Coping with Holiday Stress – General Tips and Vulnerable Groups (11/12/2016)

December 12, 2016

Press Release – For Immediate Distribution

Coping with Holiday Stress – General Tips and Vulnerable Groups

During this busy holiday time, the Association of Psychology Newfoundland & Labrador (APNL) wants to remind the public that while this can be a joyous and exciting time for many, it can also be a period of increased stress and distress for others.

Holiday Stress:

  • Set realistic expectations for ourselves and others – it is rarely possible to find the absolutely perfect gift, prepare the perfect meal or host a family gathering where everyone shows their best and most loving behaviour. 
  • Review your expectations for the holidays.  Don’t feel you must follow all the same traditions/activities if you’re feeling overwhelmed.  Select a smaller number of traditions/activities that are meaningful to you.
  • Be mindful of quality of food and drink.  The holidays also tend to interfere with regular sleep and exercise routines which are important for self-care.
  • Be realistic about your finances
  • Focus on what really matters to you

Vulnerable Groups

There are a number of individuals who may feel more vulnerable or experience higher levels of stress during the holiday season.

  • Those who are bereaved and have lost someone close over the past year
  • Families or couples who have recently separated or divorced
  • Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADHD may find the change in routines over the holidays particularly stressful
  • Children with anxiety may have increased/new worries
  • Individuals with eating disorders may find the increased focus on food and meals challenging
  • People with depression  or other mood disorders
  • Those without close family or social networks
  • Anyone struggling financially or who has experienced job loss or reduction in pay/hours

Where/How to Get Help?

Immediate assistance is available through the Mental Health Crisis Line (709) 737-4668/1-888-737-4668 or through your local Emergency Department

Psychologists can be accessed through your local health care centre, via workplace Employee Assistance programs, and privately (see www.apnl.ca – click on Find a Psychologist for more details.).  

For more information, you can also see the Canadian Psychological Association's "Psychology Works" Fact Sheet: Holiday Stress.

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