Tips for a Healthy 2016 Holiday Season

Even in the best of circumstances, the holiday season can bring up varying emotions. It can be a chance to recuperate from the stress of midterms and finals; but for others, the holidays can cause a mixture of stress and anxiety. For some it is a combination of both celebration and distress.

The current social climate in the US is very divided. Returning home to friends and family may place you in situations that cause stress, discomfort or pain. For others, the holidays mean returning to a community of supportive and like-minded people. Holidays can also increase feelings of isolation and loneliness.

At Pacific, we care about your well-being. Here are some tips and resources for anyone who is feeling concerned about heading into the holiday breaks:

1. Have an exit strategy if things get too intense

  • If you are starting to become irritated or overwhelmed, find ways to leave and give yourself a break. Maybe that’s going for a quick walk, running an errand or even stepping away to use the restroom.
  • If you are unable to leave the room, take a mental vacation. Take some deep breaths and visualize yourself in a soothing environment (the beach, poolside, or whatever space best calms you). Grounding exercises can also be helpful: try noticing 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can smell, 2 things you can feel and 1 thing you can taste.  

2.     Carve out time for self-care

  • Make some plans ahead of time that will replenish you-take a break from friends or family to go for a hike, see live music, meet up with a friend for coffee, read a book, or whatever activity works best for you to recharge.
  • Remember to breathe.
  • Catch up on your sleep.
  • Drink enough water, being dehydrated just makes everything harder!
  • Spend some time moving, whether that’s stretching, taking a walk, having a dance party in your bedroom, playing with a pet, or whatever way feels best for you to move your body.

3. Use substances in moderation

  • For those who choose to use substances, be mindful about whether that’s helping or creating more stress. One drink might help relax you, but five could put you at risk for feeling worse, or getting into fights. It might be helpful to plan ahead how much you plan to drink or use.

4.  Reach out if you need help

  • Keep in contact with the people in your life who make you feel supported.
  • Plan ahead of time who you could contact if you need to talk.
  • There are also professional resources available 24/7 if the holiday season gets to be too much to handle.

National Suicide Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255

Trevor Lifeline (LGBTQ Support): 1-866-488-7386

Crisis Text Line: Text “ START” to 741741.


Wishing you a peaceful break from courses.

Pacific Student Counseling Center and Campus Wellness

Counseling: 503-352-2191
Campus Wellness: 503-352-CARE

Monday, Nov. 21, 2016