It’s only the beginning of November and the sounds, sights, and stores are beginning to announce the arrival of the Holiday Season. Festive musical favourites are being played on the radio. Gingerbread has become the new Pumpkin Spice. And elves….lots of elves.
But for some people, the advent of the holidays can feel less like ‘Joy to the World’ and a bit more like a long, dark silent night.
· A neighbour who is grieving the loss of someone they once loved or dreams they once had;
· A friend who is painfully reminded of their involuntary childlessness at holiday gatherings where other people’s children look adorable in new reindeer jammies;
· A family member who is struggling to provide for their own day-to-day needs but is now faced with the financial pressures of presents, holiday parties, and entertaining; or
· A co-worker who wants to just ‘get through’ the annual gauntlet of family disagreements, passive-aggressive relatives, boundary-crashing siblings, and the impulse to self-medicate until all the unpleasant feelings go away.
In fact, according to a Canadian Mental Health Association 2021 study:
· 52% of Canadians report the holidays have a negative impact on their mental health;
· 25% of Canadians experience increased anxiety during the holidays;
· 25% of women feel depressed during Christmas; and
· Crisis calls to youth hotlines jump by 23% at this time of year.
This paints quite a different picture than happy people doing happy things together with other happy people while sipping eggnog by the fire to laugh, love and reminisce about days of yore.
While there are some things that everyone can do to manage their emotions and practice mental health self-care through the holidays – get into nature, breathe deeply, exercise, eat and drink responsibly – there are no ‘Top 5 Solutions That Guarantee Fuzzy Festive Feelings”. Each person’s experience is too unique and generalities may not be sufficient.
This is why at Total Body Health we are happy to have Daryl Thomson, Clinical Counsellor, who together we can extend an invitation to anyone looking for some pre-holiday support or curious about how counselling might be the best present you give yourself this year.
It provides a safe, welcoming place where you can work in partnership with a counsellor to gain self-perspective and insight, honour your life experiences, move away from self-limiting patterns of thoughts or behaviour, and move towards being the person you want to be. Counselling can deepen relationships, provide a space to heal, and offers hope that things can be different than they appear to be.