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As you’ve probably figured out, it’s December. The most wonderful time of the year for some, and less wonderful for others. Whether you are celebrating something, celebrating nothing, enjoying some time off, or working straight through to January, it is normal to feel a little sad. Especially this year when lots of us must distance from our families and friends due to COVID-19. It’s important to figure out some positive coping strategies to take care of our mental health during this time.

My 5 favourite holiday coping strategies:  

Rethink expectations:

It can be easy to get caught up in the holiday fanfare. We are bombarded with images of romance, parties, family, and presents. It is important to remember that these movies, advertisements, songs, and social media posts are not holiday standards. It is perfectly normal to be alone around the holidays, and there is no specific way to spend time during December.

Get connected:

Social distancing may stop us from being around our loved ones this holiday but that doesn’t mean you can’t still reach out. Schedule time to connect with people. Don’t wait for an invitation, because chances are the person you want to talk to is also waiting for one.

Do something you enjoy:

When we are alone, it seems as though the time passes by so slowly. If you fill the time with things you enjoy, the time will pass by quicker. Something as simple as playing your favorite instrument, taking a bath, or baking some cookies could improve your mood.

Pay it forward:

Volunteering is a great way to connect with people in a positive way. Volunteering gets you out of the house and doing something productive that will not only make you feel good, but will make others feel good. It gives us a sense of accomplishment. If you can’t find any volunteering opportunities that are right for you, try doing some good deeds for your neighbours. Good deeds could be anything from leaving a gift on their doorstep to shoveling their driveway.

Get outside:

People tend to get in the habit of staying in bed when they have time off, especially in the winter. A little outdoor time can be a huge mood booster. If you start your day with a short outdoor walk, you’ll feel more awake and are less likely to spend the day sedentary. Another great time to go for a walk is at night when all the Christmas lights are lit up.

I wish you all a Happy Holidays and I hope you enjoy your holiday season whether you spend it alone or with loved ones. 

If you’re struggling this season and need to talk to someone, please check out some of these resources:

Crisis Services Canada https://www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/looking-for-local-resources-suppo...

Canada Suicide Prevention Service 1-833-456-4566 (available 24/7) or text 45645 (4pm to 12am ET)

Kids Help Phone  Confidential and anonymous care from professional counsellors available 24/7 for Canadians aged 5 to 29. 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free) or text CONNECT to 686868

Hope for Wellness Help Line Available to all Indigenous peoples across Canada who need immediate crisis intervention. Experienced and culturally sensitive helpline counsellors available. Phone and online counselling available in English and French. On request phone counselling is also available in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut.  1-855-242-3310 (toll free) Live chat available at https://www.hopeforwellness.ca/ 

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Lydia Kifle

Waterloo '23

Lydia Kifle (she/her) is a Business and Communication Studies student at the University of Waterloo. She is passionate about learning ways to combat social issues. In her free time she enjoys writing stories and engaging in all kinds of creative expression.
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