Back to Basics for Holiday Health

With 19 days until Christmas, holiday stress is peaking. So this week, we’re focusing on self-care basics to preserve health, happiness, and your remaining sanity. First, nourish yourself physically. Make time to eat-your body can’t run without fuel. Exercise 2-3 times weekly by going to the gym, walking your dog, or shopping. Recharge your emotional engine by making time to do things you enjoy-savor a cup of coffee, take a bubble bath, or visit a friend. Feed your spirit with a nature walk, positive affirmations, listening or reading someone inspirational and giving to others.

Second, practice relaxation. Take breaks in the day. Stop running around at record speeds. The “perfect gift” doesn’t exist so stop and breathe. Close your eyes and spend 5 minutes, breathing in to the count of 3, holding for a couple seconds and then out to the count of 3. If a thought strays in, let it go. Focus you attention on your heart spreading calm and warmth through your body. Repeat 2-3 times a day. Studies show that relaxation can boost immunity, and improve mood and sleep.

Finally, spend your time wisely. Choose one activity which makes the holidays special for you and make certain to do it. Maybe baking or caroling or watching a holiday DVD. Don’t let your “to do” list consume you. Prioritize what has to get done, and cut out what you can. Stop and think “Will doing this make me feel good” or tired and stressed. Choose what’s best for you at least once a day.

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