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With many separated from loved ones last holiday season due to the coronavirus pandemic, families and friends across Western New York are planning to restore their holiday traditions this year. The mental health counselors with Catholic Charities of Buffalo are sharing tips and coping strategies to help ease stress and feeling overwhelmed amidst the festivities.

“The holiday season can be a trying time for many of us, but after missing out on celebrations last year and the pandemic still lingering, that can bring an added layer of stress this year,” said Michelle Abraham, assistant director of clinical services, Catholic Charities. “While it’s a time of giving to others, we can’t lose sight of the importance of our own mental health and wellness.”

This holiday, consider incorporating some of these tips from Catholic Charities’ mental health counselors:

  • From ingredients for special meals to gift giving and trips to the store, plan ahead to avoid both procrastination and stress.
  • Refrain from over-indulging in both spending and food to avoid feelings of regret after the holidays.
  • Use meditation and mindfulness to deal with stressful holiday gatherings. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take deep breaths, step outside for a few minutes if needed, and ask others for help.
  • Participate in activities that bring you joy during the holiday season. Pick a couple of activities or special traditions to enjoy rather than trying to do all the holiday things. Overextending can cause undue stress.
  • Engage in self-care activities and take advantage of any time-off you may have during the holidays. A new year is right around the corner, so try and re-charge by doing something restorative and rejuvenating.
  • Maintain a normal routine to the best of your ability. Eating regular, nutritious meals and getting enough sleep will help with your overall mood.
  • Be kind. Everyone is dealing with their own challenges, so be considerate of others’ feelings. Engage in simple acts of kindness. From saying thank you to a store employee to donating a toy to a child who may go without, think of an easy way you can bring joy to yourself and to others this giving season.

Catholic Charities’ team of professional and highly trained counseling experts are available to assist families, children, adults, and seniors with day-to-day troubles and serious concerns throughout Western New York. For more information on these or any of Catholic Charities’ programs visit,