We hope readers have just the sort of Christmas they want, whether festive or comparatively quiet. (News Bulletin photo)

Editorial: Make it a merry Christmas for ourselves and others

Balance caring for our own mental well-being and also the mental health of loved ones

We hope that everyone has a merry Christmas and happy holidays. And if that’s too much to ask, we hope that everyone will be OK.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year for many of us who enjoy the family gatherings, the gift giving, the religious services or the other traditions. We know this time of year can also be hard on people who know they’re supposed to feel jolly, but can’t quite manage it, for any number of reasons.

B.C.’s new minister of mental health and addictions, Jennifer Whiteside, issued a statement reminding British Columbians of mental health supports that are available to them.

“The holiday season is a time for celebrations, but for many, it can also be the season of loneliness, stress and difficult memories,” the minister said last week, adding that recent years have also brought various crises and hardships to the province and its residents. “These challenges can take an immense toll on our individual and collective mental health. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression or other challenges, reach out for help.”

Christmas can feel like a lot of work, whether it be holiday shopping, trimming the tree or hosting guests. And even though there is so much to do and so much to think about, we hope people in our community will think about each other, too, and how to make sure those they care about have happy holidays. That might mean trying to extend ourselves outside our comfort zone to add to Christmas cheer, or it might mean understanding if one of our loved ones needs some time away from all the merry-making.

Most of us, around this time of year, wish people merry Christmas. We might also ask them if they’re having a merry Christmas, and listen to what they tell us.

For links to virtual mental health resources, visit http://gov.bc.ca/mentalhealthsupports.

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editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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