Tips for cop­ing with hol­i­day stress

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS - CEN­TRE FOR AD­DIC­TION AND MEN­TAL HEALTH

Do you feel more stressed dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son?

While this time of year can be a time of joy, many peo­ple can also find it stress­ful. Be­tween fam­ily and work gath­er­ings, hol­i­day fi­nan­cial pres­sures and con­sumer over­load, the hol­i­day sea­son can cer­tainly take a toll. And what if you’re alone at this time of to­geth­er­ness? Here are some help­ful tips:

- Set re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions about what you can ac­com- plish over the hol­i­day sea­son. Try to es­tab­lish some bal­ance be­tween what you do for oth­ers and what you do for your­self.

— If spend­ing time with fam­ily is stress­ful for you, set lim­its on the amount of time you spend with them.

— Con­sider shar­ing the hol­i­day meal prepa­ra­tions with friends and fam­ily to ease the load.

— Hol­i­days can bring up feel­ings of loss and a sense of be­ing alone and dis­con­nected. If you have a friend or fam­ily mem­ber you can talk to, try to spend some time with them or con­nect with them on the tele­phone.

- Some re­li­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions or groups have spe­cial ser­vices you can at­tend for peo­ple who are alone dur­ing the hol­i­days. This can be a good op­por­tu­nity to talk to oth­ers and meet new friends.

- The hol­i­days can be a tempt­ing time to overuse al­co­hol and other sub­stances in or­der to re­lax. For some­one with a sub­stance use prob­lem, this can be a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult time with all of the so­cial­iz­ing that oc­curs and be­cause our so­ci­ety pro­motes the use of sub­stances at th­ese times. Canada’s LowRisk Al­co­hol Drink­ing Guide­lines can help peo­ple re­duce the harms re­lated to al­co­hol use.

— Vol­un­teer. Food banks and other or­ga­ni­za­tions of­ten need help at this time of year. This is also a good way to meet new friends and help those in need.

— Give your­self per­mis­sion to feel any sense of loss or emo­tions that can sur­face dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son.

— Do some­thing en­joy­able for your­self. See a hol­i­day movie or treat your­self to a new book.

If you ex­pe­ri­ence dis­tress dur­ing the hol­i­days, please do not hes­i­tate to con­tact your fam­ily doc­tor or visit your lo­cal hos­pi­tal emer­gency room.

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