Mental Health Over the Holidays

It may come as a shock to many, but the holidays that most people look forward to are for some a very dreadful time. You may have heard that over the Christmas season, suicide statistics rise to the highest rate of the year, but according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), this is a myth. What is true, however, is that while suicide rates do not rise, those for depression do. The holidays can bring out stress, feelings of being overwhelmed, and even loneliness that can’t be ignored. To help your loved ones that may be suffering, or if you’re looking for tips to cope yourself, keep reading!

Tips for Coping
If you’re not looking forward to this holiday season, here are some tips to consider that may help you cope:

1. Plan ahead of time – To reduce anxiety and increase predictability over the holidays, try to plan things out ahead of time. Knowing things ahead of time could give you some peace of mind.

2. Talk to someone – Whether it’s your family, friends, or a loved one, let them know how you feel. Maybe you’re afraid of being forced out of your comfort zone or perhaps during this time your depression gets worse, whatever it is, it’s best not to keep it all pent up. One of the ways we get most depressed is by holding things in and living in secret, so try telling someone that you trust who will support you.  

3. Take care of yourself – If you’re already suffering from a mental illness and the holidays stress you out, the two combined will not have a pleasant outcome. Remember that neglecting your body can only worsen things, so take care of yourself both physically and mentally.

Tips for Helping Another
If you know anyone close to you that is struggling during this time, here are some tips to help:

1. Invite them – Not everyone has people to share the holidays with. If you know of anyone around you that may be alone during this time, reach out to them. Even if they say no, at least you’ve offered them inclusion they may have otherwise not received.

2. Be kind & understanding – The Christmas season is one that is often overwhelming for many, those struggling with mental illness especially. If someone you know seeks limited involvement with festivities, it’s best not to force them into things. It’s important to be understanding and supportive of their situation because their mental illness is not something they can control.

The winter holidays are around the corner, a time to cherish our loved ones and share happiness. As busy as it gets, remember to keep your mental health a priority! You are important, and it’s okay to fear the holidays. Look after yourself and happy holidays from Her Campus uOttawa!

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