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Survival Tips for the Holidays...

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a safe and peaceful holiday season.

This time of the year is busy, and can be very stressful for many people for a variety of reasons.  Let us always try to remember to be kind to our fellow friends and neighbours.  Many people are not celebrating Christmas, and for them it must be difficult to see all of the festivities around them.  Some are religiously not participating, and others it is because they are on their own.  Families may be far away, or they are required to work through the holidays. Then of course there are the cases of those who cannot afford to participate in Holiday festivities. There are many reasons this can happen.  In any case, remember to be empathetic to others – and in this case it may mean being an active listener and allowing people to share their story.  For some who are celebrating Christmas with their family, it can also be extremely stressful.  not everyone has the perfect family.  Whatever the case, try to remember that everybody has a story.

For those who are in the celebrating spirit, there tends to be a shift towards overconsumption.  This includes food, drink, and also objects.  A good way to manage consumption is to ask yourself “do I need this?”  before partaking.  This could keep you from that one last drink that takes you over the edge, the last serving of turkey before the dessert, or the last purchase that fits on the credit card.  Overconsumption doesn’t benefit anyone… it feels good sometimes but the after affects are not positive!!

If you are in the spirit of partaking this season, here are a couple of tips to help the body assimilate:

  1. If you are drinking heavily, don’t forget the water!!  If you drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink, you will probably be fine in the morning.  That headache you feel is dehydration.  It doesn’t matter if it is sparkling water, or regular tap water.  As long as you hydrate, you should minimize the effects of dehydration.
  2. And of course the obvious… DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!!!  There are so many R.I.D.E programs out there at this time of the year.  You might think that you are fine, but those are some famous last words.  Some of the most famous!    And I think the absolute worst case scenario is that you get involved in an accident and someone else gets hurt or even worse… please don’t become a statistic!!
  3. Turkey gut – if you have a belly full of turkey, and you can’t keep your eyes open.  That’s tryptophan. You can drink a glass of coconut water and add sea salt for electrolytes to help the digestive process.  Another helpful tip is to drink a smoothie with greens, and ginger.  The greens help break down the meat and the ginger soothes the digestive tract.  Digestive enzymes can also help the overall feeling we get in our tummy when we are eating too much.
  4. If you are finding you are suffering from an overall feeling of malaise, bloatedness, tired, and wary there are two easy ways to manage it.  First, try lemon water in the morning.  First thing, drink a cup of room temperature water with just a few drops of fresh lemon juice in it.  Wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything.  This will flush toxins from the gallbladder and kick start the metabolism.  NOTE:  if you have had your gallbladder removed, or been diagnosed with gallstones you may want to consult your physician.  Secondly, probiotics are a good thing.  If you start taking probiotics it will help your gut produce more good bacteria, and aid your digestive process.  I personally like Bio-K, it is in a liquid form and has been tested extensively in labs.  Again, if you have a chronic or degenerative condition always contact your primary care provider.

If you are suffering from the Holidays Blues, and are feeling isolated or alone during this season you are not alone.  There are so many people who are alone for the Holidays.  The best thing to do is to reach out and find others with a similar situation.  There are things you can do when you are alone for Christmas.  Here are some ideas

  1. Volunteer at a shelter to help those in need.  There are so many people who are not only alone, but in poverty as well.  Many churches and charities are involved in offering a holiday meal or care packages to those less fortunate at this time of the year.  This is an amazing distraction, and helps to put things in perspective as well. Convenant House and Meals on Wheels are examples, there are many more.
  2. Do something nice for yourself.  That’s right, have a nice herbal bath, give yourself a pedicure, or whatever it is that will give you a lift at this time. Making a nice meal, or doing some baking might be enjoyable.
  3. Keep the traditions going.  If you had regular holiday traditions in the past, hold them up – whether it was a special activity or a special dish that was meaningful to you at this time of the year.  If the day was never special to you, then carry on like any other day.
  4. Do something!!  Fresh air is an amazing cure for sadness, so is the sound of laughter.  Go for a walk to a park where there will be children playing, dogs running, and allow their energy to penetrate you.
  5. Don’t be afraid to feel what you feel.  If you want to have a good cry, go ahead.  It is ok to let your feelings out.  This is a very emotional time of the year for a lot of people, and it is positive to acknowledge these feelings.  It is also a good time to address them and try to see the root of these feelings and try to resolve them so that you are not sitting in the same place next year.
  6. Gratitude.  Everyone has something to be thankful for.  Sometimes it may not feel like it, but just the fact that you are reading this says that you do.  It can be the smallest thing, but always remember there are many people who are suffering in ways we cannot even fathom.
  7. Always remember we are not alone.  Life can be lonely and isolating at times, but the truth is that all we have to do is reach out and seek the companionship of another and it will be there.  So many services are available – from support groups to meet up groups… the choice is always yours.

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