The Christmas season is a time of happiness and joy, creating memories with friends, family and loved ones. We associate this time of year with pretty lights, snowmen, Christmas trees, presents and hot chocolate, but there is a completely different side to the holidays that isn’t often talked about.

For many people, this is a time of high stress and overwhelming emotions. Struggles are magnified, making it difficult to slap on a smile and keep up with the ‘tidings of comfort and joy’ around them. Furthermore, people feel pressured to be out celebrating with friends, family, coworkers and people in their community.

This is the side of the holiday season that isn’t talked about often enough.

If you are struggling this holiday season, please try to be patient with yourself. Your feelings are real and valid, regardless of how many people may or may not understand what you are currently going through. If you feel as though you need some ‘you’ time, and that means skipping a Christmas party or event, then you need to prioritize yourself and your own mental well-being.

Remember that you are not alone. With approximately 1 in 5 Canadians experiencing either a mental health or addiction problem according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, it is likely that at least one person in your life is struggling this holiday. Try to keep that thought in mind as you are making plans. Pay attention to those that you care about, and reach out to those in need when the opportunity presents itself. You may be the only person reaching out a hand when they need one the most.

The Canadian Mental Health Association Alberta put together a collection of 8 key tips for mental wellness during the holiday season. These great tips address a number of different triggers, and what steps you can take to protect yourself. Share these tips with the people in your life – you never know who may be struggling quietly, hiding their battle from the world around them.

health, mental health, mental health during the holidays, mental wellness

health, mental health, mental health during the holidays, mental wellness

health, mental health, mental health during the holidays, mental wellness

health, mental health, mental health during the holidays, mental wellness

health, mental health, mental health during the holidays, mental wellness

health, mental health, mental health during the holidays, mental wellness

health, mental health, mental health during the holidays, mental wellness

health, mental health, mental health during the holidays, mental wellness

health, mental health, mental health during the holidays, mental wellness

What steps do you take to protect yourself over the holiday season? Are there specific things that help you to stay centred?

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