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

A peregrine falcon nest sits atop the walls of a quarry where the owner wants to restart operations. The province has now given permission for the nest to be removed. (Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News)
Company gets OK to remove rare peregrine falcon nest from Abbotsford quarry

Province says it is satisfied with falcon population estimates and mitigation plans

Garry Blanchard of Hope won $77,000 correctly guessing the outcomes of all 13 games of NFL week 17. (Photo/BCLC)
Hope resident rakes in $77,000 in NFL Week 17 bet

Garry Blanchard won the record-breaking prize correctly guessing every outcome that week

This urn was found Jan. 4 at a Yale Road bus stop and has now been returned to its owner. (RCMP photo)
RCMP find custodian of urn that was left at Chilliwack bus stop

Police say the urn contained the remains of a family’s cat

Sexual offender Taylor Dueck has pleaded guilty to another charge after previously serving a three years and seven months in prison.
Sex offender with violent history pleads guilty to another charge

Taylor Dueck of Abbotsford/Mission was the subject of prior police warnings

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Chilliwack ER doc runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A child joins the Uke ‘n Play kickoff event at the Chilliwack Library on Oct. 1, 2016. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Events return, in virtual form, at Fraser Valley Regional Library

People can take part in ukulele jam, bullet journaling, reading groups and more

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

People wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 walk past a window display at a store in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, December 13, 2020. The association representing businesses across Metro Vancouver says the costs of COVID-19 continue to mount for its members.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Greater Vancouver business organization says members face uncertain outlook in 2021

Many Greater Vancouver businesses are barely treading water as they enter 2021

A handgun seized by Surrey RCMP. (Photo: Police handout)
Crime Stoppers received 500+ tips about Metro Vancouver guns, gang activity in 2020: report

Metro Vancouver organization ‘urging local residents to keep providing anonymous tips’

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Most Read