Mental Health (Pixabay.com)

Mental Health (Pixabay.com)

Fraser Health suggests how to stay mentally well during the holidays

‘It’s normal to feel anxious and afraid. Some of us are struggling more than others’

  • Dec. 24, 2020 10:45 a.m.

By Charlie Carey

As the holiday period begins, common feelings of stress and loneliness are being multiplied by the physical and social isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s normal to feel anxious and afraid. Some of us are struggling more than others. We have to recognize that none of us are the same person we were prior to the pandemic,” said Fraser Health Authority’s psychiatric and physician quality lead, Dr. Marietta Van Den Berg.

While the largest health authority in the province has seen a marked increase in calls to its crisis line, of around 12 per cent since March 2020, the authority is also gearing up to receive its seasonal increase of calls over the holiday season.

“People have lots of difficult or painful memories. Maybe they have no family, maybe they’re homeless, maybe their mood is down a bit, and it’s worse over the darkness of the season,” Van Den Berg said.

The expectations of the holiday period also drive people to seek help. The commercialization and high expectations that marketing places on the holidays can make it especially difficult.

“Even ordinary people who have no have mental health issues feel that they have to create a perfect holiday event. Then they feel like they can’t live up to that,” said Van Den Berg.

READ MORE: Mental health resources available in B.C., and how to find them

In preparation for this time of year, the Fraser Health Authority said that staying connected is vital to combat feelings of isolation and sadness.

Dr. Van Den Berg suggests three practical steps that can be taken over the holiday period to alleviate stress and anxiety:

  • Maintain your schedule; it helps to keep the feeling of stability and predictability.
  • Stay active; get outside into nature as it is a great healer.
  • When waking up, set your hopes and intentions for the day; examples could be baking cookies or calling a friend.

Having hope is also a key recommendation from Van Den Berg. “This will end. All difficult things end. Wars, famines, pandemics, disasters, difficult feelings, winter, everything ends eventually. It is just about staying safe, following the rules, and taking every day as it comes.”

If you’re experiencing mental health challenges over the holiday period, or any time during the year, the Fraser Health Crisis Line can be reached 24 hours a day on 604-951-8855 or toll-free at 1-877-820–7444. Trained volunteers are available to listen and help connect you with the right services and resources.

Healthlink BC is also available, province-wide, at 811.

Holidaysmental health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Through his lens, Doug Cook captured this picture of the Fraser River, Mount Baker, an eagle, and even the Golden Ears Bridge on a sunny fall afternoon. The photo was taken from the wooden walkway leading down to the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport float plane dock. (Contributed photo)
Friends of Semiahmoo Bay to host virtual World Wetland Day event

Webinar event to feature six speakers, to be held Feb. 2

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

One of the Choices Lottery grand prize packages includes a home located at 16730 19 Ave., Surrey. (Contributed photo)
Two South Surrey homes featured in Choices Lottery

Tickets on sale now for BC Children’s Hospital lottery

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey high-intensity rehabilitation unit, Laurel Place. On Dec. 22, 2020, Fraser Health said four patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. (Image: Google Street View)
Fraser Health says COVID-19 outbreak over at Laurel Place in Surrey

Health authority declared outbreak over Jan. 16

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read