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Holiday Survival Guide: Give yourself the gift of a joyful, simple holiday!

  • Category: Nutrition, Wellness
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Rachel Wilde, CPT, MA
Holiday Survival Guide: Give yourself the gift of a joyful, simple holiday!

“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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 and alcohol.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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)!
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Have Questions?

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 and Phlebotomist