7 Ways to Support Mental Wellness Through the Holiday Season

7 Ways to Support Mental Wellness Through the Holiday Season

With the holiday season in full swing, it's easy to get caught up in a chaotic flurry of busyness and forget to pause and ponder the true spirit of the season. Most people look forward to the holidays as an opportunity to spend time with friends and family, reflect on the past, step into the future with renewed clarity, and connect to a spirit of gratitude and generosity.

But the hustle and bustle that accompanies these activities can often bring more chaos than we bargained for, leaving us feeling stressed and overwhelmed, with little energy left over to tune into these intentions.

Traveling, cooking elaborate meals, buying gifts for everyone on the list, and dealing with holiday crowds—these seem to be the activities that end up taking most of our time. And with the complexities of a pandemic still present, these activities may feel even more stressful than usual.

In a recent survey, 88 percent of Americans agreed that the holiday season is the most stressful time of the year, and 77 percent reported having difficulty relaxing during this time. The same study showed that 43 percent of the participant's schedules become more jam-packed than usual, and 59 percent consider the holiday season to be “chaotic."1

If these experiences resonate with you, you're clearly not alone—these statistics confirm that this time of year can bring an increased level of pressure and stress along with them.

The good news is, we have power and agency in how we choose to navigate and engage with the holidays.


Banyan friend, Collin, lying in the snow

Why Mental Health Is So Important During This Time

Tending to mental and emotional wellness can make all the difference in our ability to stay connected to the true spirit of the season. So whatever your holiday plans, we invite you to step into them with intention and make a commitment to prioritize your own self-care. 

Ayurveda offers several simple methods of staying mentally calm and grounded that can be applied to this season—so that you can focus your attention and energy on what is most important.

Ayurveda recognizes a happy, blissful state of mind as a requisite component of good health.2 It also recognizes the inseparable union of body, mind, and spirit as the core of well-being. So, the first and most important step is to balance the mind, giving it direction and centering.

If you can find a sense of mental calm, then emotional harmony and physical vitality will follow.

You'll be less affected by external chaos and more likely to find the experiences you desire—time with loved ones, space for reflection, and even spiritual connection.

If a sense of peaceful inner calm is part of what you're seeking this holiday season, consider starting with small, simple things that will produce true joy in your mental and emotional being.

Slowing down enough to turn within and care for the mind requires some discipline, but the fruit of your effort will make each moment richer and more enjoyable.

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind.” —Buddha

7 Tips for Staying Calm and Grounded

As you navigate the commotion of the holidays and the extra rush of busyness they bring, take some time and space to tend to your own mental and emotional well-being. Every little bit will go a long way in supporting your ability to tap into the true heart of the season. Ayurveda suggests the following tips:

1. Maintain a Centering Routine

Regardless of what is on your plate for the day, or how much traveling you are doing, or who is coming over for dinner, be sure to take time out for a nurturing daily routine. This can be meditation, yoga, journaling, prayer, or whatever helps you to replenish your mental and emotional well-being. The benefits of quiet time cannot be underestimated. As Albert Einstein said, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”

2. Massage Your Body with Warm Oil 

Abhyanga, or self-massage with oil, is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase quality of life. You can start or end your day with this activity, followed by a warm bath or shower. This nourishing self-care ritual helps to calm the nervous system and nourish both physical and mental being.

3. Infuse Your Thoughts with Inspiration

If you're feeling mentally and emotionally overwhelmed and disconnected to the things that bring you joy, treat it as an invitation to step back and refill your cup. Read a book, listen to a podcast, or visit an art exhibit. Let the things that inspire you reconnect you to a sense of meaning and depth.

4. Get Proper Rest and Sleep

Proper rest allows you to recover from both physical and mental stress, boosts your overall mood, and gives you the ability to think more clearly during the day.

  • In the evening, enjoy an herbal tea like Mellow Mind, or make a bedtime nightcap with Turmeric Milk Mix, which can calm and relax the mind and nervous system.
  • At bedtime, massage the soles of your feet and your scalp with Sleep Easy Oil (slip on some old socks to protect your linens).
  • Try a gentle herbal supplement like I Sleep Soundly.

5. Set Specific Intentions

For every activity that you are a part of during the holidays, set a positive intention as to what you would like to experience and how you would like to feel. Make the intention something that you can actively make an effort towards manifesting, such as creating a healthy meal or appreciating a family member. And then leave space for the divine dance to move you in whatever way it pleases.

6. Bring your Attention to the Present Moment

Any time you find yourself overwhelmed by all that is to be done, just focus on what can be done in this moment, and how this moment connects to the spirit of the holidays. If you find that what you are doing right now doesn't contribute to your true intentions and desires for the holidays, consider changing directions.

7. Support Your Health with Herbal Adaptogens

Because this is a time when the body and mind may need a little extra support, it's a good idea to incorporate supportive herbs into your routine. Herbal adaptogens offer seemingly contradictory benefits because they adapt to what your body needs most, whether it is healthy energy levels or support grounding the nervous system and relaxing.


We hope these tips bring you back to a place of center when things get hectic and help you to experience more peace and cheer during the holiday time—no matter what it looks like for you.

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.—Buddha

About the Author

Premal Patel, MD

Premal Patel, MD, is a Family Practice physician who has also studied Ayurveda and Acupuncture. She serves on faculty for the Ayurvedic Institute and...

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1 Anderer, John. “Jingle Bell Crock: 88% of Americans Feel the Holiday Season Is Most Stressful Time of Year.” Study Finds, December 22, 2019. https://www.studyfinds.org/jingle-bell-crock-88-of-americans-feel-the-holiday-season-is-most-stressful-time-of-year/. 

2 Sharma, P.V. Susruta-Samhita. Volume 1, Sutrasthana. 15:41, P. 173.