Manage Holiday Stress

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but for many people it can also be a time of stress and anxiety. One major source of holiday stress is the pressure to meet the expectations of others, whether it’s the expectation to buy elaborate or expensive gifts, to host a perfect dinner party, or to keep a spotless home.

But it’s important to remember that these expectations are often self-imposed and not necessarily what others expect of us. Your friends and family are likely to be much more interested in spending time with you and enjoying your company than they are in the material things you provide.

So how can you manage holiday stress by not rising to what you believe others expect of you? Here are a few tips:

  1. Set boundaries and priorities: Decide what is most important to you and what you are willing and able to do, and then stick to those boundaries. Don’t feel obligated to do more than you are comfortable with or can afford.
  2. Don’t feel pressure to buy elaborate or expensive gifts: Remember that the thought and effort you put into a gift is often more meaningful than the cost. A homemade gift or a small token of appreciation can be just as meaningful as something more expensive.
  3. It’s okay to take shortcuts: It’s not necessary to cook an elaborate holiday feast from scratch or spend hours cleaning your home. Consider ordering take-out or asking friends and family to bring dishes to share. And remember, an untidy home is not the end of the world. Your loved ones will understand and appreciate the effort you put into hosting them, even if everything is not perfect.
  4. Practice self-care: Make sure to take care of yourself during the holiday season by getting enough sleep, eating well, and finding time to relax and recharge. This will help you stay calm and focused, and better able to handle any challenges that come your way.

There are also many ways that the community can help with holiday stresses:

  1. Support each other: Offer to help out with tasks such as gift shopping, cooking, or cleaning for those who are feeling overwhelmed.
  2. Share resources: If you have extra resources such as food, gifts, or decorations, consider sharing them with others in the community who may be in need.
  3. Offer a listening ear: If someone is struggling with holiday stress, offer to listen and provide support. Sometimes simply having someone to talk to can make a big difference.
  4. Host events: Consider organizing a community holiday event, such as a potluck or gift exchange, to bring people together and provide a sense of community and connection.
  5. Get involved in volunteering: Participating in volunteer activities can be a great way to give back to the community and provide a sense of purpose and meaning during the holiday season.

By working together and supporting each other, communities can help alleviate holiday stress and create a more enjoyable and positive holiday experience for everyone. Remember that the most important thing is to be present and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Your friends and family will remember your smile, warmth, and relaxed disposition before they remember any of the other stuff.

If cooking a Holiday dinner stresses you out, Councillor Riley Brockington is excited to host a special River Ward Holiday Dinner event on December 22, 2022. This event is an opportunity to come together and celebrate the holiday season with your friends and community. There will also be musical entertainment from Johnny Vegas!

In the spirit of giving, Councillor Brockington is also collecting non-perishable food items to be donated to The Ottawa Food Bank. If you’d like to contribute, please bring along any non-perishable items you’d like to donate.

Seating is limited for this event, so be sure to RSVP to Courtney McRury at to reserve your spot. Don’t miss out on this festive and fun holiday celebration!

Hazardous Driving in Hunt Club

Dangerous speeds were recorded each day by the Uplands Drive radar speed sign in 2020. Four in every hundred vehicles exceeded 60 Km/hr.

The chart shows the daily maximum values. Over the year the average highest daily speed was 82 Km/hr.  On 23 days reckless drivers blew past at twice the speed limit—that’s stunt driving under the Highway Traffic Act, penalties for which include 6 demerit points, a fine of $2,000 to $10,000 and other penalties.

What was the irresponsible person recorded at 130 Km/hr on 5 July thinking? We don’t know who it was, what they were driving and under what conditions, only that they were being extremely reckless. The radar speed board does not have a camera so, short of someone with miraculous investigative powers, we’ll never know.

There’s more to dangerous driving than exceeding the speed limit. If you’ve ever slid across an intersection or off the road during freezing rain you know how hazardous it can be. City traffic statistics show accidents are over four times as likely during freezing rain events.

Black ice is deceptive, occurring when water vapour in the air freezes directly onto a cold surface —that’s why there are warnings about ice on the road surface of bridges, especially those over water where humidity is higher. Watch out for cold clear nights when the temperature drops rapidly. Still not convinced of the danger? Check out “black ice” videos on YouTube.

