We all think of the holiday season a little differently. Some of us become joyful, giddy, and excited for all the holiday season brings, that is what is commonly portrayed. However, there is another side to the holidays. There is a side of secret dread, nervousness, anxiety…some of us just experience “the holiday blues”, and for many it is a mix of both extremes.
For students in particular, there are many stressors that come with the holiday season. Whether you’re a middle schooler, high schooler, or college student the holiday season generally means spending more time at home with family due to vacations and breaks. Having that down time at home with family can be stressful for some people and can impact mental health for a number of different reasons. You might miss your friends, maybe there is financial stress, or difficult family members, or it might be your first holiday without a loved one. Whatever the stress, there are resources available to help you get through the holiday, break, vacation.
Remember that social media is a highlight reel, if that, it may even be fake. No one has a life like what is seen on instagram, they may have moments of it, but it’s not sustainable. It is very hard to recognize and remember that when you’re scrolling. Know that it is okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not be happy or joyous, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, it means the holidays have their own unique parts that can be hard and it is okay for you to feel them. In fact 64% of people who struggle with their mental health felt that their conditions worsened around the holidays. So it is probably more common than anyone thinks it is to have a hard time during this time of year.
- Assign holiday work knowing that some students may struggle to complete it and that holiday work can increase things like anxiety
- Be aware that students may “act out” more around the holidays and that they’re often is reason for it
- Be compassionate and empathetic towards students who may be having a harder time
- Notice grade changes, appearance changes, mood changes, and provide a space for students to open up about their holiday struggles
- BASE Education is a great resource for how educators can be helpful around the holiday season Student Mental Health During Holidays – BASE Education