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November 20, 2015

Holiday Helpfuls

‘Tis the season to be…sick and stressed? The time around Thanksgiving and Christmas are a magical mix of memories, traditions, loved ones and joy. Or, at least they are supposed to be. It seems every year, each more than the last, this season of spending time with loved ones, enjoying holiday treats and making memories is fraught with stress and illness. Here are some suggestions to avoid the stress and enjoy more time with family and friends.

Stress is a major cause and amplifier of a myriad of diseases and conditions. It can raise blood pressure, increase episodes of insomnia and sleep disturbances and steal the joy from moments meant to be cherished. Try planning simple get-togethers and meals, rather than lavish celebrations (unless you have tons of free time and are a Martha Stewart clone!) Simple food and the time to actually enjoy your time with guests will go a long way in relieving the stress that comes from planning and executing large gatherings.

Get enough sleep! Lack of sleep may cause you to be more of a Grinch than a holly, jolly host(ess). Adequate sleep is needed to help your mind and body recover from stress and will help improve mood and energy levels. If you are grouchy, you won’t enjoy the time with spent with loved ones. It can also contribute to lower immunities and make it easier to catch colds or the flu.

If you smoke, quit! If your guests smoke, encourage them to quit. Use this time that revolves around togetherness to encourage one another and support a smoke free lifestyle. Everybody benefits from kicking the tobacco habit.

Place bottles of hand sanitizer gel and tissue boxes throughout your living spaces for easy access and frequently remind little ones to use them. You can reduce the exposure to germs by offering small bowls with utensils as an alternative to “community” dips and appetizers. Offering snacks like fresh fruit and cut vegetables with a healthy dip will help everybody make good food choices.

Outdoor activity can address all of these issues. Getting active will help reduce stress, encourage good sleep, increase immunity, burn off calories, lower cravings for nicotine, and keep little ones from going stir crazy and driving the adults crazy! Plan some outdoor activities like touch football or a local hike to avoid the post-turkey snooze fest.

We hope that you have a wonderful, fun-filled, stress-free, happy and safe holiday season!