Use These Five Strategies to Build Resilience This Holiday Season

Season of joy have you feeling down? You’re not alone. The holiday season can layer a lot of stress onto an already challenging pandemic environment. 

There’s no magic bullet to getting through the triple whammy that is holiday stress + Covid surge + seasonal sadness. But taking a proactive approach to managing stress and taking care of ourselves can equip us with the resilience necessary to persevere. 

Noticing how you’re feeling is key. Check in frequently with body, mind, and emotions. Get familiar with the signs and symptoms of stress. If you observe them in yourself, pay attention. Stress can trigger anxiety and depression. More people than ever are experiencing the mental health challenges as a direct result of pandemic stressors. There is no shame in asking for help. Reach out to a friend or trusted peer. Seek professional help if your symptoms interfere with your day-to-day functioning or become acutely worse. 

Five Go-To’s for Holiday Survival

We’ve compiled some go-to strategies to help you survive the Covid winter holiday blues. 

  1. Check in. Take 10 seconds or a minute to sit still, tune into your breath, feel your feet on the ground, and quiet the mind. Observe what comes up. Do this anytime stress overtakes you.
  2. Get out. Make nature part of your daily plan. No need to drive miles to a preserve; simply step outside your door and breathe fresh air. Take a walk. Five minutes or an hour, whatever you’ve got.
  3. Connect. Foster your important interpersonal connections. Choose quality over quantity: reserve your social time for people who feel good to be around. Work on toxic relationships, or edit them from your life. 
  4. Prioritize. Don’t try to do it all. Be realistic about what you can handle. Say no as a rule, and opt in if it feels right. Put the big rocks in the glass first.
  5. Schedule time for fun. Make sure you have built into your schedule things you really enjoy and look forward to. Make these your priority.

Want support? Join COVID Support VT’s new Holidays Support Group, every Monday at 4 p.m. Share your concerns, debrief your experiences, and learn from peers about how to manage stress during this time. COVID Support VT staff will provide a structured environment for discussion and tips for coping and wellness.

Learn More and Find Resources

Read “Holiday Stress Have You Overwhelmed? Five Guidelines for Defusing Stress this Holiday Season.”

Watch the Livestream Q&A, “How to Overcome Holiday Overwhelm,” with Aron Steward, Ph.D., and Jeremiah Eckhaus, M.D.

Join our new Holidays Support Group, a facilitated discussion to share, support and learn from your peers about how to manage stress and anxiety during this time. Every Monday at 4 p.m. ET.

Find Self-Care Tips and Resources at

Get the basics on stress – what causes it, what it looks like, and what to do about it. Download our Daily Stress Management Plan and print it out at home as a guide to staying on track with your self-care and wellness.

Blog written by Brenda Patoine on behalf of VCN/Vermont Care Partners for COVID Support Vermont, a grant funded by FEMA and the Vermont Department of Mental Health

Need to Talk?

Call 2-1-1 (in Vermont) for assistance.

In Crisis? 

If you or someone you care for is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can: call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-825; text VT to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor 24/7; connect with your local community mental health center for 24/7 support. 

Find Help

Find resources and tools for coping with stress at

One-click translation to 100 languages of most everything on the website, plus Multilingual Resources.

Find your local community mental health center by visiting Vermont Care Partners.

COVID Support VT is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency, managed by Vermont’s Department of Mental Health, and administered by Vermont Care Partners, a statewide network of 16 non-profit community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disability services and supports. 

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