Discover How You Can Easily Relax In 30 Minutes Or Less

 
Relax, It’s not that hard!
 
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In a previous blog we discussed the benefits exercise can have on reducing stress levels and promoting a sense of wellness. Today’s blog will focus more on the use of specific stress-reducing relaxation techniques. In particular, those that require no equipment and can be done virtually anywhere! (except maybe while driving).
 
A major emphasis of relaxation techniques is learning to listen to your body and learn what tension feels like versus a calm feeling. Often life is so hectic that we become less in tune with our body’s responses and in doing so, are unable to cope with increasing levels of stress adequately.
 
Considering the answers to these questions can provide insight into the best option for stress reduction in your life!
 

  • How do you respond in stressful situations?
  • Do you become angry and act out or withdrawn?
  • Do you prefer to be alone or with people?
  • Would an active setting be more relaxing or a soothing environment?

 
The goals of any relaxation technique are to produce a feeling of serenity, decrease heart rate and slow breathing. This can improve sleep habits, ability to focus on tasks, reduce pain and promote emotional stability.
 
Let’s talk about some techniques…
 
Deep Breathing: sitting comfortably, draw repeated deep breaths into your body and imagine the breath reaching all the way to your toes. As you exhale, push the air out of your abdomen (it may be helpful to place your hand over your stomach, it should move as you inhale and exhale) in a slow, controlled fashion.
 
Progressive Relaxation: this is a tension-relaxation technique for the whole body. Beginning either from your toes and working towards your head or vice versa, begin by tensing the muscles in a body part (ie: right foot) and holding for 5-10 seconds. Slowly relax and rest for 30 seconds. Next move to the lower leg and tense the right calf muscles for 5-10 seconds and then relax and rest for 30 seconds. Continue this pattern until you have contracted and relaxed each area of the body. Practice deep breathing throughout.
 
Visualization: Escape for a few moments to a place you associate as relaxing and/or comforting, or have memories of happiness and contentment. Using deep breathing, engage each of your senses in the visualization. If you are on a beach, can you smell the salt air? Can you hear the waves crash and roll? Imagine digging your feet into the sand, feel the rays of sunshine warm your skin. Visualize the rhythmic ebb and flow of the water.
 
Like beginning any exercise program, it will take time to become used to how your body responds and refine your skills and techniques. Practice daily for up to 30 minutes, whether in increments or in one whole session. Ultimately a life that has less stress or healthy ways for coping with stress will be more healthy and well.
 
If you have any other relaxation techniques that you’ve found particularly successful, please don’t hesitate to share!
 

Sources:
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_relief_meditation_yoga_relaxation.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/relaxation-technique/art-20045368?pg=2

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm

 

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What Every Person Ought To Know About Being Fit

 

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Fitness can be defined as the condition, quality or state of being physically fit and healthy. This is a very generic definition that lacks any real insight (as well as stating the word in the definition). The perception that each individual has of “what fit is” is also very different. I would like to share what I feel is a more accurate definition of fitness.

 

The Healthy Weight & Being Fit Debate

 

I’ve discussed what a healthy weight looks and feels like before. There are similar characteristics between what a healthy weight is and being fit is. Being fit does not mean you look like the man or woman on the front of a fitness magazine.

 

Being fit should look and feel like:

 

Performing activities of daily living (ADLs) without feeling undue fatigue.  You should not feel like you ran a marathon when doing laundry or be out of breath by doing simple tasks.

 

You are able fully enjoy and participate in your recreational activities.

 

You are efficient at completing your occupational tasks and without injury.

 

Being able to do the following basic movements without pain: push, pull, squat, twist, lunge, walk/run and crawl.

 

Being able to perform the following movements to the highest level: push, pull, squat, twist, lunge, walk/run and crawl. This goes for people without pre-existing conditions or physiological condition that doesn’t allow for the movement.

 

What does fitness mean to you? How does it look and feel to you? How would you define it?

