Five Ways to Wellbeing during the holiday season

Are you expecting this Christmas to be stressful, either for you or someone you know?

More than half 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.

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

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

Connect (me whakawhanaunga)

  • 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)

‘Tis the season for giving, but many of us might be a bit strapped for cash at this time. One way to shake off the financial stress is by getting creative with the holiday spirit. Give the gift of time by offering to help with someone’s garden, babysit or make a gift from natural materials. You could also:

  • Give a smile to a stranger or a compliment to someone.
  • Do some Christmas arts and crafts. 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. A 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, breath in, breath 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)

There’s always something new to learn, especially when you’re interacting with nature.

  • 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 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 the zoo or botanical gardens.

Be active (me kori tonu)

Getting outside and exercising is good for your overall health and wellbeing!

  • Have a lunch break outside.
  • Take a walk with a friend in a park.
  • Design a treasure hunt for your friends and family.

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.

Source: Mental Health Foundation website.

Published on Saturday, November 9th, 2019, under News
Page last updated: 25/11/2019

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