People expect the holiday season to be filled with cheer, but it can be very stressful.
With the added pressures of busy schedules, financial strain, increased expectations and sad memories, it’s important to prioritize your mental health throughout the holidays.
Give yourself the gift that keeps on giving by keeping these tips in mind this holiday season.
- Keep up with routines. Try to maintain your healthy habits during the holidays. Eat healthy, commit to regular physical activity and get plenty of sleep.
- Acknowledge your feelings. If you have lost someone close to you or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. If you feel overwhelmed by these feelings, reach out for support.
- Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend, then stick to your budget.
- Do not overextend yourself. Prioritize your time so you can relax and enjoy the season with people you care about.
- Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
Even during the “most wonderful time of the year,” it’s okay to not be okay. There are supports available to help you cope.
Supports for children and youth:
- Kids Help Phone: Immediate and caring support, information and, if necessary, referral to a local community or social-service agency. Call toll-free: 1 800 668-6868, or visit: http://org.kidshelpphone.ca/
- Child and Youth Mental Health Intake Clinics: Parents and youth can access community mental-health assessments, supports and services in B.C. through 100 walk-in intake clinics at locations throughout B.C.: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/child-teen-mental-health/mental-health-intake-clinics
- Online Services Map: Interactive map listing approximately 350 B.C. mental-health and substance-use services for children and youth. View the map at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/find-services-near-you/youth-mental-health-services.
- Foundry Centres: One-stop shops for mental-health, addiction and social supports for young people ages 12-24. Foundry centres are judgement- and barrier-free environments that make it easier for young people and their families to get the supports they need. There are locations in Abbotsford, Vancouver (North Shore and Granville), Victoria, Campbell River, Prince George, Penticton and Kelowna: https://foundrybc.ca/
- Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: A free, provincial resource that provides mental-health and substance-use information, resources and peer support to children, youth and their families in B.C. For more information, visit: http://keltymentalhealth.ca/about
- Booster Buddy: An Island Health app designed for youth and young adults who are living with stress, depression and anxiety to help support self-care. The “buddy” has practical, daily check-ins to encourage positive habits and support for more serious mental-health challenges: https://www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/children-youth/mental-health-children-youth/boosterbuddy-mobile-app
Mental-health and substance-use supports in B.C. include:
- HealthLink BC: Provides 24/7, confidential health information and advice. Call 811 or visit: www.healthlinkbc.ca
- Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre: Provides confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including thoughts of suicide. Call 604 872-3311 (Greater Vancouver) or toll-free 1 800 SUICIDE (784-2433), or visit: https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/
- The KUU-US Crisis Response Service: Provides 24/7 culturally aware crisis support to Indigenous people in B.C. Call 1 800 588-8717 or visit: http://www.kuu-uscrisisline.ca/
- Mental Health Digital Hub: A provincial website that provides information, services and education and awareness about mental health and substance use for adults, youth and children: www.gov.bc.ca/mentalhealth
- Stop Overdose BC: Offers information on harm reduction, treatment and recovery services, and how to support a loved one living with mental-health or addiction challenges: www.StopOverdoseBC.ca
- Bounce Back: A free evidence-based program designed to help youth and adults experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood or stress, with or without anxiety. Bounce Back teaches effective skills to help people improve their mental health. Call toll-free: 1 866 639-0522 or visit: www.bouncebackbc.ca
- MindHealthBC: Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Providence Health Care and community partners have created an online mental-health counselling program. If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental-health or substance-use challenges, visit the website for information and recommendations for further support in Vancouver, Richmond and other coastal communities: www.mindhealthbc.ca/
- Heretohelp: Provides information about managing mental illness and maintaining good mental health, including self-management resources and screening self-tests for wellness, mood, anxiety and risky drinking: www.heretohelp.bc.ca/
- Substance-use services: B.C. has a network of direct and contracted services for people experiencing substance-use challenges, including counselling, needle exchanges, opiate-replacement therapy, and withdrawal management and prevention programs for adults and youth. Call toll-free: 1 866 658-1221