Five Ways to Wellbeing during the holiday season

Two pairs of jandals stuck upright in a pile of sand.Are you expecting this Christmas to be stressful, either for you or someone you know?

More than a quarter of all New Zealanders feel added financial and social stresses during the festive season. The pressure is on some of us to create a magical day for our tamariki and whānau. The Kirihimete period can increase loneliness and hardship for others, with limited access to kai, transport and other services.

Try to keep in mind that the true gift of the season is our presence, not our presents.

Giving our time, our words and our presence makes others feel great, but it also lifts our own mood and makes us feel our lives have more meaning.

Christmas can be stressful – but it doesn’t have to be

Here are some ways to reduce stress for you, whānau and others around you…

  • Spend time in nature. Over summer the pōhutukawa blossom, the sun shines more, and the days are longer. Taking a walk through the ngahere (bush), throwing the ball around with your tamariki, going to the beach or planting vegetable seeds are some great ways to connect with taiao (the environment).
  • Buy food on special ahead of season, when prices are lower. Buying kai early can also help manage the Christmas budget.
  • Find time to recharge.

Call or text 1737 If you ever feel Christmas pressure is affecting your or someone else’s mental health. You don’t need to keep it to yourself – their trained counsellors are always on hand to help.

Share the love with a kindness advent calendar

We can lose track of what it’s really about with all the hype around Christmas.

The Sparklers team have created this DIY kindness advent calendar to help share the kindness everyday up until Christmas. It’s full of mini missions to help everyone spread some true Christmas joy.

Five Ways to Wellbeing: Simple things we can do to feel great

Connect (me whakawhanaunga)

Spend time really connecting with your whanāu each day. If you haven’t seen them in a while, stop and ask them how their year has been, how they’ve handled things etc.

  • Make some time in your day to connect with nature – stretch your legs outside or bring the outside in.
  • Go barefoot and feel the grass or sand between your toes.
  • Go for a swim in the sun.
  • Find a photo of the natural world and make it your screen saver, or adopt a potted plant.
  • Reach out to people you know – Skype them, call or Facebook them, or meet face to face.
  • Take some time to read the local newspaper or newsletter to see what’s going on in your area, such as an organised group outing, musical or cultural performance or community Christmas event.
  • Take friends or whānau to look at Christmas lights.
  • Spend quality time with whānau doing things you all enjoy.
  • Head along to listen to Christmas carols.

Give (tukua)

Giving is huge at Christmas time but it’s also expensive. One way to shake off the financial stress is by getting creative with the holiday spirit. You could also focus on giving kindness, your time, or your presence – it’s a present in itself!

  • Give a smile to a stranger or a compliment to someone.
  • Give the gift of time by offering to help with someone’s garden or babysit.
  • Do some Christmas arts and crafts. Make a gift from natural materials. Bake seasonal treats to give away as presents, create decorations or reduce your card costs! Crafts are a great way to get tamariki involved in the festive spirit.
  • Donate some old toys, books or clothes to someone who might need some kindness.
  • Visit people or whānau in your community who may be a little lonely over the festive season. Rest homes and animal shelters value companionship and Christmas cheer. Random acts of kindness also do the trick!

Take notice (me aro tonu)

Every day seems to get busier and the spirit of the season can get lost in the hassle and bustle of each day. Pay attention to the special moments throughout your break or nice interactions at work. Practise mindfulness and savour the good moments.

Another good antidote is to take some time to learn more about what your body is telling you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted – pause, breathe in, breathe out. You could also:

  • Take notice of the pohutukawa flowers changing, or the night sky.
  • Go somewhere you’ve always been meaning to visit in your local area.

Keep learning (me ako tonu)

Seek out new experiences or try something new this festive season – as learning is good for the brain!

  • Read up on what fruit and veggies are in season, or learn about what natural resources you have in your backyard.
  • You really can learn something new each day – share or learn stories with your family, go on a bush walk, learn about the natural environment from your tablet or local library, or take a trip to a zoo or the botanical gardens.
  • Make a new year’s resolution to learn a new language.

Be active (me kori tonu)

Getting outside and exercising is good for your overall health and wellbeing, It is especially important while we’re indulging in so much delicious food!

  • Have a lunch break outside.
  • Design a treasure hunt for your friends and family.
  • Get the whanāu out and play some games at the beach or on the lawn.
  • Go for a run or walk – on your own, with a friend or your whānau.
  • Take the dog for a walk.

There are ways to bring activity into all you do – by using the stairs instead of the elevator, getting off the bus one stop earlier, or catching up with a friend for a walk instead of a coffee.

Adapted from: Mental Health Foundation website media releases (2017 and 2018).

Published on Friday, November 27th, 2020, under Uncategorised
Page last updated: 29/03/2021

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