2003-12-12 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Enjoy a Healthy Holiday
By Dr. Nancy Gahles
Health & Harmony

Health & Harmony

DR. Nancy gahlesDR. Nancy gahles

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

Enjoy a Healthy Holiday

Eat, drink and be merry! That’s how the saying goes. And so we should… keeping all things in moderation.

Eat everything that you love during the holidays. Eat those cookies that Mom makes every year. Eat the turkey, the ham and the roast beef on the goody laden tables. Eat the candy and the cakes that sit in every nook and cranny of the room. No one ever dreamed of that Christmas or Hannukah when the carrot sticks were just fantastic. Memories are made of good feelings and remembering the smells of certain foods cooking and delighting in the waiting to devour them. Taste sensations are one of our most primitive senses and we remember delicious foods associated with good times in our lives. Holidays are such times. The key to remembering the good feelings and not the heartburn, bloated or hungover feelings is to do it all in moderation. Eat everything in small portions. If you really love it and need to have more, wait a bit until you have digested the first portion. Take a walk outside. Go down to the beach and get some fresh air. Talk with a friend or relative. You may even find that you don’t choose to have more. The impulse may have passed. But if you want it….have it! In small doses.

Drink that eggnog and have a favorite party drink. Have one and then settle into a comfortable spot and reflect on the holiday. Think about its meaning. Find someone to share those thoughts with. If you are at home where conflicts are generated during the holiday, try to limit the alcohol. It can fuel tempers and gives rise to bad judgment calls, hurt feelings and morning - after- regrets.

Merry making is the heart of holiday celebrations. Be merry. Shine that little light of yours and share your joy with others. Be thankful for all that you have been given and resolve to use those gifts to help others.

Dr. Nancy’s Coping Strategies For Harmonious Holidays:

Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!

*Do take caution not to overwhelm yourself. This means pace yourself. Don’t try to get everything done in one or two days. Start now. Make lists. Then cut the list by half. Half the people. Half the gifts. Remember that less is more.

*Do not get yourself into holiday debt. If you can’t afford it with the money that you already have in your pocket then you can’t afford it. Resist the impulse items. Those that are marked Sale; Reduced; 50% Off!; Last Chance!

*If you have a large family, it might be practical to discuss with them the possibility of buying one gift each for a family member rather than something for everyone. Picking a name out of a hat and giving a gift with a fixed price usually translates into everyone getting a nice gift that they really want. It also cuts down on your shopping list.

*Give from your heart without expectations of something in return.

*Give service instead of gifts. Shovel someone’s walk. Clear off someone’s car after a storm. Call a neighbor who can’t get out and ask if they need anything from the stores.

*Take quiet interludes of down time for yourself. Research suggests that the benefits of quiet, alone time include mental clarity, stress reduction, a greater sense of well-being and a stronger immune system.

*Finally, family holidays are replete with, well, families. Those parents, siblings, uncles and cousins who, invariably bicker, chastise, comment and drink too much. Reframe the situation. Monitor your internal reaction to those who predictably "tick you off". Sit near someone else. Change the focus. Stay a shorter period of time. And remember, the only real and lasting gift is the gift of love.

Eat, Drink And Be Merry!!!

May The Blessings Be!

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