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2011 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Coping with holiday stress

Do you feel more stressed during the holiday season? While the holiday season can be a time of joy, many people can also find it stressful. Between planning events, attending family and work gatherings, financial pressures with holiday shopping, and the challenge of finding the right gifts, the holiday season can certainly take a toll. Here are some helpful tips for coping with stress during the holiday season:
  • Set realistic expectations about what you can accomplish 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. The CCSA has put together Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol 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 or visit your local hospital emergency room. ConnexOntario operates three help lines that provide health services information for people experiencing problems with gambling, drugs or alcohol, and mental illness. To access ConnexOntario click here.
CAMH Switchboard 416-535-8501
CAMH General Information Toronto: 416-595-6111 Toll Free: 1-800-463-6273
Connex Ontario Help Lines
Queen St.
1001 Queen St. W
Toronto, ON
M6J 1H4
Russell St.
33 Russell St.
Toronto, ON
M5S 2S1
College St.
250 College St.
Toronto, ON
M5T 1R8
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