Tips for reducing stress this Christmas

8 Nov, 2019

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

Over a quarter of all New Zealanders – 29 percent – feel added financial and social stresses during the festive season. For some of us, the pressure is on to create a magical day for our tamariki and whānau. For others, the Kirihimete period can increase loneliness and hardship, 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. It’s one of our Five Ways to Wellbeing – simple things we can all do to feel great.

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Some cost-friendly ways we can give during the Kirihimete season are:

  • Taking friends or whānau to look at Christmas lights. There were 232 lit-up houses in Aotearoa last year! 
  • Spending quality time with whānau doing things you all enjoy.
  • Heading along to listen to Christmas carols.
  • Making 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.
  • Visiting people/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, as Tokoroa woman Candace Enosa and her two daughters found!

Some ways to reduce stress for you, whānau and others around you, are:

  • Spending 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).
  • Buying food on special ahead of season, when prices are lower. We find buying kai early can also help manage our Christmas budgets.
  • Finding time to recharge. Thousands of Kiwis celebrated this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week by being active, learning, giving, connecting and taking notice. Our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages are full of tips for recharging and finding calm!

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

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.

Arohanui to you and your whānau,
The Mental Health Foundation team