 
I would love to hear your comments!
 

Sources
Image courtesy of mapichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Fitness” retreieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fitness on April 4, 2014.

 

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10 Easy Ways to Make Dining out Worry Free

 
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Going out to eat may seem overwhelming and confusing if you are trying to stick to a healthier lifestyle. We’ve compiled a list of our 10 ways to healthy eating at a restaurant to take some of the hassle out of knowing how to order at restaurant. Better to enjoy the time out than fret over what to eat!

 

  1. Never go out hungry – Try eating a small snack before leaving the house. Slightly curbing your appetite will decrease the chance you’ll order the first thing you spot on the menu or devour that basket of rolls!
  2.  

  3. Plan ahead – consider what you would like to eat. Sometimes knowing what you’re hungry for ahead of time can cut down on those less than healthy impulse choices.
  4.  

  5. Drink water – it’s free and adds no calories to your meal!
  6.  

  7. Substitute vegetables or fruit for sides – In the event your meal comes with french fries, chips or other unhealthy choices, substituting fresh or steamed vegetables or fresh fruits can cut down on fat, sodium and calories.
  8.  

  9. Share with a friend – often portion sizes are larger than is really needed. Consider ordering a smaller portion or splitting a meal to limit the temptation to overeat. If dining alone you can ask for a take-home container to put half of your food in when it arrives at your table.
  10.  

  11. Limit the fat and salt – Don’t be afraid to ask the server to limit the use of oils or butter or even forgo them in your dish or sides if possible. Sometimes restaurants will offer “light” or “low sodium” options to limit intake of fats and/or sodium. Additionally, look for dishes that can be steamed, grilled, broiled or poached.
  12.  

  13. Ask for dressings and sauces on the side – This allows you to control the amount you put on your food. A little goes a long way!
  14.  

  15. What’s the rush? – Take your time when dining out. Enjoy your meal and eat slowly, giving your body time to digest and let you know when you’re full. We tend to overeat when eating quickly and can end up with the feeling of being “stuffed.”
  16.  

  17. Save the best for last – if ordering dessert, steer away from options that rich in cream and fats such as ice cream, puddings, dense cakes or cookies. Look for fresh fruits, sorbets, angel food cakes for a lighter end to your meal.
  18.  

  19. DON’T FRET! If you found yourself eating too much or something that wasn’t the healthy choice you intended…well hopefully it was worth the calories. Resolve to eat healthier in the upcoming days and prepare to order more wisely the next time eating out.
  20.  

Do you have a way that you make healthy decisions when you go out to eat at a restaurant?

 

What tips would you add to the list?

 

We would love to hear what you have to say, so comment below!

 
 

Sources:
American Dietetic Association
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442470779&terms=restaurant
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/DiningOut/Ordering-Your-Meal_UCM_301471_Article.jsp
University Health Services
http://www.uhs.wisc.edu/health-topics/healthy-lifestyle/eating-out.shtml
USDA- National Agricultural Library
https://fnic.nal.usda.gov/consumers/eating-health/healthy-restaurant-eating
Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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The Easiest First Step to Eliminating Stress

 

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STRESS!

 

A word that causes many of us to cringe- work, meetings, appointments, finances, families, and hectic lifestyles can all play a part in increasing our stress levels. But what is it, really? Stress can be defined as any real or imagined threat to our bodies’ sense of wellbeing or, homeostasis. Our bodies naturally release hormones as a result of feeling threatened in preparation for fighting the stressor. These hormones can have a major impact on how well we function.

 

What stress causes …experienced any of these lately?

     

      • Headaches
      • Sleep disturbances
      • Nausea
      • Fatigue
      • Frequent illness
      • Irritability
      • Anxiety
      • Changes in eating habits
      • Long term “chronic” stress can have significant detriment to immune system function
      •  

So what can we do about it? Research has demonstrated that exercise CAN play a significant role in stress management and reduction! From the college-aged to beyond the empty nester, about 150 minutes or 2 ½ hours of moderate physical activity a week such as walking, yoga, swimming or jogging can help reduce the symptoms of stress. Bottom line, find an activity you like and get started doing it!

