Don't forget to take some time to yourself this holiday season.

Don't forget to take some time to yourself this holiday season.

The gift of relaxation

Allow yourself some time to rejuvenate before holiday burnout sets in

By Kristyl Clark

While the holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year for many, it is typically the most stressful.

There’s the added wallet-draining expenses, pressure to buy that ‘perfect’ gift, entertaining and festive decorating – now even more overwhelming thanks to Pinterest – to fret about it.

Rather than risk burning out and becoming a ‘Grinch’ before the fun and festivities even begin, one may want to consider springing for a gift of their very own. Come on, you know you deserve it.

For those who’d rather not deck the halls in a room with padded walls, consider any one of these stress busters an investment in your sanity this season.

Sail away

Wouldn’t you just love to escape the holiday hustle and bustle – even if it’s just for a day or two? Well, what’s stopping you? Only a quick ferry ride away, Tigh-Na-Mara offers the perfect mini-vacay to help you recharge your batteries.

Set in 22 acres of arbutus and fir forest just outside Parksville, this seaside resort offers direct access to three kilometers of sandy Rathtrevor Beach and a unique spa concept to help you relax and rejuvenate.

The 20,000-square-foot Grotto Spa – voted number one in Western Canada – is home to a host of signature treatments, including: body wraps, massages, manicures, pedicures and facials – many with a focus on natural West Coast ingredients.

You’ll be feeling as jolly as Old Saint Nick after a dip in the detoxifying mineral pool, which has been designed to emulate a natural-stone grotto. Afterwards, relaxation lounges await for fireside tranquility and endless tapas dining at the Treetop Tapas & Grill restaurant. For information about holiday packages, visit

Go walking in a winter wonderland

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to kick stress to the curb – and no, a lap around the mall isn’t going to cut it.

While you could hit the gym, perhaps it’s time to give yourself the gift of a new fitness experience this winter. If you can walk, you’ll have no problem snowshoeing. Dubbed the fastest-growing outdoor winter activity, snowshoeing is an affordable way to stay active and a great way to soak up B.C.’s breathtaking winter landscapes.

Unless there’s a sudden blizzard – unlikely in our neck of the West Coast woods – you may want to head to Grouse Mountain to give this popular winter sport a try. The mountain is known for its Munday Alpine Snowshoe Park – it’s so serene, you’ll feel as though you’re at the North Pole. And with four different groomed trails to choose from, you’ll discover something new each time you visit.

Find out more at

Say Om

The weather outside may be frightful, but doesn’t a little hot yoga sound rather delightful? Popularized in the early ’70s, Bikram Yoga is an effective way to melt all your holiday stress away – quite literally.

Participants bend it like Beckham in a room that’s been heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, which is proven to provide deeper stretching capabilities. In addition to stress relief, benefits include: injury prevention, tension relief – it’s also said to stimulate health to your organs, joints and muscles.

Having trouble staying focused on your big holiday ‘to-do’ list? Hot yoga is also known to improve clarity and concentration. Those deep-breathing techniques will sure come in handy when you find yourself vacuuming Christmas tree pine needles for the umpteenth time.

Where does one find hot yoga you ask? Bikram Yoga White Rock has a stunning studio with one of the most advanced heating systems available. Anti-microbial flooring and the ocean view will connect your sweaty body to a calm mind. Note: newbies have the chance to try out the class at a significantly reduced rate. Visit for details.

Let’s hear it for the boys

When it comes to relaxing spa treatments, why should girls have all the fun? Voted the Best Men’s Salon in the Peninsula by the Readers Choice Awards for four years in a row, MenZone Hair Co. in South Surrey has a variety of services that will help you beat the holiday blues. Tis’ the season for indulgence, which can result in unwanted acne – increased stress can also make those pesky pimples appear.

To stay in the clear zone, give yourself the gift of a men’s facial. After a steam, cleanse, exfoliation, masque, facial massage and moisturizer application, your face will be as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

You’ll also leave feeling and looking like a brand-new man – one who’s ready for whatever holiday hoopla is thrown in their direction. If glowing skin doesn’t convince you, they’ve also got two flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi to enjoy during your visit. Ho, ho, ho.

You are getting very sleepy

Close your eyes, listen to the sound of my voice and leave all your worries at the door – sound impossible? While skeptic Scrooges many think hypnotherapy is all just humbug, it is actually a safe and effective way to overcome issues in your life, alleviate stress and reach your personal goals.

Take Christmas shopping, for example. Do you have a tough time talking yourself down from making purchases you can’t afford? Hypnosis can help you make profound changes in thought patterns and may save you from the dreaded post-holiday debt that so many of us find ourselves stuck in.

Habitual eating, cravings and emotional eating can also rear its ugly head around the holidays.

After all, the holiday season is often jam-packed with  social gatherings, which can wreak havoc on one’s waistline. If you have a tough time turning down that second slice of Christmas cake or tempting canapés, hypnosis may be able to help.

Many turn to White Rock Hypnotherapy to get a hold of their destructive habits, including over-spending and over-eating. Visit for details.

Put your best face forward

The holiday season is a popular time for photographs – are you ready to throw yourself in the front of the flashbulbs and say ‘cheese’?

If the notion of having your picture taken is causing you to break out in hives, a trip to Rejuva in Langley may be just the ticket.

While it’s not your typical spa, you’re sure to leave feeling and looking like a million bucks.

The Medispa has selected state-of-the-art medical-grade equipment to deliver treatments with dramatic and lasting results. Added to this are pharmaceutical-grade skin care products and cosmetics to complete your personalized skin-care regime.

From Botox and fillers to microdermabrasion, chemical peels, skin tightening and much more,  Rejuva can help you turn back the hands of time – now that’s a gift you won’t find wrapped under the tree – unless of course you’re lucky to score a gift card from your sweetie.

For more information, visit

While it’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving, don’t forget to take care of numero uno. If you aren’t feeling great, it will be tough to keep up with all the upcoming festive fun and frolic. A self gift of relaxation and rejuvenation will ensure you have yourself a merry little Christmas.







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