‘Tis the Season to Be Jolly – But What if You’re Lonely or Unhappy?


​Tips to support mental health through the holid​ays


​A message from Dr. Nel Wieman, FNHA Acting Chief Medical Officer​​

​​​For those who celebrate Christmas, the month of December is traditionally a happy time of celebration, connection and giving. For some, however, the holiday season is actually a time when feelings of loneliness or disconnection are made stronger – fuelled by the perception that everyone but them is having a “Merry Christmas" with their loved ones.

If you are among those who are looking forward to connecting and sharing with your family and friends, that is wonderful! Merry Christmas to you! Also, please consider reaching out and including people who might not have holiday plans.

If you are among those who are feeling alone and disconnected, or are grieving, please be encouraged by the fact that there is much you can do to support your mental health and change how you're feeling and coping. As a psychiatrist, I have seen good results in patients who have tried some of the following ways to lift their spirits. (If these do not prove helpful, please see the links at the end of this message.)

Remind yourself that feelings pass. One of the best ways to improve your mental health is to remind yourself that you've overcome challenges before and can do so again. And that while many things will always be outside of your control, there is still much you can do to change how you're coping and feeling.

Change the channel. It's good to be informed, but there's no need to spend too much time reading or listening to social media / news channels, which often focus on the sensational, bad news and make us feel down.

 Focus on your goals. A healthier choice is to focus on the things you have the power to change, like your personal health and wellness. Set some goals for your life, career, and relationships as well as a daily action plan to achieve them. For example, simply committing to walking daily is an awesome, wholistic health-boosting option!

Take time for your passions. Find joy in small things. Spend time doing a hobby, sport or activity you enjoy. Perhaps look into joining a group with similar interests, e.g., a beading circle at a friendship centre, or a walking group. This will nurture your spirit!

Count your blessings. Practising gratitude for all the positive things in our lives lifts our spirits and improves our health and well-being, according to extensive research. Gratitude helps us to appreciate what we have while we work towards what we want or need, instead of feeling like we can't be happy until we have more. Gratitude not only helps us to be happier and healthier, it helps us to deal with hard times better, to build stronger relationships, and to feel connected. That's because when we are grateful for the good in our lives, we are acknowledging that there is a source of that good – that it is external and partially beyond our control. This recognition helps us connect to something outside ourselves, whether that is other people, nature, or a higher power/Creator – and these connections are proven to be good for our health and well-being.


If you find yourself becoming consistently anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed during the holiday season and beyond, please see a mental health professional for counselling. Virtual help can be arranged by calling our Virtual Doctor of the Day service. You're worth it! Have a happy, healthy, SAFE holiday season.

Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry Service

Support is Available 24 Hours a Day! Reach Out if You Need to!

If you are feeling distressed or are struggling, please reach out and ask for help if you need it. The First Nations Health Authority has mental health and wellness supports that you can access if you need additional supports.​​

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