Mental Health Supports

Holiday Tips!

December 22nd, 2022

By: jacki

It’s that time of year again! If the holidays seem overwhelming, you’re not alone. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (cmha), 52% of Canadians report feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation during the holiday season. Here are some tips to help get through the holidays. 

Have realistic expectations. Sometimes we compare ourselves to an ideal we have in our heads, or what we see on others’ social media. That’s a lot to live up to. What do you love about the holidays? Try and focus on something smaller rather than the big picture having to be perfect.  

Set boundaries. Are certain topics off the table? You’re allowed to say, “I’m not comfortable talking about that.” Does your family want you to stay for a few days? It’s ok to say, “I’ll be there for dinner, but I’ll be heading home before bedtime.” It’s ok to take a break if things feel overwhelming.  

Letting go of gifting guilt. Showing you care or love someone can be done many ways. Buying things does not have to be one of them. Maybe a gift exchange where everyone buys one gift makes more sense than getting something for everyone. Regifting or rehoming something you already have can be a wonderfully thoughtful gesture.  

Food is morally neutral. There is no “good food” and “bad food”. Food is more than just nourishment; food is a powerful mental and emotional health tool! Think about your favourite food as a kid, or a recipe you learned from loved ones. Food can be traditional, culture, connection, and community. When we deny ourselves foods, we can also be denying ourselves these things as well. 

You don’t have to ‘do it all’! Delegate. Make it a group effort. Have the holidays always been at your place and you’re kind of dreading it this year? It’s ok to ask that it be at someone else’s place. You are allowed to ask for what you need. 

Remember how far you’ve come. Sometimes returning to our family of origin or childhood home can be a reminder of a not-so-great time or patterns that we’ve worked to change. You get to choose what works for you now. You can say, “I’m not having this kind of conversation with you” or “I’m not doing this with you anymore.” 

You can make new traditions – or no traditions. You can choose what makes you happy. It’s ok to not want to celebrate or gather. It’s ok not to stay as long as you might have in the past. It’s ok to say you won’t be joining the gathering this year. Give yourself permission to do what is best for you. 

Help is out there. Call, text, video chat with a friend or chosen family. There are hotlines and other resources, too: 

Just looking for someone to talk to? Check out this “warm line” from WellnessTogether.ca 1.888.768.2488 (check for hours) 

CrisisTextLine.org is there for you by texting HOME to 741741 

Talk Suicide is available at 1.833.456.4566 

In Waterloo Region, Here 24/7 is available anytime at 1.844.HERE.247 (1.844.437.3247) or 519.821.3582 

For Holiday Tips for Queer Folks, check out our post on OK2BME.ca

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