This holiday season, you may find yourself not feeling as joyous for winter activities with your family and friends, or excited for a new year to come, and that’s a valid feeling to have.
Even before all of the pandemic commotion, which continues to dictate our day-to-day lives, it’s common to find yourself feeling exhausted—physically, emotionally, and especially mentally.
Although times continue to be tough, it is important to try and keep your spirits high and find positivity in your life whether that is through a support system, in your hobbies and passions, or through channelling new perspectives.
Find Your Support
Even in those moments where nothing seems to be going right, there are people available to support and help you through those dark times.
Whether it’s a sibling close to your age, a friend, teammate, classmate, or peer group member—you may be surprised by how your feelings are commonly shared and experienced by those around you.
This is why engaging in those tough but necessary conversations with your peers breaks the stigma about youth mental health.
Alternatively, a trusted adult such as a family member, teacher, counsellor, or Peer Supporter can provide a non-judgmental space for you to unload your thoughts and feelings.
Having people you trust can help you cope, manage and tackle difficult challenges, decisions, and overwhelming situations.
Especially for youth who may feel a sense of emptiness without certain family members or friends present, relying on your support system can make your holidays just a little bit brighter.
Invest Time In Your Passions
Carve out some time this season to get back to the activities that bring happiness into your life.
Focusing on hobbies, interests, and/or passions that you may have forgotten about, or have recently discovered, is one of the healthiest ways to not only spark joy, but revive and boost your mental health and well-being.
If you’re uninspired, check out the following list of hobbies.¹
- Enrichment Hobbies: These are the kind of hobbies that help enrich and improve your mind including reading a book, writing in a journal, learning about a new topic, etc.
- Sports and Games: Physical activity can regulate your mood, keep you focused, and enhance your ability to think and learn. This can include practicing yoga, playing soccer, basketball, working out at the gym, etc.
- Social Activities: If you’ve felt isolated from friends and family, reach out and invite them to a coffee date, dinner and a movie, or simply hang out at your favourite spot. Or you can share your time by volunteering with your local food bank, library, etc.
- Creative Hobbies: Diving into an art project such as painting, drawing, scrapbooking, photography, etc., can easily release feelings of stress and give you time to clear your mind.
- Making & Tinkering: Have you ever tried to restore or create something with your hands? Modelling out of clay or even recycled material can show just how you can make something out of nothing.
- Outdoor Recreation: We’ve all been pretty isolated inside, so why not explore and find adventure elsewhere by skating at your local pond, hiking in the mountains, cycling, gardening, etc.
- At-Home Hobbies: Try your hand at cooking a new recipe, or practicing mindfulness—learning these hobbies can give purpose to different spaces in your home that are dedicated to you and you only, unless you open them up to family and friends.
Avoid Comparisons, Show Gratitude
No matter what holiday you celebrate, you can not let the illusion of the perfect family, friends, house, or gift that you see online get you in a funk.
Spending less time on screens will ultimately lead to more meaningful conversations and lasting memories with your own family and friends.
It’s important to remember that the majority of posts you see online are the positive highlights in that person’s day, it doesn’t make them superior or better to your own. And you never know what that person’s day is like after they share that photo/video. That’s why comparing your holiday with others doesn’t make you feel any better.
Expressing gratitude privately to yourself, or with your family and friends, is another way to promote greater feelings of joy, optimism and increase your overall well-being. Reflecting back on 2021 can be very difficult for some, however, if you can pick out at least one or two moments, people or things that gave you some sense of joy this year, that is enough to set your mind at ease of negativity.
If you’re looking for someone to talk to this holiday season, please read our blog, ‘How To Find Youth Peer Support,’ where you will find a list of youth-related resources.
¹HobbyKeeda. (2017). What is a hobby? Different types of hobbies. HobbyKeeda.com. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://hobbykeeda.medium.com/what-is-a-hobby-different-types-of-hobbies-89083caab43d
You are not alone. There is help.
If you cannot find someone you trust who is willing to support you, dial a crisis line right away at 403-266-HELP (4357) All crisis lines are confidential.
YouthSMART would like to thank Sagium and Kinsted Wealth for being our 2020 – 2021 website sponsor.