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Preparing for the Holiday Season and 2022


The holidays can be a joyful time but they can also be stressful and especially challenging
for those impacted by mental illness. During the holiday season,  it is important to support our mental well-being and do routine check-ins with ourselves and loved ones. Mental health is essential to overall health and wellness; yet, it is something that is often taken for granted.


In order for us to achieve total wellness, we need to maintain both our physical and mental health. When we have good mental health and wellness we can manage our emotions and behaviours. We are able to handle life’s stressors, build strong relationships, and lead productive and fulfilling lives. There are many things we can do to boost our mood, build resilience, and get more enjoyment out of life.
Our mental health should be a priority for us all!

What is the connection between our physical and mental health?

According to the World Health Organization, “There is no health, without mental health”.  When it comes to overall wellness, mental and physical health are so interrelated that is difficult to talk about one without considering the other.  For instance, poor mental health can lead to physical aches and pains and a feeling of general unwellness. Likewise, poor physical health can have a negative impact on our mental health.

When we are feeling physically unwell we may worry and feel anxious about our physical symptoms which in turn can compromise our mental health. As well, a diagnosis of a chronic disease such as diabetes or cancer puts us at an increased risk for depression. Changes to our lifestyle and routines as a result of such chronic diseases, can impact our sense of self-worth because we are unable to do the things that we once did and also cause us to feel isolated and alone. Taking care of our physical health is an important first step towards improving our mental well-being.  When we pay attention to our physical health by exercising regularly, eating well, and seeking support and advice when needed, our mental and emotional well-being improves.

I am happy to provide a few resources below to help reduce stress and maintain good mental health during the holiday season.

  1. Maintain regular routines around exercise, sleep and personal interests.  With extra pressures on our time and attention, it can be easy to fall out of the routines that help us manage our health and wellness through the rest of the year. Try to maintain your healthy habits – eat nutritious food, stay active, get plenty of sleep and don’t forget to spend time on the activities that relax and sustain you all year round.  

  2. Moderation matters.  "Tis the season to be jolly"… but drinking more than you intend can affect your physical and mental health. Alcohol is a depressant that can lower your mood; follow Canada’s low-risk alcohol guidelines to stay in good spirits. 

  3. Spend time with people close to you.  From gathering with family members, friends or loved ones, to getting together with social, cultural or faith groups, spending time with our personal connections and community is one of the best ways to nurture positive mental health and well-being. This may also mean creating healthy boundaries with people who may bring stress or tension into your holidays – don’t be afraid to decline invitations or take some time to yourself if you need to.

  4. Don’t strive for perfection.  Many people feel pressured to have the perfect holiday season. This can lead to stress and disappointment if reality doesn’t match the ideal. Try to dial down the expectation of a picture-perfect celebration. Enjoy simple, inexpensive traditions; look for meaning and positivity in what the holidays bring to you.

  5. Acknowledge your feelings.  Many people struggle with feelings of loss, grief, or change during the holidays.
    If you have lost someone close to you, you can't be with loved ones, or are experiencing a difficult life transition, know that you are not alone and that it's normal to feel sadness.

  

 Season’s Greetings and best wishes for the New Year!  wreath


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Rob McCaffrey, Mental Health Advisor
Human Resources, Health, Safety & Wellness
Email:  rob.mccaffrey@uregina.ca or health.safety@uregina.ca
Phone:  (306) 585-5248