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Natural Awakenings Boston

Stress Less, Enjoy More Through the Holidays

Nov 30, 2011 01:29PM ● By Deb Brothers-Klezmer and Wendy Midgley

The holiday season is a time for gathering with family and friends to enjoy festivities, love, connection and remembrances. The season also includes high expectations, rich foods, alcohol, overspending and time demands, all of which creates a perfect recipe for feeling “stressed out” before December is even over. Fortunately, a few simple practices and reminders can make the holidays more enjoyable and less overwhelming. Try these suggestions for a relaxing, rewarding holiday season:

  • Set an intention to really enjoy the holidays this year and envision what you want. Rehearse your intention or vision statement as often as you need to.
  • Get adequate sleep and rest.
  • Eat breakfast each day and eat as healthfully as you can in general, choosing treats mindfully. 
  • Try inhaling the scent of peppermint under your nose every two hours. Researchers have found that it can reduce hunger levels and cravings.
  • Limit sugar and alcoholic drinks and stay hydrated with at least eight glasses of water a day.
  • Don’t overspend, overeat or overdo. If you are financially strapped, give “free” gifts of your time or complete a task for someone.
  • When faced with multiple demands and invitations, be choosy about which events you’ll attend, stay only as long as feels good and release guilt as you take care of yourself.
  • Take time to be quiet, breathe deeply, read, meditate or walk in nature every day, no matter how “time-crunched” you feel.
  • Reach out and ask for help if you need it. Remember that people like to be helpful.
  • If you are overwhelmed with “I can’t cope,” thoughts, remind yourself of the many times you’ve felt in control, competent and successful. Those feelings of inner power are still there for you.
  • Get a rise in oxytocin (the bonding hormone) by engaging in satisfying community activities such as singing, decorating or cooking with others.
  • Honor your spiritual traditions and perhaps even create new traditions that are meaningful to you.

Finally, don’t give up your personal values in an attempt to live up to an unattainable ideal. No one has perfect holidays, and that can part of the fun.

Deb Brothers-Klezmer, R.N., practices at DBK Nursing Rehabilitation, L.L.C., in Stoughton, and The Marino Center for Integrative Health, in Wellesley. Wendy Midgley is a registered dietitian, licensed nutritionist and certified diabetes educator at The Marino Center for Integrated Health and InterMed Associates, in Webster. For more information, contact [email protected].

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