Just as we settled into the rhythm of fall, we are now pivoting to the much anticipated and sometimes dreaded holiday season.   

Why are the holidays hard? There are many factors at play: financial stress, work/school deadlines, travel, family obligations/stress, cultural expectations, and even the weather!.

The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for those struggling with mental health issues.  

Here are 7 suggestions to help manage the holiday season 

1.  Delegate!  You do not have to do everything!  Ask family, or friends to bring their favourite food item, or maybe ask a family member to help wrap gifts. People feel happy to contribute some way.

2. Plan ahead. If there is the budget, buy pre-cut veggies, or pre made items to lessen the burden on you if you are hosting a meal.  This can take the stress out of the meal preparation, and help you spend more time enjoying the delicious outcome.

3. Self care:  Do you have a routine or activity that makes you happy? Continue to engage in such self care routines as exercise, taking a bath, reading, talking to friends/family, or watching a great show.  These are healthy and vital to your mental health and well being.

4. Budget. The holiday season has long been equated with presents, and gifts. Everywhere you look, there is something “on sale”.  It is ok to let people know that you have a smaller budget this year. You can also gift others differently (cookie exchange, spend time together, drive around town and see the cool decorations).

6. Be selective! It is ok to say NO to spending time with people who do not help your mental health. You can also take a break from a party or gathering if you are feeling overwhelmed.  

7. Grief:  Holidays amplify the feeling of grief. Expect that things are different without the loved one. If you need to take some time away from gatherings, do it. Try not to completely isolate. Reach out to people that you trust.  Talking about the loved one to others can be helpful.  Maybe you know someone who has lost a loved one? Calling or sending a text to let them know you are thinking of them can be very helpful. Self care is especially helpful during this time.

Everyone has their unique reactions and experiences during this season.  We wish everyone a smooth and peaceful holiday season and look forward to serving you in the New year.  

To learn about our programs and services go to: https://wholeheartmentalhealth.com/services/