1. Care & Connect

Holiday traditions often make us feel joy and comfort. Due to the pandemic, this holiday may feel different. This will require us to think of alternative and creative ways to connect with family and friends. This can include:

  • Using technology, phoning, texting, arranging for a walk or exercising outdoors
  • Sending humorous and inspirational messages, memes and videos
  • Finding a holiday playlist for yourself or others
  • Volunteering with community support groups for outreach calls, either over the phone or safely in-person, to support others who are not socially connected

2. Shift Your Expectations of Yourself and the Holidays

As the holidays may be quieter than ones in the past, this allows for more time to:

  • Pause and think of what you want or need to get out of this holiday and the year to come
  • Relax, ‘declutter’ your mind, feel and create calm, and care for yourself and others.
  • This Self Care 101 document has some useful suggestions
  • Think about what helps you relax, which can be anything from a movie night to board games to online group chats to hot baths to a book, blanket and hot beverage
  • Get inspired with a project, magazines, a new recipe or work-out
  • Discover a mindful app or calming music, webcasts or podcasts
  • Try online exercising, yoga or games
  • Watch livestream concerts or virtual tours of museums
  • Keep a balance between competing demands and your personal ability and resources to meet those demands

3. Recognize Growth and Hope

  • Due to the pandemic we have changed the way we work, socialize, and live, but at the same time, children and youth continue to grow and learn. What do we want our children and youth to learn about themselves and the world around them?
  • It can be important to express frustration, distress or acknowledge things that cannot change, but at the same time, this needs to be balanced with conversations about overcoming, coping and finding hope
  • Talk about the challenges, what has been lost and what has been learned and gained this year
  • Talk about admirable and inspirational people, locally and internationally
  • What were the creative ways that you learned to care for yourself and reach out to others?
  • To learn more about the good work being done in Ontario schools, check out Twitter @SMHO_SMSO, #ShareTheGood

4. Fend off Cabin Fever and Isolation

  • As temperatures drop and social distancing remains in place, it can be easier to stay inside and become more sedentary
  • This can become more problematic during the COVID-19 pandemic, as so much messaging on TV and social media is negative and overwhelming
  • Stay active, as mental and physical health are deeply connected
  • Find the physical activity that you enjoy best because exercise improves everything from metabolism to sleep to immunity to stress response to the overall balance in your life

5. Limit Social Media and News

  • What we watch and hear affects how we think and feel
  • It is important to stay aware through reliable sources; however, constant and repetitive “breaking news” can cause a negative mindset and increase anxiety
  • Recognize when you are constantly focusing on tragic and distressing news and updates
  • When you stay online late into the night, your mind can continue to whir even when the lights go out
  • Find ways to stay connected, uplifted and mentally and physically healthy

6 If It Feels Like Too Much...

  • Reframe your thinking and remember that this is a unique and challenging time for all
  • Think about your stressors (responsibilities, changes, social, health and financial) and how you can start alleviating them. Who can help you?
  • Practice gratitude. Find things that give you comfort
  • Be mindful of negative and critical thinking and of focusing on things that you cannot control
  • Be kind to yourself

Community Mental Health Support

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