Catholic Charities Offers Tips for Managing Stress and Recovery During the Holidays (During a Pandemic!)

For many, depression, anxiety, stress, and substance use becomes more pronounced during the holiday season. Common triggers can include financial difficulties, missing loved ones and social isolation, and, yes, even the stress of being around family and friends. The most wonderful time of year can sometimes feel less than wonderful.

“This year, COVID-19 is compounding the stress factor,” said Dr. Dean Scher, CEO, Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster. “We stress about not being able to spend time with family. We worry about our health and the health of those we love. We may experience more intense depression due to isolation. It’s important for people to know that holiday struggles are universal, but there are ways to cope,” added Dr. Scher.

With New Year’s celebrations just around the corner, Catholic Charities offers some strategies to help those in recovery:

  • Follow COVID protocols – this year, we must make difficult decisions to ensure that our loved ones will be around for future holidays.
  • Plan Ahead – avoid situations that may be stressful and have the potential to spread the virus. Focus on positive, socially distant activities.
  • Monitor Emotions – stay in tune with your emotional health. If distressful feelings or thoughts start consuming you, find ways to “change the channel.” Practice deep breathing, commune with nature, journal, whatever self-care activities soothe you.
  • Grab a Buddy or a Sponsor – keep your sober friends close and use each other for support.
  • Be Real – let your loved ones know if you are struggling. Those who truly care for you will want to support your recovery.

Catholic Charities offers a broad spectrum of addiction treatment and prevention programs and recovery support. If you or someone you know is struggling, visit the Catholic Charities website at or call your local clinic office to schedule an appointment.  Catholic Charities provides assistance to those in need regardless of religion or ability to pay.