The Vermont Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Network wishes you a happy, healthy holiday season—and that means taking care of your mental health. Holidays can be stressful, and that stress that might be compounded by COVID-19, RSV, and the flu.   What are you doing to take care of yourself this holiday season? Here are some ideas.

Put the “Me” back in “Merry.” For many people, the holiday season means planning and taking care of others. Pay attention to your stress level and give yourself permission to take a break. Getting enough sleep and maintaining your healthy habits can make a positive difference. If you take time to care for yourself, others will also benefit when you feel less stressed. Find more self-care strategies from Harvard Health.

Stay healthy. There’s still time to get your flu vaccination and COVID booster. Wash your hands often and cover your cough. If you are feeling unwell, consider avoiding groups or wearing a mask in crowded places. The CDC offers additional tips for staying safe and healthy this holiday season.

Reach out or ask for help if you need it. If you are feeling depressed or isolated this holiday season, know that you are not alone. The holidays can be a difficult time for many. Talking to others who may share your feelings can be helpful. If you feel you need help, call 9-8-8 and get connected with a trained crisis worker at a local Lifeline Center.  The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. Find out more at

For more tips for coping with holiday stress, check out this Healthy Lifestyle article from the Mayo Clinic.

Find out more about careers in mental health care on the Vermont Health Careers website.