Archive for Dec 2011

12.18.11

What are your holidays really about?

After talking about holiday stress, I thought about why we stress at this time of year when we should be happy to spend time with our family and friends. This article from Psychology Today talks about with how many holidays there are, between Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Muharran, etc it is so easy to get caught up in the gifts and parties and pressures that we forget what these are really about. It is so easy to say, “Just don’t stress this year,” and to forget all of the hype, but it’s impossible to just forget about it. You can go to the parties and buy gifts and do all of the things you normally do, but make a special effort this year to be more mindful. These holidays “refer to light in the darkness.” When you are running through the mall frantic to find that last gift, be thinking about how lucky you are to have that friend you are buying the gift for. Don’t groan that you have to go to that boring office party, be thankful you have a job when so many people don’t. Think of little things to do with your family every day to keep you grounded. Every morning my roommate and I play “Feliz Navidad” while we eat the little chocolate from our Advent calendars; it’s so silly but we start our day with a smile. Enjoy the little and big things that make this time of year (and life in general) special!

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12.04.11

Sleep better this holiday season!

As much fun as the holidays are, for many of us our quality of sleep starts to suffer. Between travel, changes in eating and drinking habits, and higher stress levels, it’s no wonder we end up tired!

Chances are you are going to bed and waking up at different times than you are used to. Try going to bed close to the same time every day. If you can’t fall asleep at your normal time, don’t stay in bed! Get up and read or do another relaxing activity and try again when you are tired.

Eating and drinking too much can also affect sleep. Although alcohol can make you sleepy, more than 1 or 2 glasses will adversely affect sleep quality later in the night. Big changes in blood sugar are not good either, so skip dessert or just have a few bites.

When traveling to different time zones, try going to bed a little early or later several days before flying, so that when you get there your body is closer to being on the right time. Stay well hydrated, reset your watch to the new time zone, and sleep in a room that is between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just because the holidays are here, it doesn’t mean you can skip out on physical activity. Exercise helps sleep quality, digestion, and stress, so try to at least take a 30-minute walk several times a week. Just make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime, since this can also keep you awake.

Unfortunately, stress is also a major contributor to seep problems. There is a lot going on during this time of year, but remember to take breaks! It’s ok to relax and do things you enjoy—no one expects you to be going nonstop for months straight. Workout, get outside, read, do yoga, walk the dog, laugh, play with your kids; whatever gets your mind off of your worries is fine as long as you make time for yourself!

Category: General |

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