Finding peace and joy during the holidays

Here we are again, in a season notorious for inspiring epic levels of stress, massive expenditures of time, energy and money—not to mention obscene heights of calorie consumption. Does it have to be like this? Nah. And I have a few suggestions for lightening your holiday stress load:

Plan ahead.
Set aside days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Scheduling in advance might even enable you to say “no” to a few offers that would otherwise overwhelm your calendar.

Be realistic.
Holidays don’t have to be perfect or even just like last year. Families change, and so do traditions and rituals. Find new ways to celebrate together. Making things simpler doesn’t mean cutting out all the fun.

Be safe.
Yes, of course: This is the season of holiday parties. Get festive, but don’t throw caution to the wind. A taxi is exactly the right answer if you overindulge.

Prevent injuries.
If you have a live Christmas tree, make sure the batteries in your smoke alarm are fresh and that you keep candles safely out of the way. You think the holidays are stressful now? Try them after a house fire or a burn.

Choose your food and drink wisely.
During this season of abundance, it’s tough not to let your body get a little more abundant, too. But here’s an eye-popping fact: 4 ounces of wine equals 98 calories, whereas an 8-ounce white Russian has a whopping 715 calories. If you put a little forethought into your choices, you can make merry without packing on pounds. And make sure you drink plenty of water. It helps keep you full and may help you refrain from eating and drinking too much.

Be good to your heart.
Forget snow shoveling (if you can get away with it). If you can’t hire someone to do it or use a snow thrower, work very slowly and in small chunks of time. Cold weather and physical exertion increase the workload on your heart.

Spend less.
Avoid shopping. Seriously. Life isn’t about stuff, and less is more anyway.

Trade neck rubs.
Give the muscles that get the tensest an early gift. Enlist a good pal, your spouse or your kids to give you an invigorating neck rub, then trade!

Get mistletoe.
Smooch more!

If you have questions about reducing stress — or any other health concern — you can call 317-338-4-HER to talk to a registered nurse or use this form to talk to me directly.

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