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Tips for a Healthy, Happy Holiday Season

Friendly Wheels, Issue 23
December 2009

The holidays can be both a joyous and busy time of year. In order to keep your spirits up and stress level down, check out the following tips.

Kim Donahue, from Disaboom.com says moving and laughing are very important in the month of December.Child laughing



  • Move. Focus on fitness, rather than worrying about fatness -- rev up your metabolism with aerobic and strengthening exercises. Ready to try something new? Head to the local public library for some exercise DVDs. Many routines can be adapted to sitting movement.
  • Laugh. According to researchers at California's Loma Linda University, just anticipating having a good laugh "significantly decreases levels of the stress hormones dopac, cortisol, and epinephrine." Where to get started? Consider renting two of the season's funniest movies, "A Christmas Story" and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." Or check out my favorite Christmas movie, "Elf."


Dr. Joseph Mercola of Mercola.com stresses the importance of health during the holidays.

  • Don't skip meals, especially breakfast. Skipping breakfast is particularly bad. If you start each morning with a good breakfast and "graze" healthfully every two to four hours, your "metabolic flame" will burn evenly all day and your blood sugar won't take any sharp dips. You'll feel more rested and energetic.
  • Pay off your sleep debt. The average person needs six to eight hours of sleep each night. Sleeping under six hours will actually accelerate aging and increase your risk of diabetes. If you feel as if you're dragging, you need the full eight hours of sleep. To help get a good night's rest, sleep in complete darkness (or as close as possible) and do not watch TV right before bed.


Amigo owner Vicki Bridges says in her blog that mental happiness can improve stressful situations.Christmas tree

  • Start with a positive attitude. I think a positive attitude is the best tool to enhance every day. Winston Churchill agreed: "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." We all have control over our own attitude. We may as well take advantage of it by having a good one.
  • Practice Moderation. Dinner, gifts, parties -- you know where you can cut back and where you cannot. Choose what you can do and want to do, and do it with gusto.


Recommendations from the Mayo Clinic include:

  • Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all your expectations. Be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression too.
  • Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.


Sources: disaboom.com, mercola.com, vvbms.blogspot.com, mayoclinic.com

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