As we enter the holiday season, it’s important to remember to prioritize our well-being and embrace the joy that this time of year brings. 

So often, instead of joy, holidays become a time of increased stress and expectations.

Good news? We can choose joy. We can also choose to take care of ourselves.

To cultivate joy, I’d like to share three things I try to focus on – all ideas promoted by the Planet Youth campaign:

Practice Gratitude. Take a moment each day to reflect on what you are grateful for. Instead of focusing attention on what you want, focus attention on what you have. We all have something. Whether it’s the presence of loved ones, good health, or the warmth of a cozy home, expressing gratitude helps shift our focus to the positive aspects of our lives.

I am grateful for so many things, including the opportunity to work in such an amazing community. I’m thrilled with the successes we’ve had with Planet Youth so far, including the launch of our own Gratitude & Kindness Campaign, and our peer-to-peer mental health and suicide prevention program HOPE Squad. For all of this, I’m so so grateful.

Prioritize YOU: Amidst the hustle and bustle, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care. Set aside time for activities that rejuvenate and nourish your soul. Things that YOU love. Whether it’s reading a book, sipping hot tea, or going for a walk in nature, make self-care a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.

For me, nothing warms my soul like a hot bath or an award-winning singing performance from center stage, in the shower.  When free time is hard to come by, the simple moments of indulging in joy refill my cup and remind me of my strength. 

Connect: The holiday season is a time to strengthen bonds with family and friends. Plan special activities, engage in meaningful conversations, and create lasting memories together. Surrounding ourselves with loved ones who uplift and support us is one of the most important things we can do.

This year I am looking forward to sharing the wonder of Christmas with my daughter.  This will be the first year she can truly understand the magic of it all!

Cultivating joy and well-being is a journey unique to each of us. Let’s embrace this holiday season with open hearts and minds, spreading kindness, love, and joy wherever we go.

Together, we can create a community that supports and uplifts one another.

Wishing you a joyful and peaceful holiday season filled with love, laughter, health & JOY!


Warm regards,

Patty Giardina 

Executive Director, Youth Advocacy Coalition