A message from Dr. Shannon McDonald, FNHA Chief Medical Officer
The weather outside may be frightful (unless you like the cold and snow), but I hope that you are able to safely enjoy the holidays in spite of that and other challenges. There is much to be grateful for, even if this year, like the last two years, may involve a lot less gathering and celebrating and a lot more staying home and getting cozy by the fire. (♪♫“Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!"♪♫)
The Christmas holidays are always a good time to reflect on the past year and count our blessings. Each of us has different blessings to count, of course, as well as different sorrows to overcome. Focusing on our blessings and being grateful for them actually lifts our spirits and improves our health and well-being, according to extensive research.
Gratitude helps us to appreciate what we have while we work towards what more we want or need, instead of feeling like we can't be happy until we have more. Gratitude not only helps us to be happier and healthier, it helps us to deal with hard times better, to build stronger relationships, and to feel connected. That's because when we are grateful for the good in our lives, we are acknowledging that there is a source of that good – that it is external and partially beyond our control. This recognition helps us connect to something outside ourselves, whether that is other people, nature, or a higher power/Creator – and these connections are proven to be good for our health and well-being.
One thing for which we can all be grateful is that we've seen the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking ahead to a much freer spring. For now, however, it's still the season for respiratory illnesses, so caution is the word of the day and we need to be careful about gathering, especially indoors.
Be safe, have some fun, and enjoy your holidays. Get outside and enjoy the gifts of winter. Take joy in the simple things, and try to relax!
Please remember to reach out if you need to, or to include in your celebrations (even if by phone or Zoom) those in your family or community who may be struggling. For ideas about how to help, see this message.
Support is Available 24 Hours a Day! Reach Out if You Need to!
If you are feeling distressed or are struggling, please reach out and ask for help if you need it. The First Nations Health Authority has mental health and wellness supports that you can access if you need additional supports.