A Toronto-based health professional has created nine holiday cards to help people opt out of holiday events and prioritize their wellness.
December is often described as “the most wonderful time of the year,” but it can also be the busiest.
“There is an overload — it’s overwhelming — trying to be able to get through the holidays by looking at all of these invitations… and not being able to make every single one of them,” said Julie Amar, a registered traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.
She constantly sees patients around this time of year who are worn out, overtired, stressed and battling various sicknesses.
“It’s because the end of the year, we’re actually supposed to be slowing down and hibernating. The winter months are about taking it easy, and instead, the end of the year, people are being encouraged to attend all these holiday parties and it’s draining their immune system.”
Over-committing yourself or attending every single holiday gathering can also lead to digestive issues, eating more sugar and drinking more alcohol, hangovers, stress and anxiety.
“My hope is that Canadians will be able to use these cards as a way to feel more empowered when it’s time to look at ways of opting out of going to these holidays celebrations. By saying yes to yourself, you’re saying no to others. But you’re also doing it with a little bit of humour,” Amar said.
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Amar says it’s not about being a Grinch; but giving yourself permission to gently decline some of those invitations.
“The goal of this campaign was to help make Canadians feel empowered when it comes to learning about the importance of taking care of their health and making wellness a priority.
“The more energy you can conserve for the holidays, that means you’ll have more energy for the new year.”
Evelyn Wentworth-Stanely, a patient of Amar’s, admits she used to always get sick over the holidays.
“Running from place to place and not actually being able to enjoy anything or be in the moment.”
She feels the cards are a cheeky way to say, “No thanks.”
“It’s a fun, humorous way to say to people that I’ve sort of reached a max and that it’s OK to decline and still be on good terms.”