 

What exercise can do…want to experience any of these?

     

      • Improve your mood
      • Get a better nights’ sleep
      • Give you energy; increase stamina
      • Reduce risk for certain diseases
      • Improve immune function
      • Increase your self-confidence
      • Achieve better body composition
      • Better body awareness
      • Decrease depression and anxiety**
      •  

Where do I start?

 

Often the most difficult part of beginning an exercise program is dedicating time. One suggestion to help overcome this issue would be to start off with small increments of physical activity throughout your day. Research has shown that frequent bouts of exercise throughout the day, such as 3 increments of 10 minutes, can have as much benefit as one thirty minute session. Maybe you need to schedule appointments with yourself as a reminder to set aside time to work out as the times may change with variations in your schedule. Start small but be consistent. Another helpful tip is to find a partner – working out with a friend provides not only a social outlet but also accountability.

 

Citations:
Gutiérrez, Carmen Villaverde, Gema Torres Luque, Gracia M Ábalos Medina, Maria J Argente Del Castillo, Isabel M. Guisado, Rafael Guisado Barrilao, and Jesús Ramírez Rodrigo. “Influence of Exercise on Mood in Postmenopausal Women.” Journal of Clinical Nursing 21.7-8 (2012): 923-28. Print.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Stress Management.” Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress. Mayo Clinic, 21 July 2012. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
Smits, Jasper A.j., Angela C. Berry, David Rosenfield, Mark B. Powers, Evelyn Behar, and Michael W. Otto. “Reducing Anxiety Sensitivity with Exercise.” Depression and Anxiety 25.8 (2008): 689-99. Print.
Jackson, Erica M. “STRESS RELIEF: The Role of Exercise in Stress Mangement.” ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal 17.3 (2013): 14-19. Wolters Kluwer Health. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. <http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com.ezproxy.mc3.edu:2048/sp-3.11.0a/ovidweb.cgi?&S=JIIHFPFNCIDDNNHINCMKEDDCEGBKAA00&Link+Set=S.sh.22|1|sl_10>.
Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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7th Annual Registered Dietician Nutritionist Day

 

Today, Wednesday, March 12th is “Registered Dietician Nutritionist Day”.  The purpose of this day is to recognize the professional expertise and accomplishments of Registered Dietician Nutritionists (RDN).  There are two RDNs that have been helping clients of Body By Brent reach their goals by educating and developing lifestyle changes.  I wanted to take some time to highlight them both so everyone can become more familiar with them!

 

 Eat Right Bucks Bios

 

RDNs are licensed, with degrees and have extensive clinical experience that enables them to help a wide variety of people.  When you truly have questions about what to eat, how to lose weight or have been recently diagnosed, let true professionals help you.

 

Kristie specializes in:

 

    • Food Allergies & Intolerances
    • Weight Management for Adults, Kids & Adolescents
    • Nutrition Strategies for Families on the go!
    • Sports Nutrition for kids.
    • ADHD, Neurologic & Behavioral Disorders
    • Gastro Intestinal Disorders
    • Auto-Immune & Inflammatory Diseases
    • Celiac’s Disease & Gluten Intolerances
    • Eating organic and whole foods
    • Pregnancy, lactation & post postpartum weight loss

 
Andrea specializes in:
 

    • Diabetes
    • Cardiac & Heart Health
    • Weight Management for Adults, Kids & Adolescents
    • Gastro Intestinal Disorders
    • Oncology
    • Food Allergies & Intolerances
    • Vegetarian and clean eating
    • Healthy Living & Wellness

 
For more information on Registered Dietitians visit Eat Right Bucks where you can book your appointment online and find out if your insurance will cover your visits!
 
