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The twelve days of wellness

Karen Van Scoyk

— Snow falling softly, beautifully lit holiday displays and Christmas caroling with hot chocolate afterward all make for a vision of a peaceful time of year. It’s a vision that can be far from the reality of this busy time of year.

The holiday season can be joyous, nerve-wracking or even distressing. Here are some ideas that may help you keep the chaos in check. The 12 days of wellness is a guide to taking control and choosing wisely. Make your own priority list, check it twice and enjoy a healthy holiday season.

1. Proper rest. Lack of rest is a setup for getting sick, being irritable and decreasing your chances of enjoying the holiday fun.

2. Exercise! I suggest actually putting your workout time into your appointment book and honoring it as just that an appointment. Hiring a personal trainer is a big incentive, as you know your trainer is waiting for you at your appointed time.

3. Wise nutrition. If you commit to exercise, it will help counteract some of the extra eating and drinking you may do throughout the month. Now is a good time to pull out those healthy recipes you’ve saved and give some of them a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at how good lower-fat dishes can taste. Check out a healthy cookbook or get on the Internet to learn about altering traditional favorites to make them less calorie-laden without sacrificing taste.

4. Time management. Keep your day timer or appointment book at your fingertips to make sure you are not overcommitting, double-booking and making yourself frantic. Getting invitations is wonderful, but it pays to set priorities and make thoughtful choices about how much you really can do.

If you have children, their events have to be squeezed in as well. Even when you’re at the party and they’re at home with a sitter or at a friend’s for an overnight, one too many nights of this and everyone melts down.

5. Smart shopping. The easy solution is shopping locally for most gifts and using catalogs and the Internet for the rest. You’ll avoid the hassle of power shopping (which could result in impulsive buying) and the stress of winter driving over Rabbit Ears Pass. You could spend a couple of relaxing, fun evenings with the family browsing for all sorts of enchanting presents in the comfort of your home and let someone else do the mailing.

6. Family, friends, community. These are the reasons we live here. As this is a time for thanks and good will, what better way to express this than spending time with the important people in our lives. If you don’t have immediate family here, just step out into the many community events. There is warmth and caring everywhere. Take advantage of this gift because no one needs to be lonely or alone in our community.

7. Relaxation. You take time to relax other times of the year, so why should anyone deprive you of that now? Practice yoga, meditate, listen to seasonal music, reflect on what is good in your life. This will keep you feeling more peaceful and serene.

8. Giving. You can give someone a compliment in a card, a donation in their name to their charity of choice, or a gift of help in a time of need when the holidays are over. Money doesn’t buy everything. Creative gifts of the heart can warm the soul.

9. Safety. Tipsy Taxi is here for a reason. You can have fun and let someone else do the driving. Home safety is important to remember as well, especially if you have young children visiting. Child-proof your home before your guests arrive, for everyone’s comfort.

10. Mental Health. If the holidays are an emotional time for you, you aren’t alone. Support groups are plentiful and easy to find by checking the newspaper. We also are blessed to have many excellent mental health practitioners in our valley. Help is as close as a phone call.

11. Plan. Take the time to decide what you and your family want to do, what’s feasible and reasonable, and then stick with your plan. If you start to feel overwhelmed, review your plan and see what you might eliminate.

12. Rest. Go back to No. 1 and have a most happy, enjoyable holiday season.


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