Friday, December 21, 2018

'Tis the Season...To Be Stressed Out? (Some easy tips and recommended reading)

What causes holiday stress? This should be the happiest time of year right?  We have friends and family coming to call, lots of parties,  the exchanging of thanks through gifts and just general jocularity? Maybe though these are the very things that cause stress, says Sandy Bailey, family and human development specialist at Montana State University Extension Service.

"The hustle and bustle of getting ready for family and friends can cause us to feel rushed and overwhelmed," she says. Unrealistic expectations, extra chores, money woes and changes in schedules can create holiday anxiety.
Bailey defines stress as “the pressure from the outside that makes us tense on the inside. It is the response to real or perceived demands placed on us, even in so-called positive situations like the holidays.” 

I take this to mean that to reduce stress I need to feel like I am in control of the stimuli around me.  This enables me to better focus on the things I need to do. I would like to share a few tips I follow when I need to get my mind back in the right place.  

1-take a breather whether it be a coffee break ( I often enjoy a grande darkroast coffee at Starbucks for a quick get away where I can sit back and regroup)

2-keep up your exercise routine.  Even if it is a quick run or yoga/breathing exercise I block this time on my calendar.

3-think about a favorite food you like, then find the recipe and plan a meal around it.

4-while you are shopping for others take care of yourself too.  If I see something I really like (if on sale)  I will always take advantage when I can.  
5- go to a movie, this is a cheap way to take a little staycation and transport your mind for a few hours of freedom.  Yesterday I saw Mary Poppins Returns and it brought me back to my happy childhood memories. 

If none of these help, I also recommend two great books I just finished.  First The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson gave me insight into not worrying about how everyone perceives me.   Whatever you say or think is important and you deserve to have the respect of anyone who would challenge and make you uncomfortable.  Second is Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny.  This book taught me that most areas of stress are caused by fear of the unknown reaction.  If you can understand the fears in both you and your guests, you may better approach the start of conversations that otherwise may cause confrontation.  I found both of these books have given me new tools to deal with my outside fear triggers.  

Be sure to get plenty of rest and eat well. Too much junk food causes sugar highs and can cause an imbalance.  Keep your plans flexible.  Remember real life is constantly moving and nothing has to be set in concrete.    

Wendy is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham. She enjoys thinking outside the box and the ability to incorporate each of the above suggestions in to her daily life. She hopes you will find them useful as tools as you move towards 2019.  

Friday, December 14, 2018

A QuickGuide to a Healthy Happy and Fit New You in 2019

Are you constantly being bombarded with tempting foods and drinks this holiday season?  Are you too busy to keep up your exercise routine.  How about planning ahead by buying a few healthy tools you can incorporate into a healthy you after the first of the year.   I just got a Fitbit and an Instant pot and am excited to use both as I kick off 2019.  These are great gift ideas if you want to give a year of health to your loved ones.  For other suggestions check out NY Times writer Melissa Clark's many favorite tools including the Instant Pot.  In the interim though here are some tips to manage through this holiday season.

How about making a New Year’s resolution before the New Year?   How can you maintain your weight if constantly surrounded by your favorite high-calorie goodies and holiday drinks? Of note, the average American gains five to ten pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  Read on for some tips on how not to become a statistic.

Dieting is near impossible this time of year, thus your goal should be to maintain not reduce your current weight.  Plan and assemble several quick, healthy meals that can be readily available for reheating to avoid relying on high-fat fast food when your days become chaotic.

Avoid attending a holiday party on an empty stomach. If you plan to drink cocktails be sure to have some food first as the side effects of alcohol are felt much more quickly and can lead to overeating and over-drinking. If you do drink alcohol, it is recommended to drink one glass of water before each glass of an alcoholic beverage.

If attending a party,  offer to bring a favorite healthy treat to be assured there will be at least one "safe" item available to snack on. Stand far away from buffets so you're not tempted to nibble constantly.  When selecting hors d'oeuvres choose the ones that contain whole grains and/or legumes while staying away from the high fat, high sugar options. Instead of totally cutting out high-calorie favorite holiday dishes, take a small portion of each and load up on healthier options like vegetables, fruits and breads.
Remember to continue your regular exercise program through the holidays as best as possible.  Even if this means extra long walks with your dog or doing a 15 minute yoga routine this is the key to maintaining good health and alleviating holiday stress.

Lastly be sure to get enough sleep and be mindful of spreading germs. Wash your hands frequently and be avoid sharing drinking glasses or utensils amongst friends.  

As the year wraps up I hope you will make the most of these tips to enjoy a happy, healthy season and launch a newer version of this self as you approach the new year.  

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She enjoys blogging about things near and dear to her lifestyle.  You can check out her Pinterest page to learn more about recipes she is trying with her new instant pot.