As always B3 Healthy, B3 Fit, B3 a Client!
 

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Client Appreciation Event | BODY BY BRENT

 
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We appreciate our clients! Join us on Thursday, February 27th from 5:00 to 6:45 PM for Client Appreciation Day and let us tell you how much we value you as a client!

 

There will be light food & drinks, raffles and a grand ol’ time!  If you know you will be able to make it, please RSVP @ info@bodybybrent.com!

 

We’ll see you there!

 

Client Appreciation RSVP


 

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Heart Health Month | Find Somebody To Love | BODY BY BRENT

 

Heart Health Month

 

We’re all very familiar with this story; Valentine’s Day is February 14th.  It comes every year without fail and proclaims ‘love’ to everyone.  Whether you have someone to share this day with or not, EVERYONE has somebody to love.  Your heart.  Your heart gives unconditionally until it cannot give anymore.  It’s time that you do the same for it.

 

February is Heart Health Awareness Month.  The forefront organization in leading the way to bring heart disease to light is the American Heart Association.  The American Heart Association is a national voluntary health agency that helps reduce disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.  They created “National Wear Red Day” on February 7th along with “Go Red For Women” to raise awareness of heart disease in women.  You can read more about “Go Red For Women” at their official website, www.goredforwomen.org/.

 

Over the next month, there will be a three part series of posts that highlight the disease, exercise for heart disease and nutrition for heart disease.  To make sure you don’t miss any of them, feel free to subscribe to the blog from the home page.

 

Part 1: WOMEN AND HEART DISEASE

 

Being that today, February 7th, is ”National Wear Red Day” it’s only fitting that we talk about heart disease in women.

 

Heart disease and heart attacks are generally thought of as a “man’s disease”.  This is not the case.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, accounting for 1 in every 3 female deaths (2).  Despite heart disease being the leading cause of death in women, only 54% of women recognize heart disease as their number #1 killer (1).

 
What is heart disease?

       

    • Heart Attack – blood flow to the heart is reduced severely or cut off completely.  (4)
    • Arrhythmia – abnormal heart rhythm that may feel like fluttering or a brief pause. (3)
    • Heart Failure – chronic condition where the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body. (6)
    • Stroke – a blood vessel going to the brain is blocked. (7)

 
Common Myths of Heart Disease, Men & Women
 
Most of the female related deaths are a result of misconceptions on symptoms and who heart disease can affect (see above).(5)
 

Myth #1: Heart disease is for old people.

Myth #2: Heart disease won’t affect the fit.

Myth #3: Heart disease is for men.

Myth #4: You don’t have any symptoms.

Myth #5: Heart disease runs in my family and there’s nothing you can do about it.

 

What are some of the symptoms?

 
Most of the common areas and signs of a heart attack (1):

    • Chest: dull to heavy chest pain.
    • Indigestion, heartburn and nausea/vomiting.
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Shortness of breath
    • Pain in the neck/jaw/throat, upper abdomen or back.

 
Here’s where women differ (1):

    • Women are more likely to describe chest pain that is a sharp burn rather then dull and heavy.
    • Women more frequently have pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen or back.

 
In some cases there are no symptoms at all.   Almost two-thirds (64%) of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have had no previously reported symptoms.(1)
 
This raises the importance of getting screened by your doctor for high blood pressure and high cholesterol and continue to get regular check ups.  This way you can catch potential health issues before they arise.
 
What can you do?
 

You can manage your modifiable risk factors for heart disease.  These risk factors are ones that you can go out and do something about!

