Managing your Stress over the Holidays

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Managing your Stress over the Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone. Whether you are living with a mood disorder or are a supporter of someone with a mood disorder, it is important to ensure that you continue to care for yourself over the holidays. Here are some suggestions about how you can manage the stress of this time:

Set reasonable expectations/goals for yourself and others

During the holidays, we tend to heap huge expectations on ourselves, and sometimes on others as well. There are expectations that we need to be happy, and need to be social. That we need to cook, to bake, to shop, to decorate, to give…no wonder people get so stressed out! Perhaps it would help to set one or two of your own goals or expectations over the holidays, instead of twenty. Perhaps one of your goals should even become “to take time out for yourself” or “to only attend 1 social gathering instead of 5″. When coping with a mental illness or supporting someone, it is important to remember that expectations of always being social and happy may not be realistic for you or your loved one. Consider what is reasonable for you and your family this season, set some goals, and go easy on yourself if you do not reach your own expectations or if someone else does not meet them.

Stick to routines

Just as your regular self-care routine may include a healthy balanced diet, a regular sleep and exercise routine and possibly medication, your self-care routine over the holidays should continue to involve the things you do on a regular basis to manage stress and stay well.

Take time out

Take time out from the crowds of malls and social gatherings when needed. What normally helps you relax? Take some time and go for a walk, sit by yourself and listen to some music or read a book, take an extra long bath or shower. Make sure you give yourself the personal relaxation time you deserve.

Pay attention to what your body is telling you

Check in with yourself regularly. Are you feeling tense, anxious and stressed? Employ those self-care tactics that commonly work for you and utilize them before your stress level reaches its peak and your health is negatively impacted.

Check out our free resource

Mental Health M.A.P. My Action Plan
Available at

Keep your own personal journal, track your mood, and create a personal action plan to support your recovery.

Mental Health M.A.P can also be used as an educational tool by individuals and organizations that support you.

Using Mental Health M.A.P. (M.A.P) you can:

  • Create personal action plans to support your recovery
  • Learn from others that have been there
  • Keep your own personal journal
  • Track your mood, medications, appointments, exercise and other activities
  • Share action plans with others
  • Choose to receive email reminders and supportive feedback

Talk to someone who has been there

The site is rich with content and video footage. Coaches, who have, themselves lived with mental illness, guide users through the site’s eleven learning modules. Various professionals offer their insights and suggestions. Users will hear from psychiatrists, psychologists, a personal trainer, registered dietician, recovery program facilitator, naturopath and a workplace expert. And individuals can read about and listen to the personal stories of others who have been there, talking about their journeys with mental illness and sharing their messages of hope.

M.A.P was inspired, designed, developed and guided by individuals who have been affected by mental illness. It takes a holistic approach, borrowing from both the medical and recovery models, to help individuals take control of their recovery and continue on the road to wellness. Entries and plans are entirely confidential unless individuals choose to share them with others they want to support them.

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