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Posted: December 22, 2019

Prioritize your mental health over the holidays

People expect the holiday season to be filled with cheer, but it can be 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, provided by the B.C. Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions in mind this holiday season.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Do not overextend yourself. Prioritize your time so you can relax and enjoy the season with people you care about.
  5. 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.

Some available supports 

* 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 here.

* 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.

* Online Services Map: Interactive map listing approximately 350 B.C. mental-health and substance-use services for children and youth. View the map.

Mental-health and substance-use supports in B.C. include: 

* HealthLink BC: Provides 24/7, confidential health information and advice. Call 811 or click here.

* 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 toll-free 1 800 SUICIDE (784-2433), or visit here.

* 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 here.

* 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.

* 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.

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