Every year when the holidays roll around, the spiral of pressure, celebration, excess and expectation begins. It’s a stressful time of year. There are deadlines to be met — both personal and professional.  More things to buy, food to prepare, events to go to. Just more of everything. And each year, it seems to begin a little earlier.


While you would think that this would give you more time to get everything done, the reality is that it just seems to extend the season of stress. And no matter how diligently you try to approach the holidays, the reality is that there is “just one more” present to buy or thing to do until it’s over — and then you barely remember what happened.

This season, I’ve committed to taking a few minutes to focus on what’s really important to me. And really, that’s about remembering and celebrating what I’m thankful for. And this is what I’ll try to keep in mind over the next week or so:

  • Having two amazing kids. My kids aren’t perfect by any means. But at the end of the day, they are pretty amazing: reasonably polite and personable, moderately successful in their efforts and somewhat helpful most of the time. They’re also pretty funny, which means a lot, especially when everyone’s home for the holidays. 

  • A husband who “gets” my job and supports me. I can’t say enough how much it means to have someone who understands business travel, evening commitments and working at home or on holiday. And who doesn’t give me a hard time about it. That understanding and support is priceless.

  • Friends and family. Instead of thinking about the driving and transporting of parcels and meals that we’ll be doing, I’m focusing on how great it is to have so many friends and family members to celebrate with. We have a lot of traditional activities and visits that we do every year, and thinking about spending that time with people I care about instead of the logistics makes it a blessing instead of a curse.

  • Working in an industry that matters. Where people care and do business for the right reasons.  Ours is an industry that truly thrives on innovation and care — for people, for the world and for better health. It’s inspiring and motivating to think about this industry every day.

  • Having first world problems. Living in Canada, there is so much to be thankful for. While there is always room for improvement, when you look around the world, we are very fortunate to be living in the country we do.

Over the holidays, I encourage you to take a few minutes to reflect and think about all you’re thankful for, and to focus on those wonderful moments and memories you’ll be sharing with the people you love.

Merry Christmas and all the very best for a 2017 that’s full of health and happiness.


Emily Arsenault