Combining radar speed and weather data shows that each additional centimetre of snow recorded increases adherence to the speed limit by 1 percent. Snow also marginally reduces traffic volume on Uplands. On cold winter days, traffic moves on average a bit more slowly.

Overall the data show a large majority of drivers on Uplands drive within the speed limit, Three-quarters of all vehicles approach the sign within the 50 Km/hr speed limit, and 85 percent travel at less than 53 Km/hr. A few recklessly ignore it. Keep yourself and others safe by observing speed limits, slowing down and being extra careful in adverse weather.

A photo radar pilot project is now underway at nine school locations, none of them in Hunt Club. Given these findings, should the City extend the project to other locations to deter and catch dangerous drivers?


Councillor’s Corner

Dear Hunt Club Neighbours,

My office continues to field a number of questions about COVID vaccines. The combined efforts of Ottawa Public Health and the City of Ottawa are leading the local vaccination campaign.

Starting the first week of March, vaccinations began for those 80+ or adults with chronic home care needs, who live in 7 at-risk neighbourhoods.  Priority will be given to these adults in other high risk neighbourhoods, where the prevalence of COVID is significantly higher than other neighbourhoods.   A section of our community, classified in the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study, as “Hunt Club East – Western Community” will be identified as a priority community and should be called on soon.

Once the priority, at-risk neighbourhoods are vaccinated, a general call across Ottawa will be made for all 80+ year olds and adults living at home and receiving chronic home care.

Thank-you for your patience, we are almost there.  Once the 80+ cohort is vaccinated, the next cohort, 75+ will be called, descending by age to the next cohorts.   Ottawa Public Health is using age as the most pressing criteria to prioritize vaccinations within the general population, as data clearly indicates that older adults have a more serious chance of death or hospitalization if they acquire COVID.

Please visit the Ottawa Public Health website at for updates on when the next communities and/or age groups will be called upon.

If you have not yet registered, please subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter, by contacting my office.


Riley Brockington

City Councillor, River Ward


Pen Pals to Seniors

The seniors at a nearby residence have been feeling isolated during the pandemic. Family and friends have not been able to visit very much and outings have been restricted.

In February, HCCA’s  Valentine’s for Seniors initiative was embraced with much excitement, as staff handed out the cards dropped off by our wonderful community neighbours.

“We passed (the cards) out on Sunday during lunch time and everyone was so excited and felt special receiving so many cards. It really meant a lot. One of our residents actually wanted to know if she could write a letter back to them to thank them personally?”
— Danielle Barnard, Retirement Living Consultant, Chartwell Bridlewood Retirement Residence.

The HCCA has coordinated again with the residence to initiate a Pen-Pal Program with our community.

Would you like to be a penpal for a lonely senior? 
To begin, please mail the following information for the staff at the retirement residence, and they will match you to a senior. 1) Your name, 2) address, 3) describe your hobbies and interests.

Please mail or drop off a letter to

Re: Pen-Pals to Seniors
Chartwell Bridlewood Retirement Residence
3998 Bridlepath Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, K1T 4H4

Community is about connections.
Let’s help each other!


Covid’s Silver Linings

Moving into our fourth month of the COVID calamity, we are all adjusting as best as we can to this current reality. It has not been easy and continues to uproot us from all that was previously known as ‘normal’. Some interesting other observations that I have made over the last several weeks:

  • people never seen before in the neighbourhood, out for daily walks
  • so many children, running, yelling, laughing, playing outdoors with balls, skipping ropes, on bicycles, skateboards, inline skates, trampolines, in backyard tents
  • impromptu singing with or without musical instruments out on the street and in backyards
  • spontaneous gatherings of neighbours (10 max!) in housing project courtyards, home driveways, backyards, even in garages transformed into living rooms
  • cyclists enjoying the safety and freedom from cars on the roads
  • nature breathing a sigh of relief from air, water and land pollution
    the sudden realization that EVERY job has value and people showing appreciation for workers everywhere
  • people connecting with each other more than ever before and discovering shared interests
  • more people gardening than ever before
  • people discovering the joy of baking their own bread and the pleasure of other baking and cooking
  • people reading more than ever
  • people learning all kinds of new skills in different areas
    more kindnesses freely shared among family, neighbours and strangers
  • people taking the time to reflect on what really matters
  • people realizing that maybe we don’t need a lot of the ‘stuff’ and ‘practices’ to which we had become accustomed

Maybe this is an opportunity to rethink how we’ve been ‘doing things’.