Let's De-Stress the Holidays

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Let's De-Stress the HolidaysFor many people, just hearing the words, “the holidays,” evokes stress, anxiety, and sadness. What is supposed to be a time of joy, peace and good will can instead become a time of heightened loneliness, anxiousness, family dysfunction, regret, political arguments, overspending, struggles to get through impossible “to do” lists, and increased pain of missing departed loved ones and bygone times. Of course there is the ever-present barrage of unrealistic images of the “perfect” couple, family, outfit, table setting, meal, scene, body, or “magical moment” to help these anxieties along.

Medical Emergencies Increase During the Holidays

Sadly, the incidence of coronary events tend to escalate during the holidays as many people are thrown off their regular schedules, consume more alcohol, overeat, and even delay medical care until “after the holidays.”1,2 More reasons for holiday emergencies include: overeating, overdoing the salt, forgetting to take medications (for various reasons), deep cuts during nervous holiday food preparation, falls, physical fights, digestion issues, abnormal heart rhythm from too much alcohol consumption, and depression.3

Consider These Holiday Dos and Don'ts

Dos:

1. Do choose what information you take in when you're in control of your environment (at home, or in the car). Realize the ultimate goal of the the media is to make you “feel” a certain way so that you will watch, tune in, subscribe to, or buy something. 2. Do remember that the actual meaning of the word, holidays, is “holy days.” That said, meditating, reading scripture or poetry, or connecting with nature are some good ways to help put yourself into a more peaceful, grateful, and contemplative frame of mind. 3. Do connect with positive people who lift you up, and who you can lift up as well. And remember, it's okay to catch up with old friends or visit with family members just as well after the holidays in a more relaxed manner–whether in person or on the phone. 4. Do make sure you have adequate refills of your medication(s), and keep your doctor appointments and dates for important screenings/procedures. 5. Do consider supplementing your diet with Doctor Emi's Mood Support Extra Strength which supports nervous system health and the synthesis of calming neurotransmitters promoting relaxation and a healthy mood; and also, Ultimate Cell Energy, because good neurotransmitter production comes from good mitochondrial function. Doctor Emi's InsulXSlim also enhances neurotransmitter function. 6. Do know that if you feel severely depressed, there is always someone ready to listen at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (there is also an online chat available).

Don'ts

1. Don't feel obligated to do anything out of the ordinary. You don't have to "haul out all the decorations," or send out cards if you don't wish to do so. Put up one or two seasonal decorations, or none at all. Getting sucked into the collective maelstrom of over-the-top holiday decorating, etc., often leads to stress and exhaustion which is detrimental to your immune system. 2. Don't spend yourself into oblivion. Getting into debt creates more stress, and will ultimately adversely affect you/your loved ones. Give yourself a budget and stick to it. 3. Don't feel forced to keep any tradition that is making you anxious or depressed. It's okay to do something different, to read something different, to listen to different music, or go to a different place. 4. Don't mentally declare the holidays,“open season on food.” Keep healthy habits going as best you can. Focus on making nutritious, balanced meals and/or making healthy choices when you're out. If you have a few “special occasion treats,” that's great – just don't keep the “special occasion treats” flowing non-stop throughout the holidays. 5. Don't bury your feelings and try to put on a happy face if you are grieving the loss of a loved one (or something else). Having a good cry is healing, and helps to relieve stress.4 6. Don't turn inward and replay bygone holidays or situations over-and-over in your mind, or stress about the future. It may sound trite, but give yourself the gift of the present. Allowing yourself to experience the present moment is a liberating way of being; the more you practice being in the moment, the better you'll become at doing so.5 Please remember to first discuss dietary supplements you take, or wish to take, with your physician as dietary supplements can react with medications as well as with one another. Please, if you have been experiencing feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, irritability, persistent anxious or sad feelings, or suicidal thoughts, see your physician as soon as possible and discuss the feelings and thoughts with him/her. The Doctor Emi Team
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References

1. Phillips D, Jarvinen J, Abramson I, Phillips R. Cardiac Mortality Is Higher Around Christmas and New Year’s Than at Any Other Time. American Hearth Association. Originally published 13 Dec 2004 Circulation. 2004;110:3781–3788.
2. Leland K. Heart Attacks, Other Emergencies Spike During Holidays. University of California San Francisco. 12/20/11.
3. Family Health Team. 9 Reasons for Holiday Emergencies — and How You Can Avoid Them Cleveland Clinic. 11/25/15.
4. Orloff J. The Health Benefits of Tears. Psychology Today. 1/27/10.
5. Barbash E. Mindfulness and Being Present in the Moment. Psychology Today. 1/7/18.

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