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Young Adult During The Holidays

Tips for Coping with Holiday Stress

Est. reading time: 2 mins
Posted Under: Treatment Insights

Clinically Reviewed by: Amanda Fialk, PhD, LCSW, LICSW


The holidays can be a time of conflicting emotions. On one hand, we find ourselves celebrating and exchanging gifts with loved ones. On the other, we might be anxious about reuniting with friends or family members after months apart. And on top of it all, we may feel pressure to engage in activities and celebrations despite navigating early sobriety or new boundaries in conflicted relationships with family members.

Other common stressors for young people in treatment?

  • The holiday season often forces us to face tough emotions or conversations that may have been swept under the rug or avoided in years past.
  • We may be eating and sleeping more and exercising less.
  • Routines are disrupted.
  • There are more ‘triggers’ than ever — food, substances, and unhealthy relationships and communication dynamics.

For our team at The Dorm, helping our clients mindfully deal with possible stressors is a key focus as we enter the end of the year.

Managing holiday stress with intention

Our first priority is to reinforce the many mindfulness skills clients develop during their time at The Dorm to help prevent reactive behavior, urges and automatic negative thoughts and feelings. In groups and therapy, we discuss the importance of setting boundaries, including:

  • knowing when to decline invitations or disengage from toxic relationships
  • how to maintain healthy routines like sleep, exercise, balanced eating habits
  • maintaining reliance on newer community supports such as AA, sponsors, or Dorm support groups

Most of all, we encourage every Dorm client to take advantage of our comprehensive wellness services before the holidays that give them a well-rounded toolbox for stress management and self-awareness.

Wellness services for managing holiday stress

Clients at The Dorm know that we don’t advocate a one-size-fits-all approach to stress management (some may need more advanced therapy or medication to manage cortisol levels, for instance). We do  strongly suggest that clients participate in our core wellness services, including:

  • Clinical mindfulness services: We help clients set intentions around learning and engaging in the benefits of meditation, yoga, mindfulness practices, and outdoor wellness walks.
  • Nutrition and fitness: A healthy body feeds a healthy mind and spirit. To help clients nurture their bodies on their own terms, we work with them to review the “Intuitive Eaters Holiday Bill of Rights” before engaging in mealtimes with friends and family.
  • Adjunct services: From private meditation and yoga sessions, to acupuncture and reiki, we encourage clients to consider trying new services that can promote healing, improve the mind/body connection and counteract pain and stress during the winter season.

Above all, remember that holiday stress is real and you’re not alone. If your interested in learning more about it, bookmark and review the following research-backed resources:

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