In the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations, self-care and mental health often get left off the holiday checklist. 

The team over at Fresh Start in Swift Current are reminding everyone to set aside some time to check in with themselves this season.

Erin Fenwick, a counsellor for the non-profit, said a number of things can attribute to a heavier presence of stress, anxiety, and depression around this time. 

"People are feeling like there's expectations of how they should feel and what they should be able to be doing," Fenwick said. "Sometimes it doesn't work the way that we want it to, right? It's the happy time of year and people are supposed to be enjoying themselves and seeing their family, and not everybody can for various reasons. I think you see a lot of people feeling very financially overwhelmed and a lot of loneliness."

Some advice she shared for those who are struggling include: keeping in touch with friends and family; remembering self-care basics such as eating and sleeping; and dedicating time for fun and relaxation. 

"Part of it is just not putting too much pressure on yourself and being okay to just take some downtime," she detailed. "[Accepting that] maybe you do need a little bit of time for yourself, and you do need to take a break and that you aren't feeling the way that you'd like to–and knowing that that's okay, too.

"If you are finding yourself overwhelmed, remember that you don't have to do things alone. There are services available. There are people who care. There's always someone available to listen. Things will get better, and in the meantime, there is the support available to help you along the way."

The Southwest Crisis Services number is 1 800 567 3334.

Canada’s Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1 833 456 4566 to call, or 645 to text.

Fresh Start Swift Current's number is 773 8168 and offers free counselling services to anyone who needs it, in a safe and supportive setting. They resume operations on January 3, located at 214 1 Avenue Northeast.