Managing the Holidays

Sad Holiday - with Heather Caruso at Art Therapy Guelph in Ontario.

The holidays can be a tough time for people for many reasons. People may have lost their jobs, a loved one, lack social connection or other negative experiences. The media images of the holidays create an unrealistic picture that is not obtainable. Those who try to recreate this perfection, often don't enjoy their holidays because of the stress they endure in trying to create an ideal holiday. The lack of sun during the winter can contribute to feeling down during the holidays. Mental health support during these times is the key.

Here are some ways to support yourself during the holidays:

  1. Focus on what is in front of you. It helps to gain appreciation and be more grounded. As simple as this seems, it helps. List things you have, a roof over your head, your eyesight, food in the fridge and so on.
  2. Make a list of one thing you are grateful for every day. We have done art gratitude journals. Each day find one thing to be grateful for, and make art in your journal to solidify that. It is amazing how doing this when you start your day helps lift the spirits.
  3. Check in on your self care and do things for yourself even if you don't feel like it. Fake it until you make it. For example, have you participated in personal hygiene, bathed, brushed teeth, hair and are out of your PJs? Have you moved today? Take a walk. Are you zoning out in front of the TV? Try grabbing something you loved doing in the past, journaling, making art, singing, doing puzzles or crosswords.
  4. If you feel isolated, do things to connect, with others. During the pandemic it may have to be through zoom. Reach out to friends and family. If you don't have many people to reach out to for whatever reason, start participating in interest groups, even if they are online. Think about other ways to interact like volunteering, joining church or walking groups.
  5. Take time to ground yourself by activating your senses. Look around for 4 things you can see, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can hear. This is a simple tool for grounding when anxiety and emotions are high.
  6. Think about what things you have in your home or can bring to your space that trigger your senses. For example, find things that smell pleasant such as scented flowers, candles and relaxing essential oils. For hearing, beautiful music, guided meditations or inspirational podcasts. For touch, art supplies, petting an animal or other sensory objects. See things around you that bring you joy. For myself I have created a space with things I love such as interesting rocks, books and so on. It is amazing how tapping into our senses helps redirect our attention and energies to be more in our body and grounded.
  7. Seek support  when you need it. Sometimes talking to friends will do. Some people find it in religion, support groups, counselling and community.
  8. Art therapy is a fantastic tool to help with mental well being. Art therapy enhances emotional expression and creativity. The art making process helps with expression bypassing the verbal centers. Working with an art therapist one on one or in groups is an excellent tool to process emotions and provide positive opportunities for growth.

For more information on what we or to book an appointment do contact us.