Reduce Your Stress This Holiday Season
The holiday season often brings an unusual amount of demands – parties, shopping, baking, entertaining – which can contribute to a high stress level.
Try following some of these tips to help minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays.
- Be Realistic: The holidays don’t have to be perfect. Traditions often change or grow, so choose a few to hold on to and be open to creating new ones.
- Remember, it’s the thought that counts: Decide how much money you can afford to spend before you go gift and food shopping. Don’t try to buy happiness, try these alternatives:
- Donate to a charity on behalf of someone
- Give a homemade gift
- Start a family gift exchange, instead of buying gifts for every family member
- Learn to say no: Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
- Take short relaxation breaks: Make time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without any distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to. Some activities that may help you reduce stress are:
- Taking a walk at night and stargazing
- Getting a massage
- Reading a book
- Spend time outdoors: Sunlight stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin. Spend time outdoors or near a window on sunny days.
- Go tech-free: Continuous cell phone buzzes and e-mail alerts keep you in a perpetual fight-or-flight mode due to adrenaline. This can be exhausting and can also contribute to mounting stress levels. Enjoy spending time with your family and friends without the worry.
Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating
- Be realistic: Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.
- Plan time for exercise: A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help to prevent weight gain and relieve holiday stress.
- Don’t skip meals: Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack and you will be less tempted to over-indulge.
- Survey the food: Choose your favorite foods and skip others, including vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
- Be careful with beverages: Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating.
- Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed: If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound. It is impossible to gain weight from just one piece of pie.
- Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering.
- Practice Healthy Holiday Cooking:
- Gravy – Refrigerate the gravy and skim the hardened fat off to save 56grams of fat per cup!
- Turkey – Enjoy roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.
- Desserts – Make a crustless pie, or substitute two egg whites for one whole egg in baked recipes.
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 25 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen. Health Magazine. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306655,00.html. 2014.
 Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping. Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544?pg=1. October 3, 2014.
 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating. Greta Macaire, R.D. Sutter Health CPMC. http://www.cpmc.org/about/e-health/11-05%20healthy-holidays.html. 2014.