It’s holiday season. A time for families, relaxation, fun, and more. A good time. Or is it? For many people this time of year is associated with a range of wellness challenges, which can often derail the fun and even make for a pretty miserable time. Let’s look at some of the issues, and how we might address these…


It’s a time of year where we often come together to celebrate. This often involves big meals and many meals. The food choices are not really health-focussed are they? Many of us eat until we can eat no more. And then we do it again. And again. By the end of the holiday we’ve gained a good few kilos, and so we start the new year with a problem. Sound familiar? Well here are a few ideas to hep you combat this:

  • Plan. Give some thought to the challenge and what has happened in the past. Make a few clear plans about how you’ll do better this year. Write them down. Discuss them with your partner and or close-family. Simple planning really can make a difference.
  • Shop. If you do the holiday shopping try to make sure you include healthy choices as well as the usual treats (if you do not do the shopping, get involved somehow). Having healthy choices is key.
  • Smaller plates. Dish up less. Wait at least ten minutes before going back for seconds. These simple approaches will surprise you in how effective they are. And it’s really nice not to feel “stuffed to bursting” after a meal!

Sedentary season

The festive season is sometimes also the “sedentary season” where we spend lots and lots of time sitting down, watching TV, chatting with family & friends, relaxing. That’s all very well, and pretty understandable. But think about it. Is it not true that one of your excuses for not exercising is “no-time”? Is your holiday not a time when you have more time? Should it not then be an opportunity to get more active, do some training, and invest in your wellness? Would you not feel better if you did an hour or so of something-active most days of your holiday this year? Well, you can. We think you want to. We think you should. This is a choice you can make.


Holidays involve celebration and socialising. For many of that comes hand-in-hand with drinking. Nothing wrong with that – a drink or two can help us all to relax and we enjoy socialising that much more when we’re a bit relaxed. Fair enough. But for so many it goes a bit too far. One or two or three drinks so quickly becomes five or six or more. We say or do things we shouldn’t. We feel a bit rough the next day. Maybe it’s OK if it happens once over the holidays but for many it becomes almost a daily experience. We suggest that you think carefully about your own drinking and make some plans to moderate. If you don’t plan something different, you’re likely to fall into the same traps you did last year…


Money is tight. Almost nobody has as much as they’d like to have. This time of year is associated with huge marketing and social and family pressure to spend and spend and spend. Holidays, food, travel, drinks, presents, etc. You’ve lived this for years we’re sure. Consumerism is never more powerful than over the festive season. The result is a miserable start to the new year, with ever-increasing debts. Maybe it’s time to sit down and make some serious holiday-budget decisions. And stick to them. Financial freedom is real freedom and it starts with making some smart choices (not always easy choices, but smart choices). This might be a discussion for the whole family (…can we chat about gifts and realistic budgets please….).

Family conflict

Many of us will spend time with family over the holidays. Great. Well yes, sort-of, sometimes. The truth is that family relationships can be complex and often “blow-up” a bit over this time of year. The reasons can be complex and varied but essentially come down to spending a LOT of concentrated time with people you do not usually send so much time with. Unrealistic expectations (family fantasies) often add to this. There are things you can do to help here but perhaps the most practical advice it to take some me-time each day – exercise is often a great way to do this. It also helps to remember that your family is your family and you cannot change that (or them) – some tolerance and patience goes a long way.


Some people spend the holidays alone, some or all of the time. At the same time they see others having family time, socialising, etc. This can create or worsen depression and the holiday season is a peak time for suicides. Please:

  • Seek help if you feel lonely or depressed. Talk to family, your doctor, a psychologist, the company EAP, or whoever you feel can help. But talk to someone.
  • Look around you and see who might be alone this year (think about friends and colleagues and neighbours). Reach out to them and try to include them if you possibly can. This is a great time for acts of kindness towards those who may be alone.

The holiday season is an opportunity to relax, to recharge, to celebrate, to come together with loved ones, and more. But it can and often does come with a few challenges. A little forethought with some planning and care, can go a long way to making your holidays happy and healthy. We wish you well.