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Barrett Centre for Crisis Support offers tips for preventing holiday stress and depression

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The holiday season is meant to be a joyous time spent with family and friends, but for many people, this year especially, it can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, loneliness and isolation.

The term “holiday depression,” is categorized as experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety over the holidays. It can sometimes be combined with seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression that occurs as the daylight hours grow shorter.

According to a 2015 study from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 64 per cent of people say they are affected by holiday depression. The holidays often present a range of demands that make us feel stressed or overwhelmed, but this year, people may feel clouded by worry for the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones.

The holidays are traditionally when everyone can take time to connect with people they care about, break their routine and travel. With the ongoing threat of COVID-19 affecting communities across the country, these activities are not safe this year. Looking after our mental health in a proactive way is more important than ever. Here are some tips to help prevent holiday stress and depression.

1. Acknowledge your feelings. You cannot force happiness just because it is the holiday season. It is OK to take time to express sadness or grief.

2. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like they were in previous years. Choose a few traditions that you can still hold on to this year and try to find new ways to celebrate safely.

3. Try and maintain healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays sidetrack your self-care routines. Try to eat healthy meals, get plenty of rest and include regular physical activity in your daily routine.

4. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, reach out to friends, family and neighbours for support and companionship. Do not be afraid to ask for professional help if you need it.

This holiday season, we need to find small, creative ways to feel joy and comfort and also ask for help when we need it. The Good Shepherd Barrett Centre for Crisis Support is here to offer a compassionate, safe environment with a range of supports. The Barrett Centre serves all genders, 16 years of age or older. Confidential and free services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“We support individuals in developing effective solutions to their crises through immediate assessment, care and support,” says Lenore, Chief Operating Officer for Good Shepherd Non-Profit Homes Inc.  

“Our crisis and peer support workers are prepared to work with people in the community who need help with their mental health this holiday season.”

If you need help, please call the Barrett Centre Crisis Line at
905-529-7878.

© 2021 Good Shepherd