Pathways to Wellness

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Holiday Happiness

The joy of the holiday season can be overshadowed by stress or the feeling of high expectations. We can have the financial stress of purchasing gifts or become physically and mentally exhausted from the busyness of decorating, cooking and planning events. The holidays can also be a time of loneliness and saddness for some who may have lost a loved one or find themselves alone over the holidays.

Below are some tips and ideas to help reduce the stress that can arise at this time of year.

Financial $tress

Purchasing Christmas gifts can be tough on the pocketbook. And if you are already having trouble making ends meet, this time of year can be stressful. Here are some tips for reducing the financial stress of Christmas gifts:

  • Make a list of who you need to buy for, jot down ideas and your budget for each person.
  • Cut down on the number of people you give gifts to - buy presents only for the children or draw names.
  • Set a dollar limit on the cost of presents with your relatives and friends.
  • Cook or make home-made gifts.
  • Give gifts of your time - babysitting or snow shovelling.
  • Give fun experiences instead of more "stuff" - e.g. dinner at your house or coffee/tea after an afternoon walk or ski.
  • Make a donation to your friend or relative's favorite cause.
  • Regift a few of your favourite books.
  • Make a CD or play list of your friends favourite songs (downloaded legally - of course!)
  • Make a plan for next year - set aside a little money each month so you have some extra money for gifts at this time of year.

Finally, remember to keep focused on what matters most - time with family and friends. Giving your time, gratitude and love is priceless! Read more about increasing your happiness under our sections: Being Grateful and 3 Good Things.

Simplify Christmas and Look After Yourself

The holiday season can create high expectations. Go easy on yourself:

  • Simplify - you don't have to go all-out on food, decorations, gifts and parties.
  • Keep focused on what matters most - time spent with family and friends.
  • Do small acts of kindness as gifts for neighbours, friends or strangers (shovel a walk, plug a parking meter, brush snow off a strangers car window, or buy a coffee for the person behind you in line). Watch how West Jet employees did random acts of kindness for Christmas this year, and how it made both the givers and receivers feel great. A win-win for both!
  • Make a point of appreciating the good in your life.
  • Eat and drink in moderation, be physically active and get lots of sleep.

Learn more about how to de-stress and look after yoursel in our sections: Relaxation and Stress, Mindfulness and De-stress Your Thinking.

Alone or looking for something to do this Christmas?

The Christmas season can be a difficult time if you are alone, but it can also be a good time to build new and creative traditions and connect with your community in a new or different way.
  • Ask co-workers or neighbours over for brunch, dinner or coffee.
  • Do something new – join the Christmas Bird Count on Boxing Day held in many Yukon communities.
  • Organize a pot-luck meal for folks who may be alone over the holidays.
  • Volunteer over the holidays at a community organization such as a food bank or the Salvation Army.
  • Inquire about church services or community meal being held over the holidays.
  • Consider making a donation to a local family in need (such as through Share the Spirit or by stopping by the Bank of Montreal’s “Angel Tree”).
  • Set up a phone or “Skype” date to have a chat with out-of-town family.
  • Inquire about fostering an animal from your local animal shelter, which may have to close during the holidays.
  • Find a way to remember and acknowledge those who aren’t with you this Christmas. Hospice Yukon has a wealth of information on their website. The Lights of Life event is also running from December 15 to 22. They will be closed starting at 3pm on December 23, and will re-open at 11:30am on Monday, January 4.
  • Look after yourself – eat and drink in moderation, be physically active and get enough sleep.
If you need support or someone to talk to over the holidays, contact the Yukon Distress & Support Line at 1-844-533-3030 (open 7pm to midnight, 7 days a week). Some insightful reading can be found in our sections on Five ways to Well-Being, the Roots of Happiness and Mental Health and "Lifestyle.".  

More reading:

Check out the entire Flourishing section on our Pathways to Wellness website.

The Greater Good Website also has great articles on :