“The body heals with play, The mind heals with laughter, And the
spirit heals with joy.” – Proverb
Navigating the holiday season can be a challenge for the most social of
people, let alone those who are a little Grinchy inside. Most of us in
Whoville find ourselves over committed, over stimulated, under prepared financially
and just plain burned out. If your Christmas wish this year is to enjoy
the season—rather than spending it hoping Santa will whisk you off
to a tropical island—check out these 10 sensible tips.
Eat To Be Satisfied: During the months of October through the Super Bowl, there seems to be
a never-ending buffet of treats. Something salty. Plenty of sweets. Just
plain too much! At the least, the quality of our diet tends to take a
hit. At the worst, we eat enough for a small army, multiple times. A healthy
goal over the holidays is to work to maintain your weight. Fill your plate
first with the needed veggies and proteins. Leave little room for indulgences,
and you should be able to maintain your weight over the next few months.
If you know that you are headed to a celebration, make a plan for how
you will eat
before you get there and then stick to it. Mental preparation and mindful eating
equals less tummy aches and a soaring scale!
Drink Intelligently: Again, mindfulness is essential in managing holiday drinking. Calories
from alcohol generally are useless and the after effects of alcohol can
be less than pleasurable. If you are hosting a party, be sure to offer
non-alcoholic beverages for your guests. When you attend get-togethers,
don’t feel obligated to drink—it’s always OK to say,
“no thanks.” If you do choose to celebrate with alcohol, know
your limits and how alcohol affects you. Be sure to eat to help balance
your alcohol and plan ahead for how much you will partake of. Finally,
(the most important detail), be sure that you have a designated driver.
Travel Safely: Since a designated driver was brought up, travel is worth mentioning.
According to the United States Bureau of Transportation, “During
the six-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips
(to and from a destination 50 miles or more away) increases by 54
percent, and during the Christmas/New Year’s Holiday period the
number rises by 23 percent, compared to the average number for the remainder
of the year. Most long-distance holiday travel, about 91 percent, is by
personal vehicle, such as by car.” Follow these smart travel tips:
Check your tire pressure (don’t forget your spare tire) and your
oil level; be prepared for the weather; if you plan to use GPS, program
it before you are driving and make sure you can power it; refuel sooner,
rather than later; bring energizing snacks that will help you stay alert;
and lastly, share driving responsibility if at all possible. If you are
traveling alone, take breaks often.
Sleep Enough: At times of stress and added responsibility, sleep is paramount to success.
Believe it or not, the average person burns 77 calories/hour while sleeping
and only 56 while watching television. The restorative process our body
goes through during sleep is vital. The best case for this: watch a 3
year old in the grocery store who hasn’t had a nap. The point? As
adults, we manage our behavior better than a 3 year old if we haven’t
slept, but we still aren’t fun to be around. Do your best to maintain
your normal sleep routine, and avoid sleep disturbances by avoiding caffeine
Maintain Stress: Stress loves to attack our immune system—and who wants to be sick
and rundown over the holidays? Find ways that help you to maintain a reasonable
level of stress over the next few months. Use healthy outlets for stress
such as exercise. A walk in the fresh air can completely change your outlook.
Think of other tools that have helped you in the past—things like
prayer, talking to a friend, reading a book or making time for yourself
can help. Remember it’s always OK to say no to added obligations
and acknowledge your feelings if you feel they are getting out of your
control. Most companies offer mental health services through their insurance
provider or their Employee Assistance Program (EAP), seek out help if
you, or someone you know needs it! And, if you or someone you know is
in immediate danger because of thoughts of
suicide, Call 911 NOW. If you need someone to talk with about your suicidal feelings,
please do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Stay Organized: Cooking, cleaning, shopping, parties, decorating, running around like
a chicken… Scattered is a great word to describe that! A great
way to avoid being overwhelmed is to be organized. Over the next few months,
try to include a few of these strategies that should help you navigate
the next few months without wandering around, dazed and confused. Keep
a calendar, your phone or computer should have a great app—but you
may even want to keep a large, printed family calendar to keep track of
your flock. Be selective with your cooking, baking, gift giving and charity
obligations and pencil those into your calendar as well. Be a picky volunteer
and choose only the causes that are dear to your heart and fit into your
calendar. Again, it’s always OK to say no.
Spend Responsibly: After the holiday dust settles, it’s not unusual to have a heaping
dose of buyer’s remorse. Much like overdoing it with alcohol, the
hangover is miserable and the consequences of over-spending can linger
on for months and even years. Set a reasonable spending a limit. Know
your budget and stick to it for holiday gift giving. Pay with cash, instead
of cards. Spread your budget farther by taking advantage of sales and
coupons. Shop online and take advantage of free shipping! This tactic
is especially smart, because you are less likely to make impulse purchases
based on what you are surrounded by. The choices are unlimited in the
store (and you don’t have to wear pants when you shop online)!
Limit Your Gifts: Before you begin your holiday shopping spree, trim your gift giving list.
You may even find that other friends and family are happy to reduce their
gift giving commitments too! Drawing names in large families ensures everyone
gets a gift without everyone having to buy an excessive amount of gifts.
My family of three brothers, (complete with in-laws, nieces, nephews,
etc.) does this and we have a different, fun theme each year. We do “As
Seen On TV,” kitchen gadgets and even homemade gifts.
Selectively Give: Sarah McLaughlin and kittens make people cry. Yes, we would like to adopt
every orphaned animal and at the same time, solve world hunger. The sad
truth is, you can’t solve all the world’s problems from October
through December, even though it would look nice on your taxes! While
your conscience and your pocket book are being pulled in every direction
this season, take the time to think about which causes (local or world)
that are truly important to you. Ask yourself, do you have extra funds
to give, or would you better serve by rolling up your sleeves and working
alongside others? Do you have the extra time or the means? Again, it’s
best to not over-commit or over spend and it’s OK to say no. A small
contribution still makes a difference.
Live for the Laughter and remember joy is the reason for the season. Every day for the next few months, be sure to fill your days with fun
moments, laughter and yes, JOY. What better gift could you give to yourself?
Delight in a funny movie, giggle with a friend. Laugh till your belly
hurts, and tears roll from your eyes.
Campbell County Health
Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee
groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. To learn
more about Wellness, please visit
www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.
This blog was written by Rachel Wilde, CPT, MA, CCH Wellness Services Technician