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Holiday Survival Tips

Posted by Barbara DuBois | Nov 30, 2023 10:56:48 AM

Let’s take a look at how we can better navigate the holidays. The holidays should not be fraught with self-remorse in ostensible lapses in our otherwise general positive health practices. When we were kids, Christmas was the pinnacle of the year. Fond memories abound of mom’s homemade cookies, grandma’s pecan pies, and dad’s basted turkey. The holidays had this aura of hustle and bustle with visitors, family gatherings, decorating of the tree, concerts, and the alluring mountain of gifts. As kids we were so excited, we were ready to pop. Little did we understand the heavy load that burdened our parents with all the preparations. Just the shopping list alone was daunting, let alone the baking, decorating, gift wrapping, card writing, and driving kids hither, thither, and yon. Choir practice, dance rehearsals, parties, and the never-ending-days stacked with events seemed to add on more responsibilities, and strain to the already harried work-a-day world.

How can we partake in holiday celebrations without collapsing under the frenzy of too many parties, too much food and drink, too many overall expectations? There are some simple ideas we can implement that will make the season more enjoyable and less frantic.

Health consultants agree, the most important priority is to get enough sleep. When we are well-rested, our stress levels are much lower, and we can endure the challenges of too-much-to-do-and-not-enough-time syndrome. The second greatest priority we should hold fast to would be to incorporate workout routines into one’s busy schedule. Energy breeds energy. If you channel your energy into a workout, whether in the cardio room, a Zumba class, a game of tennis, an hour on the stationary bike or a dip in the pool, you will find you have MORE energy, not less, to tackle the business of a holiday schedule. The trick is to make the time for it. You will enjoy all the various Yuletide events more because you will have naturally recharged yourself. If necessary, schedule a massage at the Alaska Club front desk before a party. Now THAT’S a de-stressor!

Scheduling all the holiday events can be complicated, but always factor in some decompressor time for yourself. The swim, the massage, the ride on the stationary bike, are all critical for your enjoyment of the holidays and maintaining your sanity. You will feel better, sleep better, and enjoy your food more. You will also more likely exert greater judiciousness in your food and beverage choices.

Stop thinking of these holiday foods such as the extra glass of eggnog, or another round of pie as “guilty pleasures.” So what if we indulge a little more? The point is to enjoy every moment with friends and family. Be thoroughly present-tense minded. Relish every bite. Savor every sip. It is usually the first bite and the first drink that tastes the best anyway. The renewing of your relationships during the holidays is actually the most beneficial aspect of the season.

I like to take personal inventory of what I appreciate about the people in my life and deliberate my gratitude for them. I thus gain a greater understanding for how they have enriched my life. Absorb yourself in conversations. Listen deeply. Lose yourself in their thoughts. The excessive self-indulgences will fall away because we will be satisfied, satiated by the depth of our interactions. Giving of ourselves to others as good listeners, compassionate and selfless is what the holidays are all about. After all, it is in giving that we receive. Enjoy!

Written by Barbara DuBois

MA Health Ed. & Int'l Journalism; PhD Sports & Health History; Texas Tech Univ. & Wayland Baptist Univ. instructor; Health Ed. Program Manager Maniilaq Assoc.

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