December 01, 2020

The end of the year is a traditional time to slow down and take a break. Winter solstice has always been a time to just breathe; it's a time to take stock of our lives. And if there's been any year where we need to have a break, it's been 2020. The holidays bring on a certain level of stress, and in a typical year, it's hard to combat. Many find this time of year stressful, with high levels of anxiety and depression at Christmas. But with an unprecedented time, this year comes with a silver lining (or two). 

1) Family first

Each year during the holidays, we are stuck in a string of commitments. Attending those parties can be fun but challenging as you try to find a balance between seeing your loved ones and maintaining your sanity. This year, that decision is already made for you. You have to spend your time with your "safe six" or just your immediate household. You can enjoy your small traditions at home or find alternatives to safely meeting with others. Maybe you spend a night travelling around your neighbourhood and looking at the Christmas lights; maybe you take up a winter activity such as snowshoeing or skiing. Whatever you choose to do, this isn't a year for large parties, and you can focus on spending more time with the people who matter most.

2) Return to the basics

Many of us also get stuck in trying to do all of the things, including baking the most cookies and buying more and more presents. Keeping up with your peers can put people into debt, and it's already been a financially straining year. Instead, focus on the things you need to buy and ignore the rest. With more time stuck at home, consider making your own gifts and cards. Buy presents only for your immediate family and friends, or think about donating to a local organization during a time when others may need that money more.

3) Focus on your health

The turkey, the cookies, the chocolate, and the drinks are all delicious. It's not only enjoyable but also essential to indulge a bit during the holidays. However, it can take a toll on our overall health. This year, because we won't be taking part in large parties, we can focus on taking a balanced approach to our health. It means choosing special moments to enjoy our holiday favourites and imbibing in spirits. There are plenty of non-alcoholic options that you can try, including those from craft brewers. For example, Upstreet Craft Brewing from P.E.I. recently released a non-alcoholic beer called Libra that you could switch out while enjoying your brews. This isn't to say you shouldn't enjoy yourself during the holidays; instead, think of this as choosing certain moments to indulge in and making those times extra special.

4) Accept things won't be perfect.

If this year has taught us anything, it's that we can't predict what will happen--and that's ok. We all try to plan for the perfect holiday season, both for ourselves and our loved ones, but that just isn't possible. This year, accept that things aren't going to be perfect, and that's ok. As mentioned, this is a year for returning to the basics and enjoying the small things in life. You will have time to enjoy life around you and the people in your lives. After all, that's what the holiday season is all about.