“It’s the holiday season…the holiday season
So whoop-tee-doo and dickory-dock and don’t forget to hang up your sock
‘cuz just exactly at 12 ‘clock
He’ll be coming down the chimney down”
Are you bubbling over with holiday cheer and singing carols like Andy Williams? Or are you feeling and singing “whoop-tee-doo” like Scrooge? For some, the holidays often bring stress and exhaustion that can strip away the joy of the season, bust your hustle and ruin your holidays. Is that really surprising? In less than 4 weeks after Thanksgiving, we try to pull off a perfect holiday WHILE we work, go to school, do chores, grocery shop, prepare meals and the zillion other things we do everyday. The list of holiday “should do’s” become as heavy as Jacob Marley’s chains. When the tree lights aren’t twinkling, the wallet is empty of dollars for the bell ringers’ kettle, the Christmas cards aren’t written out, the cookies need to be baked, the gifts aren’t wrapping themselves and when money isn’t growing on trees, what do you do? Eat, Drink & Be Merry!
Just like Thanksgiving, the Christmas holiday season is a time of food overload – cookies, candies, cakes and decorative frostings loaded with refined sugars; breads heavy with processed grains; fatty appetizers and dips; creamy soups and sauces with processed cheese…foods opposite the healthy spectrum of raw, organic fruits and vegetables, high fiber whole grains, nuts of good fats and lean proteins. Not only is it time of food overload, it’s time of countless festive parties – both of which can contribute to holiday stress. When going to parties, plan ahead by eating healthy, filling snacks to help you pass up unwanted calories. When you can’t avoid the holiday temptations, use the “everything in moderation” practice. If your digestion system becomes compromised with poor eating habits (you’ll know by the bloating, gas, fatigue, constipation, abdominal cramps), grab a digestive enzyme.
Plenty of water for proper hydration! It’s absolutely vital to good health and, next to air, is the most essential element to our body functioning. With the holidays and with the food overload come drinks which, most of the time at parties, isn’t water! The best way to minimize empty calories during the holiday season is to avoid or limit alcoholic and sugary drinks (eggnog, hot buttered rum, cream beverages). Enjoy traditional beverages in moderation, and remember to add lots of ice in the beverage and drink water between cocktails to keep hydrated.
Dilute punches with more sparkling water to reduce calories and sugars. If you are making your own punch, use unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate. Limit yourself to a six-ounce glass of red wine, which typically has about 120 calories. (The antioxidant activity of red wine has been linked to heart health benefits, reduced stress and even memory preservation.) Make a hot toddy of lemon, honey, cinnamon, cloves and brandy or whiskey, which has about 100 and 150 calories and a bit of vitamin C thanks to the lemon juice. Or champagne, a common holiday toasting drink of about 90 calories for four-ounce. If your head, stomach and gut become “compromised” with the alcohol consumption, high doses of black current seed oil may prove a remedy. Sanum and Health Concerns have products for hangovers.
Relax – get a massage, its benefited people for at least 4,000 years! A good massage enhances blood flow, releases tense nerves, increases flexibility and can help overcome fatigue by improving your sleep. Listen to soothing music, yoga and meditation are relaxing too.
Deep breathe – like meditation, reduces stress, clears your head and is energizing. It naturally calms the nervous system. Slowly take a deep breath totally filling your lungs then exhale little by little until you feel your air is completely pushed out. Repeat 3-4 more times. Try it, you’ll like it!
Rest – make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. And, sleep is essential for your health, well-being and dealing with the stress of the holidays. It’s the best gift you can give to yourself.
Exercise – go for a walk to reduce stress AND ward off those extra holiday pounds. Bundle up or down, grab your kids, mate, family or a friend and get outdoors in the fresh air. If outdoors isn’t possible, walk at a mall, particularly if you’re already there shopping. Oh, when at the mall or stores, park far away so you have farther to walk. (Did you know shopping on an empty stomach can make you overeat?) Exercise is important.
Hobby – do something you enjoy to take your mind off the stresses of the season!
Realize you can’t do everything – consciously decide to be happy, contented, joyous, festive and calm to the important people in your life this holiday. Choose not to be a wreck by crossing some of the holiday “should-do’s” off the list and stop trying to do too much, too perfectly.
Count your blessings – concentrate on what you have rather than what you don’t have is a good way to overcome the holiday blues.
Natural Healthy Concepts wants you to Eat, Drink & Be Merry and turn your holiday stress into holiday peace and joy…
“Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight.”