 

  • Physical Activity/Exercise.
  • Cigarette Smoking.
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Obesity
  •  

    1) Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Accessed on February, 7, 2014.  From http://www.cdc.org/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_women_heart.htm
    2) American Heart Association.  Accessed on February, 7, 2014.  From https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/facts_about_heart_disease_in_women-sub-category/statistics-at-a-glance/
    3) American Heart Association. (2012).  Answers By the Heart.  http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300290.pdf.
    4) American Heart Association.  ”Heart Attack”.  Accessed on February 7, 2014.  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/AboutHeartAttacks/About-Heart-Attacks_UCM_002038_Article.jsp.
    5) Common Myths About Heart Disease. American Heart Association. Accessed on February 7, 2014. https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/facts_about_heart_disease_in_women-sub-category/myths-about-heart-disease/
    6) About Heart Failure.  American Heart Association.  Accessed on February, 7, 2014.  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/AboutHeartFailure/About-Heart-Failure_UCM_002044_Article.jsp
    7) What is Stroke.  American Heart Association.  Accessed on February 7, 2014.  http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/About-Stroke_UCM_308529_SubHomePage.jsp

     

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January is Healthy Weight Awareness Month

 

Maintaining a healthy weight over your lifetime is important for your overall health.  

 

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Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

A healthy weight is achieved by balancing two components, physical activity and nutrition. Both are essential and cannot exist without the other for optimal health.

 

What kind of physical activity?

 

Physical activity should be viewed in three phases: recreational, occupational and structured.  A complete lifestyle overhaul should be addressed in all three.

 

Recreational:  These are your hobbies, interests and what you do in your free time.  It could be horseback riding, gardening, golf, hiking, skydiving, etc.  If you don’t have any “down time” activities that require movement then I suggest simply walking in a park on nice days to enjoy everything around you.

 

Occupational:  This can be difficult if you have a sedentary/desk job such as an accountant or graphic designer.  If your job doesn’t require a lot of movement then you must concentrate more of the other two components.

 

Structured: This area is comprised of planned movement. You decide to go to the gym, join a basketball league or vow to play golf every Saturday.  This area is also necessary to maintain the ability to continue your occupational and recreational activity.

 

What’s the deal with nutrition? 

 

Nutrition means lifestyle.  It is not a diet.

 

It does not mean you drink shakes for 30 days and lose 30 pounds.

 

It does not mean you eliminate a food group (unless for medical reasons) for a period of time or forever in order to lose weight quickly.

 

It does not mean “eat this for 1 week and lose 5 lbs”.

 

It means changing your “diet” for your lifetime.

 

Making changes that you are capable of doing for your life and understanding the balance that is required. It may be that you need to speak with a Registered Dietician who is educated, has years of experience and runs a licensed practice whose job is to help people with their nutrition.

 

What is a healthy weight?

 

This is a loaded question.  The problem with height & weight tables and Body Mass Index (BMI)  is that they fail to take into account lean body tissue or muscle mass.  Choosing your ideal weight based upon these tables will have you frustrated and discouraged because of the daunting task of losing for example 40-50 lb.  Here is the way I look at a healthy weight.

 

A healthy weight is comprised of three components.  

 

First, a weight which a person can perform activities of daily living without undue fatigue. You should not feel like you ran a 5k when doing your laundry.

 

Second, a weight that is not associated with cardiac risk or other co-morbidities. When you go to the doctor for your physical and get blood work, you should not have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
 

Third, a weight which a person can still perform the following movements to the highest level and without pain: push, pull, squat, twist, lunge, walk/run and crawl. These moves should be done with proper form through full ranges of motion and rank in the high percentiles for norms for a person of similar age.

 
One caveat to the three components I just mentioned are genetic disorders or family history of certain diseases that are out of your control.  For example, heart disease runs rampant through some families regardless of physical activity levels and nutrition.
 
Hopefully, this helps changes someones perception on what a “healthy weight” looks and feels like.  I would love to hear everyone’s comments or questions on the topic as well!

 

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Your Guide to Healthy Eating this Holiday | BODY BY BRENT

 

As everyone travels over the next week for family and friend holiday parties, here are some tips from Andrea Young, Registered Dietician, of Eat Right Bucks for eating healthy everyday, at parties and while making your favorite holiday dishes!

 
What tips or techniques do you use during the holidays for healthy eating?
 

