Mental health co-champions’ message: Maintaining mental well-being during the holidays

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The holiday season is a time for connecting with family and friends, and celebrating with traditions and gatherings. As your Defence Team Mental Health Co-Champions, we know the holiday season can be a busy time with so much to do, and it can feel overwhelming for some.

There are many ways you can take care of your mental health to help reduce the stress of the season:

  • Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events.
  • Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend.
  • Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
  • Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities.
  • Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.
  • Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do.

It is important to remember that there are always services and supports available to the entire DND family. For civilian members, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Peer Referral Service, as well as the LifeSpeak Application are available.

For military members, the Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (CFMAP) is available 24/7 by phone. Additionally, there are CAF programs and services available on the You’re Not Alone web page. Both civilian and military members can access immediate assistance by calling 1-800-268-7708 or 1-800-567-5803 (for the hearing impaired).

As Mental Health Co-Champions, ensuring that Defence Team members have access to the best resources and tools is not only our goal, but our priority. Rest, relax, unplug and enjoy the things that bring you joy this holiday season. Take care of yourselves, your family, and friends.

Enjoy all the season has to offer.

Jody Thomas
Deputy Minister

Lieutenant General J .A. J. Parent
Acting Vice Chief of the Defence Staff

Jerry Ryan
President of the Federal Government Dockyard Trade and Labour Council East

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