by Sarah and Dave

1. Recognize your own holiday stress!

  • Family, travel, cooking, cleaning, time off, not enough time off, the cold… These are just a few of the ways in which we all get stressed during the holidays. Take a moment or two to recognize what is stressing you, breath in deep, exhale audibly, and start brain storming. Recognizing what stresses you out about the holidays is a great first step to making them enjoyable. Once you’ve identified the stressor(s), look beyond them. Usually there is an underlying commitment that is threatened. Just ask yourself WHY you are doing what you are doing and it will help you through it. Remember, life is short, don’t miss it! And don’t sweat the small stuff!

2. Chew your food!

  • Chewing is the first step in digestion, and the only step that we can consciously affect. The more you chew your food the easier it is for your body to digest. Chewing your food will also help you slow down! This makes a meal more enjoyable, tasty, relaxing, and easier to digest. And more chewing means you’ll feel full sooner. That helps keep the pounds off! If you are traveling, plan ahead and bring snacks.
  • Airports, rest stops, and train stations sell fast food that is not generally healthy. Eating these foods can often turn travel into a tiring, forced march. Even though airport security is heightened you can still bring fruit and veggie snacks in with you (of course no liquids or gels). If you can’t bring a snack, see if the awful fast food restaurant carries a salad option – you’d be surprised how many of these places are catching on to the necessity of healthy alternatives.

3. Eat breakfast and lunch, even on Thanksgiving day!

  • Skipping meals to “save room” for the big meal of the day is not good for you. Not only can it make you crabby and give you a headache, but it can cause incredible calorie bingeing on holiday treats.

4. Take a walk with your family or friends

  • My family has a long standing tradition of taking a big walk on Black Friday. We usually go down to the Wissahickon, all 14 of us, and take a nice long walk. There are so many places in the greater Philadelphia area that offer a nice walk: Kelly Drive, Germantown Ave in Chestnut Hill, Kelly Drive, other areas of Fairmount Park, are just a few ideas of places to go.

5. Eat garlic, yum!!!

  • Garlic has been used for centuries to treat coughs, sore throats, lung ailments, and preventatively for colds and flu. And, it adds a wonderful warming flavor to your meal. Mmmm, garlic. And on that note….

6. Reconnect with an old friend 🙂

  • Call one friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while/years/forever just to say hi. Who doesn’t like to hear from a blast from the past, who has no motivation but to reconnect? You could just send an email or post on their Facebook page, but phone calls are more personal and allow for a real conversation. Don’t worry if you only have a chance to talk for a minute or need to leave a message – you might be surprised how much this thought counts.

7. Make a list of things you are thankful for!

  • Even if you haven’t done it before, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to start. Remembering what we are grateful for can help refocus us on the positive things that really matter. It can also help the negative stressful things in our lives feel more manageable.

8. Exercise!

  • Exercise, especially outdoors, will help elevate your mood, loosen tight muscles, and invigorate your spirit!

9. Rest!

This time of the year, and especially Winter, is nature’s down time, and the same goes for us.

  • Getting to bed before ten o’clock is one of the best ways to help poor sleep cycles. Nine O’clock is even better!
  • Take naps as often as you can, especially during the holidays when you might be eating more poorly and staying out later at parties
  • Even if you can’t take a nap, stop working (or shopping), lay on the floor with your knees angled together and your arms criss-crossed across your body. Let all the tension go. Rest for 5 minutes. Breath deeply!

10. Breathe!

  • When you start feeling stressed, or tired, or angry, or sad, just take a few minutes and BREATHE! Consciously open you chest and lungs and breathe as deeply as you can. 5 deep breaths can work wonders for calming stress and improving energy!

Drink lots of water!

Water helps the body in soooo many ways it’s hard to understate just how important it is.

  • Water helps aid digestion (drink BEFORE meals, not during)
  • Water cools and calms, and helps alleviate hangovers (don’t ask us how we know)
  • Water helps flush out toxins
  • Water helps take the edge off hunger. Often we are thirsty, not hungry, and the body doesn’t know the difference
  • Water is important in every metabolic function and will give you energy!

Come on in for a treatment!

  • Okay, this is an eleventh tip, but it’s true! Acupuncture is a wonderful way to help melt the stress of the holidays away. And it can help head off illness before it gets a foothold in the door.