Tuesday, November 22, 2005

7 Ways To A Happy Holiday

Holidays are they time of year to seduce the senses and bolster the bonds between family and friends. But often, even for the hardiest reveler, the mental and physical stress of holiday tasks can strain the mind and body. Below are some tips to help yet you trough the season, including ways to stay organized, to volunteer your time, decorate, shop, cook, and even card writing, all the while making your health the top priority.

1). Ways To Ward Off Stress
Stress and depression often go hand in hand. It is estimated that 10 percent of the population experiences depression triggered by stress. You can minimize these unwanted effects by controlling time spent on holiday chores.
-Take time for yourself. It’s easy to get burdened with a to-do list. Take time out and pencil in time for relaxation and daily rest. By completing a crossword puzzle, taking a walk, or a nap, the mental and physical break can rejuvenate you.
-Set limits. Don’t try to do everything in one day. Decide how much you can do and stick with it. Don’t forget to ask for help if needed.
-Help others. If you have the time, volunteering can lift your spirits and remind you what the holidays are about. Suggested organizations include the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run, the Marines Toys for Tots Foundation, Meals on Wheels, or even helping the Red Cross with the hurricane victims.
-Skip the holiday spirits. Alcohol, which is a depressant, can dampen your mood. It can affect sleep, increase stress, and exacerbated joint pain in some forms of arthritis, especially gout.
-Remember what’s important. Holidays are about family and friends, and your religious beliefs, not about who got what gift. Take part in events that make you feel good and say no the others.
-Laugh out loud. Remember to enjoy yourself. You’re out to have fun with others. Laughter is a successful supplemental therapy for pain. Even giggles can relax muscles, boost circulation and help dissolve stress.
-Don’t create a financial burden. Don’t cause added worry and stress by overspending. Simplify gift giving. Ask family members to do a grab-bag gift exchange. Enjoy less expensive entertainment by driving to decorated houses or going to free concerts.
-Make compromises. Skip the card writing. Call your friends to wish them happy holidays. Talking to them will boost your spirits. Or if you still want to send cards, get printed ones. It will save you pain from writing and time.

2). Ways To Tone Down De’cor
To get in the holiday spirit, many decorate their home. Here’s a few tips to help without going overboard.
-Go artificial. You can buy an artificial tree with the lights already attached. Places like Wal-Mart and The Home Depot will put a tree together for you. To spruce up a room, use artificial wreaths, garland, poinsettias, and holly branches. They won’t need watering and won’t drop needles, saving time on maintenance and clean-up.
-Take a stand. If you must have a live tree, take the stand with you. Ask the handler to set it in there, then just load it in your car.
-Hang together. If you’re having a get together, ask everyone to bring a decoration for the tree. It will be full in no time.
-Lay on lights. If you’re lighting the outside, use the ones that lay like a blanket and drape them over bushes and trees.
-Seek simplicity. Go minimalist. Try a grouping of candles at different lengths. Switch your regular couch pillows with holiday ones.

3). Ways To Work In Your Workout
Things may seem to busy, but don’t skimp on your exercise. It may make you feel depressed.
-Walk during your child’s sport event. Walking around the gym or field during your child’s sports practice or event will help you burn more calories than sitting on the bleachers.
-Exercise with a friend. If you exercise with a friend, you’re more likely not to break your commitment. Use the time to catch up, vent, release stress.
-Don’t park near the door. Whether it’s at home or the mall, parking further away can help. Those additional steps can really add up during a day of shopping.

