November 16, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Preventing a Holiday Meltdown

The food. The parties. Finding and wrapping the perfect presents. AHHHH! Studies show that up to 80% of people find the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to be “somewhat” or “very stressful”, which, as reports, ranks the holidays alongside asking for a raise on the stress scale.

So we went for the opposite of stressed - talking to the leaders at Destination Spa Group - and found out how to keep your cool over the holidays as part of today's Wellness Wednesday. 
Rancho La Puerta’s Barry Shingle suggests, “Practice deep breathing. It has been proven over and over again that taking a time out to do some deep, cleansing breaths counteracts many of the physical symptoms of stress. It could be as simple as breathing deeply in for five counts and then exhaling just as slowly five to 10 times.” 

We think we'd be less stressed if we could just GO to Rancho La Puerta, but okay. 

While you are breathing deeply, Harold Lebovic of The Heartland Spa in Illinois suggests two more simple things:
1.     Make a list. When the holidays seem to become overwhelming, make a list so you know exactly what needs to be done and when. (Exactly what our little Virgo hearts need )
2.     Learn to say no. Realize that it's okay to set boundaries and say no when necessary. Too many "yesses" can lead to unnecessary stress.  (Thank you, our therapist says the same thing.) 

Stressed over visiting relatives? Golden Door Fitness Director Trish Martin suggests, “Instead of the usual get-together that primarily involves eating, suggest an outing that involves physical activity such as hiking, walking, biking, snow shoeing, skating, skiing or sledding.” Or, as Marsha Hudnall of Green Mountain in Vermont says, give yourself a time out. “We often give children a time out, when it is really the adults that could use the break. Take a few minutes for yourself, create some space, take a short walk, step outside for fresh air, or even just sit in a room by yourself.”

What about working out? You may be tempted to skip it; not a good idea says Rancho La Puerta’s Shingle, “Exercise releases endorphins that help us to cope better with stress. Even if it means doing modified workouts or getting up a little earlier to fit one in; maintaining our physical activities helps us to maintain a sense of control and self.” Nancy Byrd Radding of The Oaks at Ojai concurs, “Get a winter membership at a club. Change up your workout time to use the daylight available to you. Invest in DVDs, there’s some great stuff out there to help you pick up a new skill.”

After working out, don’t eat the entire box of chocolate covered cherries. Koerner suggests increasing energy by drinking one fresh, raw, green smoothie every day. To make: throw in a blender a handful of spinach with some frozen bananas, blueberries and water. “The immediate boost of vitamins and minerals will help deter sugar cravings and provide the energy to jump back into the beautiful chaos of the holidays,” adds Destination Spa Group Executive Director Debra Koerner.

Do these tips help? What are your tips for staying less stressed over the holidays? We're personally booking a massage for next week, and planning a mini-weekend away for sometime in December. 

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