3 Ways to Help Your Client Manage Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be very stressful for people with and without cognitive impairment alike. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to help your client make their holiday season manageable and enjoyable. In this blog post, we share with you three ways that you can help your client have a happy and healthy holiday season.

1. Help Your Client Be Realistic

Oftentimes, people set unrealistic expectations for themselves. People may set unrealistic expectations for themselves to please others, avoid conflict, and gain or maintain social status. During the holidays this looks like fretting over holiday shopping, attending events even when one does not want to go, and trying to make every moment “picture perfect”. To help your client be realistic try working on strategies that help your client focus on the present. Have them examine things holistically and make decisions based on their needs rather than their wants and fears. By helping your client be realistic about their holiday expectations, you can help your client avoid unnecessary stress and exhaustion. 

2. Work On Having Your Client Practice Pro-Health Habits

What are pro-health habits? Pro-health habits are behaviors and actions that benefit our physical, mental and cognitive health. During the holidays, people often engage in poor eating habits, overindulge in alcohol, practice poor sleep hygiene, do not get enough exercise, and do not take time for themselves. What can you do? Encourage your client to be aware of how these negative health practices can negatively impact them. Maybe teach them to pick some days where they can be more indulgent in their food and alcohol consumption. Remind them about the importance of finding exercise time and sticking to their bedtime routine.  Also, remind your client that they are allowed to say no and have time to themselves. These habits are not meant to be downers but instead encourage pro-health habits. Which in return helps your client not only reach health goals but maintain them as well during the holidays. 

3. Help Your Client Feel Comfortable and Get Used to Saying “No”

No is a powerful two letter word that we use to maintain our well-being. It is important to be available for opportunities, but it is also important to know when we have too many obligations piling up on top of one another. Many people who struggle to say to no often struggle taking care of themselves as well.  With your client, who have a hard time saying no, help them to identify things that they can say no to. Teach them that it is okay to say no to a gathering that they do not want to attend or something that isn’t necessary for them to get or complete. By helping your client feel comfortable and get used to saying no, you can help them maintain realistic expectations, engage in healthy behaviors, and reduce the experience of stress or anxiety related to having said too many “yeses”. 


Holiday stress is common, but it is preventable and manageable. By working with your client on how they can be realistic, practice pro-health habits, and say no, you can help your client reduce their holiday stress. The holiday season is meant to be filled with laughter and cheer, not stress and fear. These strategies aren’t just good for our clients but for you as a provider as well. Stay safe and healthy so you can better serve your clients during the holiday season. 

Dustin Luchmee

Dustin was HappyNeuron's Product Specialist. With research experience in stroke, Dustin learned how a stroke can change someone's life. He also learned how different kinds of therapists can work together to help a person get better. He is passionate about neuro-rehabilitation and finding the active ingredients for effective therapy.

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