Young latina teen in glasses, sitting by a large window, looking sad and stressed.

Teen Stress Around the Holidays

‘Tis the season….for joy, togetherness, (and unfortunately for many of us) stress! For as much fun and bonding we experience around the holidays, they also can bring a fair amount of family pressure. The pressure to cook, entertain, buy gifts, and celebrate is a lot to handle for you, and probably doubly so for your teen. So as you are working through managing your own holiday stress, be sure to stay on the lookout for signs of stress in teens too. Here are our tips for how to best support your teen through this season.

Seasonal Sadness

As fall continues in full swing, the days are shorter, the sunlight has lessened, and the weather is getting chillier. As the outdoors begin looking more gloomy, your teen might be feeling that way, too. If you notice your teen staying inside more than normal, acting sad, moody, or simply exhausted, they might be experiencing seasonal stress, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Support your teen by showing your understanding and offering them appropriate resources. Soak up any available sunshine and continue efforts to engage them in the festivities!

Social Pressure

The holidays are the time of year best known for gathering together. Teen stress frequently stems from social pressures, and this time of year is not short on those. Anything from a lack of alone time, to a visit with extended family members could be causing difficult emotions for your teen. On top of that, there is an added pressure to stay connected with friends during time off from school. To be supportive, find ways to offer your teen additional hours of downtime where they can choose to spend it as they wish. If they retreat to their room, don’t be offended, they might just need a little space to recharge for the next big holiday event.

Overeating Temptations

The holidays mean hot chocolate, sugar cookies, pie, and potatoes, just to name a few. We associate seemingly countless yummy treats with this time of year. For teens trying to care for their health, the plethora of festive foods can create a world of temptation. Holiday overeating can make attempts to make good choices more difficult and even feel futile. Show your teen that by practicing a little moderation, you can both enjoy those delectable holiday goodies without the guilt. Better yet — you can work together to craft healthy menus that everyone can feel good about!

Holiday Travel 

‘Tis the season to travel! As the celebrations get closer, there can be a lot of added stress from the need to go the distance to reunite with family members living far away.They have to work through the change of place and the temporary loss of their regular routines. To help counteract teen stress when traveling, show your support with patience and understanding. Offer to help your teen pack and check in on how they are doing. If they ask for help, be prepared to listen openly and respond with consideration for the anxiety they might be experiencing. 

At Tilly’s Life Center, we are passionate about helping teens feel their best during each and every season. We understand that holiday stress can affect the entire family. Our workshops are here to offer resources for stress management for teens to help them live happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives. For more information, visit us at