Tips on how to cope with holiday stress

The Christmas holidays may bring unwanted stress, anxiety or depression

Keeping spirits up this time of year may sound easy with all the festive sights, sounds and activities, but for some, the Christmas holidays may bring unwanted stress, anxiety or depression.

“The holidays can be stressful for people, even more so for those dealing with mental health challenges,” said Dr. Connie Coniglio, with B.C. Mental Health and Addiction Services.

“Keeping a healthy routine and reaching out for help if things seem overwhelming can help you balance the demands of the season and maintain mental well-being.”

Here are some tips for mental well-being during the holidays:

n Stay positive – try to think in a healthy/positive way, and have a positive attitude about activities, friends, family and those around you.

n Socialize – if feeling lonely, join friends, clubs or groups for social activities that you enjoy, or try volunteering.

n Plan ahead – take some time to plan for holiday activities and stick to a budget.

n Maintain a healthy routine – eat nutritiously, get a good night’s sleep each night, and stay physically active.

n Consume alcohol in moderation – set limits for yourself and stick to them, drink slowly, alternate alcoholic with non-alcoholic beverages, and eat before and while drinking.

n Simplify – it’s OK to say “no” to avoid taking on too much; share responsibilities with others.

n Take breaks – take some time for yourself.

n Reach out – trust how you feel and reach out if you need support, advice or information.

Some resources that support mental health and well-being:

n Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: Information and resources on mental health and substance use for children, youth and families, or call 604-875-2084 or toll-free 1-800-665-1822 to speak to a parent or youth support person with experience with mental health challenges.

n mindcheck.ca: Information, resources and interactive quizzes designed specifically for youth and young adults to help them identify and understand mental distress they may be experiencing, including anxiety and depression, and link them to sources of help.

n Here to Help: Information and resources to help people better prevent and manage mental health and substance use problems.

n AnxietyBC: Information on how anxiety can express itself and effective strategies to begin to address anxiety. AnxietyBC also has a website specifically for youth and young adults.

n Canadian Mental Health Association (BC Division): Resources for adults and children on promoting and maintaining positive mental health.

n Healthlink BC: Non-emergency medically-approved information on more than 5,000 health topics, symptoms, medications, and tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, or call 811 from anywhere in B.C. to speak with a nurse any time of the day or night.

n Crisis Centre: Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of B.C. provides emotional support to youth, adults and seniors in distress. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide call 1-800-784-2433.