Christmas is here, lights are bright, trees are festive, fires are burning and the smells of chestnuts are everywhere! December is my happiest month and my saddest month.
I love seeing a fresh new snow fall…. it is so beautiful to watch from the bay window and it’s flakes fall onto the tips of the evergreen trees. You hear the birds chirping in the early mornings and you feel the crisp air on your swollen cheeks. The tip of your nose slightly red… just like rudolf! The homes have beautiful decorations, flowers, and props. It just makes you smile as everywhere you go looks so festive. The streets of downtown Toronto are full of people, tourists and seasonal activities! The distillery has the Christmas market and the decorations are stunning. There are such unique shops with artisans creative work that make such great gifts. The smell of hot chocolate is everywhere you walk. You see parents, children, couples and friends stopping to enjoy a drink and some food. You hear chatter and laughter and all is so bright!
“It is a gift to see so many families wrapped up in each other during this holiday season!”
I sit with my eyes close and absorb all the sounds, smells, and conversations. Everyone around gives away free smiles, small conversations and helpful gestures. It is such a beautiful time of the year!
It’s a time many connect with their faith, celebrate and give to their communities! It’s a time of gathering with friends and families. You share food, drinks and memories with all those you love. You take a moment to stop and actually enjoy/share time with those you love. It’s a time we stop work, distractions and actually listen! Children/ youth are playing, sharing and so excited to be around their family & friends. They notice the adults are attentive and not stressed! Music is playing Christmas classics and it’s such a beautiful ring tone to my ears! Christmas movies are on the TV and the Nutcracker is in the theatres again! Christmas has always been a time for families to get together and make new memories.
Though in saying all of the above… December/January is some of the saddest months! As I know there are many people suffering and during these moments becomes a reminder of what they are missing. I have mentioned to you all, I have worked as a Child and Youth Practitioner… so throughout these 27 years I have seen the sadness that is hidden in Ontario.
This article is to provide tools and suggestions to help cope through any difficult moments this holiday season can bring up… and a reminder for those who are much more fortunate to help others.
During these months of December/January is when many children are feeling abandoned as they witness others with families and enjoying dinners at different homes. There are youth in the system that have families that they spend time with but this leaves the homes empty for the others left behind. There are elders that do not have families around anymore, lost loved ones, significant others have passed. We have individuals living on the streets that witness the festivities which reminds them of their situations/loses/loneliness. This is also a time that many services give out meals, clothing, sleeping bags, gifts, groceries, toys and the list just grows! This allows so many individuals to get through the winter months. Please take the time to read these strategies if you are in need, if you are not… please be kind to those in great moods or not… as we do not actually know their struggle! So your smile could actually be saving a life!
- Complete a family activity called Worry Dolls. Create a decorated box that will fit wooden popsicle sticks. Now you will need 5 popsicles, some yarn, and a black pen/marker. Some pieces of felt. Create each doll to relate to all of your worries and on the back of your popsicles name your worries. You then place this box under your pillow during the night to help take away your worries. Every night you tell your worry dolls all that has bothered you throughout the day.
- If you are struggling please call the suicide hotline at 1-833-456-4566 or TEXT: 45645 Also here is the website which has other numbers that you can access:
- Acknowledge your emotions and book a therapy session online or in person. Organize this ahead of time and do not ignore the emotions before it becomes unmanageable.
- Journal your thoughts, write a love letter to yourself or mail a letter to yourself. The release of words is so powerful.
- Listen to light calm music.
- Get outside, move your body, take a break from screen time and take some baths.
- Engage in deep breathing techniques
- Make amends with friends and families. Pick your battles and recognize is this fight worth it?
- If things become unbearable, go to the CAMH emergency hospital. Located at 250 College Street and open 24 hours a day. Their number is 416-979-6885.
- Link to breathing strategies: