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2009 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Need a Source? – Coping with stress this holiday season

For Immediate Release – December 11, 2009 – (Toronto) – The holiday season is filled with festivities and family gatherings, but for some people this season can also be very stressful. Sometimes we need help to cope or stay safe and healthy. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) offers resource material, quick tips and experts for interview on holiday-related stress.
Dr. Katy Kamkar, psychologist in the Work, Stress & Health and Psychological Trauma Programs at CAMH is available for interview to discuss the signs and symptoms that you may be in need of balancing your stress during this holiday season as well as tips to cope.  
Here are some helpful tips on coping with stress during the holiday season.
  • Set realistic expectations about what you can accomplish at 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 at least one person to talk to, try to spend some time with them or at least connect with a friend or family member 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. CAMH has put together Low Risk Drinking Guidelines to help people reduce the harms related to alcohol use.
  • Volunteer your services. 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, your local  or visit your local hospital emergency room.
  • The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is a Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization Collaborating Centre and a teaching hospital fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.
For more information please contact, Michael Torres, Media Relations Coordinator, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 416-595-6015.
CAMH Switchboard 416-535-8501
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