate in. “Quality of social connections has always been more vital than the quantity of time spent. In fact, research reminds us that meaningful time with loved ones greatly affects our wellbeing,” Serani says. She suggests bonding with loved ones by giving them focused attention. “So, put away your phone and other devices!” Doreen Marshall, PhD The silver linings of this pandemic period include a continued sense of community cohesion, increased help-seeking, more attention to delivery of mental health services and suicide prevention, and telehealth made treatment more accessible for many — Doreen Marshall, PhD Marshall adds that it’s okay to communicate with others about feeling pressure to make every event. “Chances are pretty good that you are not the only one feeling this way. Reach out to someone who may also be feeling that way. Sharing how you are feeling may empower them to do the same,” she says. Establish ways to stay connected and support each other this season, such as penciling in a regular call, text, or note to check in with each other. How to Deal With FOMO in Your Life Pressure to See People Who Aren't Vaccinated If you’re vaccinated, being around others who aren’t vaccinated or who you don’t know their vaccination status can cause stress. Serani says set limits, especially if you’re hosting an event by asking people to wear masks during the entire social gathering. “Even if they took a PCR test, you can set the boundary of ‘masks for all,’ if this is the kind of self-care you want for yourself and your family. Be ready to tell loved ones or friends that they can't be part of the festivities without wearing a mask,” she says. If you're attending someone else’s event, Serani says ask the host what their structure is for vaccinated versus unvaccinated attendees. “If the limit-setting makes you comfortable, then that's great. Go and enjoy. If it doesn't, you can consider visiting, yourself, with a mask, or choosing to bow out as the arrangements make you feel uncomfortable,” she says. Deborah Serani, PsyD Be ready to tell loved ones or friends that they can't be part of the festivities without wearing a mask — Deborah Serani, PsyD Marshall agrees but says take caution not to isolate yourself. Rather than being alone, invite a couple of people to join you in a low-pressure, safe, socially distant or virtual activity, such as a Facetime meet-up. “The point here is that it benefits our mental health to stay connected to others and that we can protect our mental health by engaging with others in ways that align with our comfort level versus feeling pressured by external expectations,” says Marshall. Managing the Seemingly Inevitable Holiday Season Stress Pressure to Spend Money Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and, most definitely, holiday celebrations can be hard to participate in if you feel like you can’t afford to give a gift. “Finances are tight for many people and spending has been scaled down. Open and honest communication is always key here. Create a budget and work within it. If others you're gift-giving with agree with the number, then stress is avoided,” says Serani. If it's hard to agree on the budget, set a limit. Serani suggests saying: "This is what I can afford, so just be mindful when you shop for me." Another idea to alleviate costs is rather than buying for everyone in your gift-giving circle, consider holding a grab bag or Secret Santa. “Bottom line, remember that more or expensive doesn't mean better or memorable,” says Serani. Marshall adds that if financial strain is affecting your mental health, it might be time to seek professional help. “Often, when we are having mental health concerns and in the midst of a life stressor, it can be difficult to identify help or possible ways to address what we are experiencing,” she says. Financial counselors and advisors can guide you in finding strategies to manage financial stress. You can also reach out to a mental health professional or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-TALK. What This Means For You While stress and pressures of the holiday season can come on strong, rest assured there are waysto cope. How to Handle the Stress of Holiday Shopping Amid Supply Chain Disruptions By Cathy Cassata Cathy Cassata is a freelance writer who specializes in stories around health, mental health, medical news, and inspirational people. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.