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Current Year Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Coping with stress this holiday season? CAMH expert available for media interviews

December 12, 2012 –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 and financial pressures from holiday shopping, the season can certainly take a toll.

Dr. Katy Kamkar, clinical psychologist in the Work, Stress & Health and Psychological Trauma Programs at CAMH is available for interviews to discuss the signs and symptoms of holiday stress and tips for balancing stress during this holiday season.

Here are some helpful tips for coping with holiday stress:

  • 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, 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 over the telephone.
  • Some religious organizations or groups have special services 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 .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, 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. It is free, confidential and anonymous and available 24 hours a day.

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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit www.camh.ca.

For more information contact: Michael Torres, CAMH Media Relations, 416-595-6015 or media@camh.ca

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