Healthy Holiday Eating

 
photo
 

 By Andrea Young, RDN, LDN

 

 
Everyday Healthy Eating 
 
• Do not skip meals
 
• Bring your lunch and snacks to work 
 
• Contribute something healthy to the break room at work
 
• Always have healthy snacks prepared and easy to grab 
 
• Put away the holiday treats, freeze them and eat them slowly or give them away
 
• Eat healthy majority of days, so holiday party calories aren’t so bad
 
• Chew gum when preparing holiday goodies, no need to sample your recipe as you bake it
 
• Extra food is a waste! Whether it’s waste in the trash or waste on your body!
 
• Don’t forget about exercise! Not only will it relieve stress it can balance calorie intake!
 
Healthy Eating For Holiday Parties
 
• Start your day with a small healthy meals
 
• Have a healthy snack before going to the party
 
• Prepare your favorite healthy holiday dish
 
• Wear snug clothes
 
• Settle in and relax, survey your food choices
 
• Be a food snob, only eat what you like 
 
• Skip the appetizers
 
• Trim back the trimmings (extra gravy and toppings)
 
• Calories from alcohol add up fast! Drink water between drinks to stay hydrated and cut back on the calories 
 
• Socialize away from the appetizers and buffet 
 
• Savor Every Bite!

 

 
Make These Substitutions For A Healthy Holiday 

 

 
• Use 2 egg whites in place of 1 egg
 
• Use low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth in mashed potatoes to add flavor and cut back on added butter 
 
• Substitute applesauce for oil or butter in muffins and quick breads like banana bread

 

• For dips, sauces and pie topping use fat-free yogurt in place of cream and whipped topping

 

• Sliced almonds make a delicious crunchy topping

 

• Choose reduced-fat or low-fat cheese

 

DSCF0840Andrea Young, RDN, LDN
Eat Right Bucks County
875 N. Easton Rd, Suite 6B
Doylestown PA, 18902
215-230-1900
www.EatRightBucks.com
 

 

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3 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

 

Although this holiday season should be filled with joy and happiness, that’s not always the case.  Coordinating plans, events, parties and figuring out whose parents you’ll be visiting this year can all lead to stress.  Pamela J. Ginsberg, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist shares her thoughts and knowledge managing holiday stress.

 

3 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

 
Pamela Ginsberg Guest Blog Post
 

Holiday stress can be overwhelming and debilitating.  We are busy with all of our regular busy life stressors, and then add a very large burden of social requests, requests for contributions of money, time, and food, and our own expectations for making the holiday special each year for family and friends.  People are stressed all the time, and the holiday season often makes things feel impossible.

 

Here are three basic tips to help:

 

1)  Let go of perfectionism.  If all the holiday decorations, presents, cookies, outfits, and responsibilities must be done perfectly, you are in trouble.  Perfectionism breeds anxiety and shame.  We connect more to those who are not perfect, because we relate more to those who show their vulnerability and imperfections.  Perfect is impossible.  Shoot for happy and meaningful instead.

 

2)  Make choices.  Learn to say “no” to things.  This is very difficult for women especially, because we feel that we are disappointing people when we say “no.”  But when you make thoughtful choices about what you WANT to do and what you don’t want to do, you can then participate in activities and gatherings that are meaningful to you and bring you joy, rather than those that just bring you more stress and discomfort.  You have the right to choose.

 

3)  Take time to remember those who are not with you.  The holidays can be a particularly stressful time when you have lost someone that you love.  Create a ritual to remember your loved one, that can be repeated each year.  Light a candle, hang an ornament, or place flowers or a wreath for that person.  By taking the time to do this activity, you bring your loved one into the holiday and give them a dedicated moment to remember or pray, and then you can move on with your day with a sense of a burden lifted.

 

Remember to take a moment to look around, be grateful for all your blessings, and enjoy this special time of the year.

 

Happy Holidays!

 

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