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  • Writer's pictureAligned Health

Holiday Care Plan

The holidays are not always merry and bright. For some, the holiday season is difficult, alienating and trying. Whether it be grief, a fractured relationship, traumatic childhood memory or financial strain, the holidays can create some uncomfortable and anxiety producing moments.

Add to that the harsh impact of 2020. COVID-19. Isolation. Racial and gender injustice. A tumultuous economy and job market. Many find themselves already worn out from managing everyday stressors in a pandemic world, before the additional stresses of the holiday season.

No question, the holidays will look different this year. As we enter the holiday season, we encourage you to create a game plan to take care of yourself. This starts by acknowledging things are different this year and proactively creating a path forward to help you navigate awkward or painful moments before they may occur.

Consider these tips as you develop your own holiday care plan:

  • Acknowledge what you are grieving this holiday season (examples may include traveling, gathering with loved ones, a painful memory, scaling back celebrations due to finances, etc.)

  • List safe people you can talk to in a crisis (examples include a trusted friend, therapist, support group, etc.). Be sure to have their contact information saved on your phone or in your address book.

  • Consider where you can access additional support as needed (examples may include online support groups, counselling, regional foodbanks, etc.)

  • Write out your boundaries and clearly communicate them with others (examples may include writing out a budget and sticking to it, making your holiday gatherings virtual, making homemade gifts, giving yourself permission to say no – and mean it, etc.)

  • Think about something you have to look forward to (examples may include an experience, people or activity)

  • Think about what energizes you (examples may include exercise, a scenic walk, baking, book a massage, a phone call with a friend, eating a good meal, listening to music, a hot bath, painting or sketching, etc.).

  • As many will be spending the holidays physically distanced from loved ones, consider finding new ways to keep old traditions alive.

We asked our psychotherapy team for more tips on how to survive the holiday season. Here’s what they had to say:

From Gillian:

  • With the current and extraordinary times upon us, the holidays will look differently. Be open that it won’t be the same so be intentional about making plans. Rather than thinking about isolation focus on the virtual plans that you can make.

  • Share a virtual meal

  • Reach out to family, friends and members of your supportive community

  • Bundle up and head outside for exercise & fresh air

  • While the holidays are a great time of enjoyment for many it is also a very challenging time for others. If the holidays bring up painful memories, grief or stress, acknowledge it and be intentional to reach out for help and support.

From Heidi:

  • I’m always reminded that family and tradition is what you make it. We can choose to do things differently, because of what we need. Permission to make family and to make tradition.

From Sanjay:

  • Supporting each other at this time of year is key to our mental health and that of our colleagues so here are some ways that we can support each other – together yet apart!

  • Have a virtual team lunch or virtual team building activity

    • Maybe everyone orders something from their favourite restaurant and eats together.

    • Everyone takes time to share your favourite holiday recipe and create a recipe exchange rather than a cookie exchange.

    • Share your favourite holiday memory.

    • Purchase a gift for a family in need and share what you have purchased. Drop it at the nearest charity collecting for the holidays.

  • If you are one that provides a gift or baked goods to your friends each year maybe consider the following:

    • Donate to a charity in their name

    • Provide for the Foodbank – “Stuff a Bus”

    • Send a gift card.

Need support? We are here for you. Our team of therapists are available if you or someone you know needs to meet with a therapist over the holidays. Check out our live calendar at

If you are in crisis, please call 1-844-437-3247 (HERE247) or 911.

Wishing you peace as we enter the holiday season.

Aligned Health

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