Christmas is a time of year that can enhance the wonderful blessings we enjoy in our lives. But for some people, the holiday season is accompanied by a sense of sadness, anxiety, or loss. If someone you know is dealing with one of the below situations, you can really make a difference this season for them by providing your support and helping them avoid a Blue Christmas.

Dearly Departed
Has someone you know recently lost a loved one? The death of a close family member can make the first Christmas without the loved one very upsetting. Don’t assume that “other people have already checked in with her/him”. This is especially true for the seniors in your life. Give them a call and make plans! If you have lost a loved one, surround yourself with supportive friends and family this season.

Estrangement/Divorce
Having estranged relatives can be uncomfortable at this time of year. If you are coping with potentially stressful family gatherings, try some of these tips:

  • Create a new tradition. If a divorce has affected memories within the home, get out of the house. Go ice skating. See a movie. Take a hike in the woods. Go on vacation – anything you need to create a positive change.
  • Keep your visit brief. It’s okay to make a shorter appearance.
  • Keep busy at the event to excuse yourself from too much conversation.

Seasonal Affective Disorder
The decreased sunlight that occurs around this time can trigger periods of depression which exceed 2 weeks at a time. Light therapy may be appropriate. Anyone suffering from any type of depression should consult a physician for appropriate treatment.

Substance Use
No doubt about it; December is stressful. Trying to please everyone by getting the perfect gift, making time to visit everyone, financial stressors, meeting year end goals at work – the list seems endless. Holiday parties are plentiful. One should not “drown sorrows” or manage stress with alcohol or other substances. Social drinkers are at risk of overdoing it with so many festive gatherings in a short period. Make sure to remain hydrated by drinking water, consuming alcohol with food to slow its absorption, and always arrange a safe way to get home like operation red nose.

If you are having difficulty coping during the holidays, or any other time of year, contact the Canadian Mental Health Association to identify local mental health resources. Remember McDougall Insurance is here to help provide you peace of mind and we want to wish you, and people around you, a safe and happy holiday.