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It’s the holiday season! The most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it? Where is it?

I believe the original intention for the holiday season was to:

• Give joy and love.

• Take time off work to spend time with family and friends.

• Remember the past year and plan some good times for the year ahead.

• Be charitable to those less fortunate.

• Please be indulgent so that we can make a fresh start.

• Practice traditions (religious or other).

• And yes, offer small gifts within the limits of our capacities.

For many people, however, the holidays are not full of joy. There can be additional financial stress when trying to purchase gifts for family and friends who are not within our financial means. This focus on the gift is an unfortunate aspect of our modern culture that is not necessary, healthy, or necessary, to express love and appreciation during the holidays. A lot of people also feel lonely while on vacation, especially if they don’t have a spouse, partner, or kids at home. People who are actively trying to eat healthier and manage their weight may experience setbacks due to the abundance of holiday festivities and goodies. They can eat more high-calorie treats and exercise less while on vacation.

We can bring back the true holiday spirit by incorporating some self-care tips! We can set our own priorities for what the holidays will be like for us personally, including incorporating a balance between buying gifts and treats while staying within our financial means and making our health a priority. .

Let’s talk about gifts. First of all, gifts don’t have to cost money. You can volunteer time (a special dinner or a walk), donate talents (baking, homemade cards, hand-sewn items), volunteer work (at your school, church or community organization) and yes you can. gift an item that costs money as long as it is within your financial means (no debt or stress). It is important to give yourself too. Again, it doesn’t have to cost any money. You can take a few days off and just stay home doing things you love (stay in Maui).

It is important to connect with those you love, especially during the holidays, even if your loved ones are not nearby. One thing we learned during COVID is that we don’t have to be in the same geographic area to connect. So take the time to connect with others. Host a Happy Hour in person or with Zoom, remember the past, get together for a walk or a movie, make plans for the coming year, laugh!

It’s important to balance taking care of your physical health while on vacation, continuing to eat healthy foods, exercise, and get enough rest, while enjoying special treats in moderation. Life is meant to be enjoyed, right? So do not deprive yourself of it. Use your balance to enjoy a few treats while maintaining your physical health. Set your health priorities and decide how often and how many treats you’ll enjoy. A small treat a day or a bigger treat each week, then continue your health practices by eating fruits and vegetables, moving your body the way you like it, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep.

Take care of your mind and your emotions as well. Talk kindly to yourself! Your words to yourself matter. One of my favorite phrases is “I have enough.” Breathe deeply into your belly for several minutes several times a day. This type of breathing supplies every part of your body and brain with oxygen, so your body can relax and your brain can think clearly and stay calm. Focus on whatever you’re grateful for (your house, the food to eat, your health, your good friends). These are the real gifts, right?

Finally, know who to call or text when the need arises, whether it’s for yourself, a friend, or even a stranger. You can call Hawaii Cares at (800) 753-6879 or text Crisis Text Line by sending ALOHA to 741741.

Bring back the holiday cheer your way! Start by setting your priorities for the holidays and include a balance of gifts and treats while focusing on your physical and mental well-being. Happy Holidays!

* Kristin Mills is a public health educator in the Maui District Health Unit of the state Department of Health.

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