4). Ways To Shop Smart
Instead of walking aimlessly from store to store, follow these do’s and don’ts so gift browsing doesn’t lose its luster when pain is present.
-Don’t procrastinate. Joining the mayhem of Christmas shoppers between Dec. 10 and Christmas Eve will only add to your stress, and you’ll probably spend a lot of time on your feet in long lines. You should plan ahead, start early, and shop at a leisurely pace. Stores are less crowded early or late on weekdays.
-Do browse at home. Visit Web sites or review catalogs of your favorite stores. Mae a list of thngs you want to purchase, call ahead to see if the item is in stock, and have the salesperson hold it for you. Better yet, order by phone or online and save yourself a trip.
-Do map it out. If your going to numerous stores, set a course of action and stick to it. List where you need to go and what items you need for each store.
-Don’t lose your cool. Don’t beat yourself up an cause more stress if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for. Remember that it’s the thought that counts.
-Do use a cart. So your finger joints won’t be strained from carrying gifts, use a cart from store to store. If you can’t borrow one from the mall, you can purchase one at www.shop.com for $46.99. You can also use it after the holidays fro groceries or laundry.
-Don’t shop the mall. Scarce parking spots and long lines can make the mall a very stressful and unfriendly place. Try to visit main street style shops or open air shopping areas. Parking is usually plentiful, you can visit multiple shops, and you can get some fresh air in between.

5). Ways To Avoid Temptation. Avoiding high calorie holiday foods is often difficult. But don’t have post-holiday regret by overeating now. Just follow these simple guidelines.
-Eat in before you head out. Eating a healthy meal before you leave home for a holiday party will prevent you from overeating. You’ll also be able to focus on family and friends.
-Set sensible goals. Set a realistic limit on how much you will eat and drink before you go out. Limit your visits to the buffet table and how many items you’ll get. Then praise yourself for keeping your promises.
-Don’t mingle near food trays. Try to stay away from tables loaded with hors d’oeuvres or candies and snacks.
-Bring your own. See if you can bring a veggie tray or something else nutritious for you to snack on.
-Just say “No, thank you”. It may be difficult to do, but if the host offers you seconds, politely but simply decline their offer.
-Inform gift-givers. Let family and friends be aware that you don’t want food as a gift. And if they ignore your wishes, you can give it to a homeless shelter.
-Remove food. Instead of meeting friends and family at a home, try getting together at a holiday concert, theatre, museum, or sporting event.

6). Places To Go Online For Gifts. Shopping on the Web saves time and energy that’s traditionally spent schlepping from store to store. It’s never been easier to find a rare collectible or a sweet sentiment to send to someone over the holidays. With online gift guides and Web-based catalogs providing a clearing-house of gifts that allows you to bookmark a gift idea to come back to later, further simplifies online searches and purchases. Next time you sign in, try these sites: www.ebay.com, www.findgifts.com, www.shopzilla.com, www.surprise.com, www.zingermans.com.

7). Ways To Make Meals Simple. Although a home-cooked meal is probably a tradition at your home, long hours over a hot stove can e a bit too much for your joints. Cut down on cooking time by starting a few new traditions.
-Make it a potluck. Why do you have to do all the cooking? Ask friends and family if they can bring a certain dish to share.
-Offer a buffet. Why lug all the dishes from the kitchen to the table? Make it a buffet. Line up plates, food, then utensils and napkins. Your guests will enjoy not having to mess with utensils while filling up their plates.
-Order out. Leave food preparation to someone else. Local caterers and grocery stores can provide dishes or entire meals. You can try such places as www.Kroger.com or www.honeybaked.com.
-Get mobile. If you must cook, a supportive stool with wheels will help you move around the kitchen more easily, and it will help you save energy.
-Go disposable. Washing dishes doesn’t have to be part of the tradition. Use disposable and inexpensive cooking tins. Dixie’s Stoneware even offers decorative dining plates and bowls.

Finally, just remember to do what you can to prevent stress from wrecking your holidays. Stress lowers your immunity and you could be prone to an infection or full fledged flare. Remember to stop and rest, especially at the first sign that you’ve overdone it. Be sure to enlist help if needed. If you do overdue it, an ice pack will help swollen joints and a heating pad helps sore muscles. Taking time to relax, whether it’s listening to music or soaking in a hot tub, will help you better cope with the holidays.

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