Therapists Speak: 5 Ways to Survive Holiday Hooplah

Therapists Speak: 5 Ways to Survive Holiday Hooplah

It’s that time of year again! Holiday gatherings + festive themes and decorations are everywhere you turn. While this season can be fun and exciting for some, it can also bring about anxiety, depression, and a number of other mental health concerns for many others. If you’re having a tough time, please know, you are not alone! To provide a little support, we reached out to a few black women experts in the mental health field for a few tips on combating the anxiety that the holidays can bring. 

TIP #1

“Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. Make sure you’re making your physical health a priority by staying active and eating clean, nutrient-rich foods. Eat at least 3 balanced meals a day, get out of the house and go for walks, or get some gym time in a few times a week. Prioritize these necessary acts of self care!”


Kristin Sutton, Licensed Professional Counselor Practice 
Her Therapy Space (@hertherapyspace, @kristinsuttonlpc

Serving Washington, DC




TIP #2

 “Get Enough Rest. For some, excitement can kick in during the holidays. Sometimes you’ll lose sleep because of stress, and sometimes you’ll lose sleep because of excitement. Either way, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by concentrating on relaxation and getting to bed at a good hour. If you start a pattern of getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep per night, you could be setting yourself up for stress without even really knowing it, thus, making it harder to maintain your mental wellness during this time of year.”


Shayla Peterson, LCSW, LISW-CP
Owner of Ctrl Shift Balance Mental Wellness (@ctrlshiftbalance)

Serving South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee & Florida




TIP #3

“In general, people become more consumed with responding to and meeting the needs of others than they do for themselves. This can lead us to feeling drained, resentful, and just plain unhappy. The holiday season brings these levels higher than normal, as we find ourselves interacting with more folks more frequently, with more demands. I highly recommend for people to use this rule every day, and especially during the holiday season: NO SOCIAL MEDIA  UNTIL AFTER LUNCH. How we start our day impacts how we live our day out. If your first action of each day is checking on others via social media, you will train your brain to do this throughout the day and will do so compulsively. It ain’t good for ya! Take each morning to focus on YOU first. Wake up and ask yourself how you want to feel today. Then, close your eyes and visualize how you will look and feel today. Doing so will get you in the habit of checking in with YOU first and help you keep your balance a little better this holiday season.”


Soco Reynoso, LCSW
Soco Rey Therapy (@yourfavoritetherapist)

Serving Inglewood, CA




TIP #4

“We’re about two weeks beyond the dreaded Gregorian calendar box which tricks us to believe we gain an extra hour of sleep. The sun bids us adieu, shortening our daylight hours. This adopted time management system related to agriculture and energy-saving can cause a grand shift in the mental health processes of many. And while an extra hour of sleep seems rewarding, our brains tell a different story: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression may be a negative consequence November through early spring. Want to know a practical way to increase the amount of serotonin, the neurotransmitter thought to be responsible for your mood, sleep, appetite, and social behavior? Create your own sunshine. That’s right, I said it. But, how? Creating your own sunshine means laying out boundaries in your environment to reduce triggers. Because frankly, who can see the sun when clouds are in the way? This can mean not going to a family holiday dinner because a personality there upsets you, instead, start your own tradition. It can also mean easing into your day utilizing a light box or not checking social media until after 12pm. Engage in activities which warm your soul: reading, mindful eating, traveling, or connecting with a licensed mental health therapist to work through your mental climate."


Crystal Joseph, LCPC, LPC, ACS
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (MD) | Licensed Professional Counselor (VA)
PsycYourMind® (@thereal_psycyourmind)
Serving Silver Spring, Maryland and Alexandria, Virginia

Learn more,



TIP #5

“Grieving a loss during the holiday season can be complicated by the expectations that others have of you to be connected, joyous, and ‘ok’. Allowing yourself the space and time to ‘feel’ will make engaging less emotionally taxing. In an effort to fill a void that invariably recurs every year, be intentional about: 1.) Creating new traditions to commemorate your loved one(s); 2.) Connecting with professionals to talk, or close family and friends to share special memories; and 3.) Chronicling your thoughts for reflection each year. Give yourself permission.”


Barbara Ford Shabazz, Psy.D., CPEC
Clinical Psychologist, Certified Personal and Executive Coach
Intentional Activities: Your Life Coaching Source (Virtual/Online/Telephonic) (@dr.bshabazz)

Serving Virginia Beach, VA






If you’re in need, don’t hesitate to reach out!


Got a tip to share? Tell us in the comments below.


See you next time!


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Therapists Speak: 5 Ways to Survive Holiday Hooplah