Boosting Health and Well-Being through the Holidays

Once again, fall has been spectacular in Northern California. I’ve enjoyed the vibrant colors as I have driven thru the picturesque countryside we have all around us.

A lot to be grateful for in living here and I hope you have enjoyed it, too.

As the calendar is turning towards the holidays, I thought it helpful to think just for a bit about how to get the most out of our holiday experience while staying well and creating a sense of peace within ourselves – it is the season of peace after all. Where better to start than within our selves.

Consider what you do at these holidays that might create the most stress for you and focus on cutting that stress by 50-75% this year.

Maybe it is in saying “no” even to something that could be fun but you know engenders great stress for you. It could be having fewer events on your agenda overall so that those you do engage in are really the ones you want to put your heart and soul into. Ask others to help – whether it be family or friends or other parents.

And keep it simple – it’s amazing how it takes very little to create a gathering that is focused on what really matters like friendship, family sharing and creating a memorable time together.

Keep your focus on good nutrition with plenty of vegetables, good proteins and fats.

Fill your plate with those before going for the carbs. And when you do eat carbs focus more on fruits and desserts that have protein or fats in them after a full meal. For the least negative health effect, let alcohol only be consumed with a meal that includes good fats and proteins.

And, keep up with daily exercise and stress management tools which can help support you thru times that can potentially be more stressful. Even simple deep breathing and smiling can do wonders. Don’t get so busy that you skip these small breaks in your day. The fact is, the more stress you feel the more you need those practices.

Sleep is vital for helping you keep well all the time and the holidays are not different.

With travel schedules and visiting with people you don’t see real often, it is particularly easy to shortchange ourselves in this area. Aim for 7-8 hrs most nights and give yourself that gift. Take the hour before bedtime to wind down with quiet non-stimulating activities like a bath, calming music. Use Magnesium and Melatonin if needed for sleep.

Your immune system will stay optimal in it’s ability to help you fight off infections by following these above guidelines, too.

Keep your immune boosting diet and supplements going including Vit D, Vit C, zinc, medicinal mushrooms and others.

By keeping your hormone doses and any other support you are doing for the body system stable you will have the energy to enjoy this time of year. Don’t get lazy and skip doses during this time. It can make a noticeable difference.

Most of all, enjoy the joy of this season along with the love that we can create and experience with our family and friends.

A happy and healthy holiday season to you and yours!

Jane Kennedy, CFNP, MN, MPH

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