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4 tips for finding joy over the holidays | Health & Wellness Services

Lean into your support systems

Complicated family dynamics, busy schedules and overall stress can make it hard to navigate the holidays on your own. That’s why it’s important to lean into your support systems. Reaching out to those we love the most during this time can strengthen our relationships, provide mutual support and create opportunities for meaningful time together.

Here are some ideas of how you can lean in:

  • Delegate responsibilities when it comes to hosting guests, preparing meals and cleaning up after the holidays. 
  • Consider hosting a potluck or pitch in for a catered meal to help ease the burden of cooking (and cleaning up) a whole holiday meal by yourself.
  • Opt for experiential gifts over material items. For instance, you can get tickets or gift certificates to enjoy a concert, museum, class or restaurant with family members or friends.
  • Come together to share holiday traditions and share why they’re important to you or your family. You can also use this time to brainstorm and make new traditions.
  • If you’re in debt or your budget is tight this year, it can help to let family members or friends know that you’re not in the financial position to give elaborate gifts this year. This can also give family members or friends the opportunity to share their own struggles. You can also come up with low-budget options together to meet everyone’s needs.

Let your inner child out

Do you have fond memories of traditions or winter fun from your childhood? This year, take some time to let your inner child out. Engaging in play can be a great way to relieve stress, bring laughter into your life and find new sources of joy.

Here are some ideas you can try:

  • Go ice skating or sledding
  • Play childhood games like tag
  • Enjoy a simple scavenger hunt 
  • Dig out the board games
  • Create globes of ice by blowing bubbles in cold weather
  • Build a snow fort or maze
  • Have snowball fight
  • Build a snowman or lay down to make snow angel

Honor those who aren’t here

If someone you love has passed away, the holidays can bring a mix of emotions. Allow yourself to not only feel your grief but cherish the fond memories you’ve made together. 

Here are some ways to handle grief during the holidays:

  • Talk about the person and what you miss most about them.
  • Share funny stories or memories that you have of them.
  • Honor that person by hosting a small vigil, visiting their grave site or going to their favorite place in town.
  • Create traditions around the holidays that make it feel like they are remembered and included. 
  • Seek support from family, friends or professional services.


If you’re struggling this holiday season, be sure to connect with resources on and off campus.

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