Tips for coping with holiday stress - CAMH expert available

TORONTO, Dec. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - Do you feel more stressed during the holiday season? While this time of year can be a time of joy, many people can also find it stressful. Between family and work gatherings, holiday financial pressures and consumer overload, the holiday season can certainly take a toll. And what if you're alone at this time of togetherness?

Dr. Katy Kamkar, psychologist in CAMH's Psychological Trauma Program is available for interviews to discuss how we can cope with stress this holiday season.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • 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. Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines can help people reduce the harms related to alcohol use.
  • Volunteer. 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.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, and one of the world's leading research centres in the 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. 

SOURCE: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

For further information:

Michael Torres, Media Relations, CAMH at (416) 595-6015 or media@camh.ca


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