Holiday Anxiety Tips from a Residential Program for Struggling Teens

The holidays are typically known as being joy-filled and happy–but that’s not always the case. For many, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and other winter holidays mean immense amounts of stress and anxiety. In our residential program for struggling teens, we often hear that families are worried about the holiday season and what anxieties it may bring.

These anxieties range from social gatherings to family altercations to the expectations that come with the holidays. Knowing how to help your teen navigate these stressors can be extremely beneficial to not just your teen, but to the whole family. We’ve created a list of tips from our residential program for struggling teens to help you do just that. 

Lowering anxiety during the holidays

Focus on “Doing” Rather Than “Having”

It can be easy to turn the holidays into a superficial time focused on getting gifts–but that’s not good for family bonding and it’s not good for mental health. Instead of focusing on the “gift” aspect of the holidays, plan more outings with the family. Gather all the members of the family and have a fun, open discussion about what they would like to do: ice skating, snowboarding, building gingerbread houses–the possibilities are immense.

Be Aware of Social Anxiety Triggers

If your teen gets nervous in crowds or avoids big social outings, they may be struggling with some social anxiety. This can make the holidays extremely stressful because they’re chock full of family gatherings, festive parties, and big events. If you think they may be uncomfortable, sit them down and ask them if they want to go. If they’re scared of getting anxious and having a moment, but they still want to go, make sure that they know you’re there for full support. Let them know that if at any point they want to come to you to leave or go to a quieter area, then it is absolutely fine.

Don’t Let Health Go Out the Window

In our residential program for struggling teens, a healthy diet is incredibly important. Without the right nutrients, it can be hard to focus and enjoy life. The holidays are packed full of yummy, delicious, sugary, fatty food. This is fine–in moderation. Too much of this food can make you feel lethargic, without energy, and increase stress. That’s why it’s important to still focus on getting good greens and fruits into your teen’s diet during the holidays.

Sleep Is Essential

School’s out, the in-laws are in, we get it, it can be hard to keep the same schedule. But without the right amount of sleep, your teen’s anxiety can worsen and be harder for them to handle. It’s important to make sure your child is getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night. The holidays are already stressful, let’s not make it even more so with sleep deprivation.

Our residential program for struggling teens can help

Elevations RTC is a residential program for struggling teens, ages 13 to 18, grappling with anxiety, defiant behavior, depression, ADHD, drug use, and other emotional or behavioral issues. In our residential program for struggling teens, we use a combination of a focused therapeutic lens, real-world environment, secure setting, and caring staff to foster growth and success in our students. We strive to give the best help for struggling teen issues.

For more information about our residential program for struggling teens at Elevations RTC, please call .

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Leading RTC Accreditations


Ages 13 – 18

Comprehensive Medical / Psych

Community-based Approach

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