Checklist to Beat the Holiday Blues

By: RJWBarnabas Behavioral Health Center

This holiday season will be one like no other. Whether you can’t see family or friends because of the pandemic, or you’ve lost someone, the upcoming holidays will be hard for so many. Do not despair- there are actions you can take to minimize the feelings of sadness, loneliness, and grief.

Before the Holidays:

  • Remind yourself of what you are capable of doing and be realistic
  • Get yourself organized. Set a timer to keep yourself on track
  • Get festive–decorate and pay holiday music
  • Be prepared and make room for sadness and joy to co-exist
  • Stay in touch with loved ones, express your concerns about the upcoming holidays
  • Brainstorm and start new traditions
  • Contact a mental health professional to help you prepare, if necessary.

During the Holidays

  • Spend time with loved ones
  • Unplug from technology. Technology can trigger loneliness as much as it can keep us connected.
  • Allow your feelings to exist
  • Cherish memories
  • Make new traditions and positive memories
  • Focus on the here and now
  • If spending the holidays with family and friends virtually, come up with a game to keep it dynamic.

After the Holidays

  • Decompress
  • Spend time outdoors, taking everything in
  • Set a timer and organize. A clean space will help you relax
  • Reflect on the new memories made
  • Take a deep breath. Listen to the air flow in and out. Repeat until totally relaxed.
  • It’s OK if you didn’t get everything done. Focus on everything you did accomplish.
  • Look to the future with optimism. A positive mindset goes a long way, even if it doesn’t feel completely genuine right now. It takes time.


On behalf of RWJBarnabas Behavioral Health Center, please utilize our “Beat the Holiday Blues” checklist to help lessen the hardships this holiday season might bring. If you are struggling with a recent loss, or having a hard time coping with the many changes this pandemic has caused in your life, please call our 24/7 Access Center at 1-800-300-0628 and speak with a clinician today. You don’t have to go it alone- the mental health professionals are available as a resource for you and your loved ones. To read more about their mental health services, please visit

RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health Center, located in Toms River, NJ, has both inpatient and outpatient mental health services for adults. Our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Outpatient Program (OP) called Stepping Stones, is currently running on a virtual and telephonic platform. To access any of our programs and services, please call 1-800-300-0628. Call Jessica Alpert, Community Outreach Coordinator, RWJBarnabas Behavioral Health Center at 732-228-2629 for additional information. For updates, follow us on Facebook at


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