Staying Healthy for the Holidays
The holidays can be a joyous and happy time of the year, a time of celebration. Holidays can also be a time of increased stress, fatigue and sadness. Before the holiday preparation and celebrations become overwhelming, I would like to suggest a few moments of introspection. What happened during the last year that made you happy or sad or thankful? Were there times of emotional or physical pain? What are your expectations for the coming holidays?
As the year begins to wind down and the cold and snow of winter descends on us, look upon this time as an opportunity to review the events of the past year, set goals (personal or professional) for next year and plan for making the holidays healthy and enjoyable. Here are some guidelines to consider:
– Expectations: We tend to think of the holidays in terms of Norman Rockwell paintings. Everyone seems to be having such a good time that we set unrealistic expectations on ourselves and our families. We overspend our time, money and effort to make our holidays live up to these expectations. Simplifying can make this time a little easier: fewer gifts, fewer parties or engagements and more time with family doing something together whether it is baking cookies or playing a game.
– Moderation: There are so many temptations this time of the year that we lose sight of what we eat and drink. Excessive alcohol consumption and too much rich food makes us feel sluggish, puts on unwanted weight and causes guilty feelings. Choose your calories carefully. Just because something is put in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat and you won’t have the desire to snack on all those holiday cookies. Too many holiday goodies in the house? Leave some out and put the rest in the freezer, decreasing the temptation to snack while keeping all those goodies nice and fresh. Limit your alcohol consumption and remember that eggnog packs a lot of calories. Drink lots of water (hot, cold, or carbonated).
– Stress: This is a stressful time of year, period. In addition to the holidays, we experience decreased sunlight, colder temperatures and decreased outdoor activity while artificial heating dries out our skin and mucus membranes. As a result we may experience depression, a sense of being “cooped up” (“ cabin fever”), or increases in colds and flu.
–Healthy Hints: – Let go of perfection, we can’t all be Martha Stewart.
– Get plenty of rest; try and go to bed around the same time every night.
– Drink plenty of water, stay hydrated.
– Enjoy fresh air every day.
– Eat plenty of fresh local vegetables such as roasted squash, carrots, apples and
pears which can strengthen the immune system.
– Spend at least 15 minutes a day in the sunshine to recharge your batteries and
help your body produce vitamin D.
– Get some exercise every day (30 minutes/day can strengthens your immune
– Give a hug to someone you care about.
– Perform random acts of kindness (sounds hokey but works).
– Get acupuncture – a non-drug way to handle stress, cravings and promote
– Laugh (the Chinese believe that laughter massages the internal organs).
– Enjoy the holidays!
The Perfect Gift:
This is the season of giving and what could be a better gift than an acupuncture treatment (stress reduction, relaxation and balancing) or the gift of facial cupping? Facial cupping not only relaxes the muscles of the face but also tones the skin resulting in fresher and younger look with eyes looking bright. Gift certificates are always the right color and size, and are now available in the office by calling, texting or emailing Dr. Weeks. What a great stocking stuffer!