Promoting Mental Wellness Over Winter Break

By FCPS & Fairfax County Government
Healthy Minds
December 12, 2023

Although mental health indicators have improved over the past year, Fairfax County Youth Survey (FCYS) data suggest that more than 25% of students in 8th to 12th grade feel sad or hopeless every day for two weeks or more in a row. The holidays can be a time to reduce stress, but they can also contribute to it. Here are some tips for making winter break a positive time for the young people in your life.

Encourage a sense of gratitude. Holidays and family time are the perfect opportunity to talk with young people about the things they are grateful for. According to the FCYS, students who disagree that they have much in life to be thankful for are more than twice as likely to report persistent sadness or hopelessness than students who agree they have much to be thankful for.

Promote social connectedness. Because most young people are constantly surrounded by others at school, it can be easy to assume they don’t ever feel lonely or isolated. But the truth is that young people regularly report loneliness, and that can translate to other emotional and physical health problems. Take time over the break to truly connect with the young people in your life; ask about their interests and show them you care.

Take time and slow down. Holidays can be just as stressful as school and work. Take time to relax and make time to just be present with your family and loved ones.

Have a safe, happy, and meaningful winter break. See you again in 2024!

If you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, or call 911.

The Healthy Minds Blog shares information related to youth mental health and wellness for an audience of parent, educators and community-based providers. Articles include tips and strategies for increasing wellness and resiliency, as well as fostering success at home, at school and in the community.

The Healthy Minds Blog is a collaborative project between Fairfax County Public Schools and the Prevention Unit of the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. It is part of the Healthy Minds Fairfax (see below) initiative, designed to support emotional wellness in youth and families.

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