Reduce Holiday Stress
By Cindy Clemens, Life Coach
Holiday times are historically one of the most stressful times of the year for most people. What is for many a joyous, happy and/or spiritually-based time often is comprised of frantic activities, shopping and gastronomic marathons and an increase in both stress and illness. The following tips can help reduce the stress and prevent accompanying low energy levels that lead to susceptibility to illness, the “blues,” fatigue, irritability and generally a negative holiday experience.
1. Manage Your Time — Don't Let It Manage You
Decide what your priorities are regarding holiday events such as parties, family functions, gift buying, cooking and all other related activities. Put them in order of priority and give yourself an “ample” time deadline for each thing. DO NOT wait until the last minute unless absolutely necessary or it will be hard for you to not feel pressure and stress.
2. Do Not Over-Commit
Learn how to say "no," with a smile and firm conviction. You only have so many days and hours to squeeze in family, friends, business get-togethers, gift buying, food preparation, gift wrapping, traveling, packing, etc. If you can spare some time to help others, fine. Make sure you have plenty of time to get your things done first however and that whatever you commit to is within your physical and emotional abilities. If you find at the time a party or other event comes up that you feel very tired or even ill, cancel or ask for help. Don't play “superman/woman.” Holidays are to be enjoyed. “Less is often more” and will also often be of higher quality.
3. Don't Take “Token” Time Off Work
Unless your profession requires you return to work the day after a major holiday, take an extra day or two if the holiday doesn't spill over into a weekend, to recoup your physical and emotional strength. "Happy" times are every bit as stressful as sad or unpleasant events. Don't be fooled by thinking that holiday events cannot be very draining. If you work for yourself and plan ahead to do it, take 2-3 days after a major holiday to catch up on sleep, clean up your house and travel home in a relaxed time frame.
4. If Possible, Don't Spend Holidays Alone
Holidays are not happy times for some people for various reasons. If you live alone and dread the holidays or a particular holiday, spending it alone will usually add to you feeling depressed and very isolated. Whatever uncomfortable feelings you associate with a holiday will be exacerbated by spending it alone. If you have friends or relatives, see if you can join them for a part of it. If not, volunteer your time to work at a food center where the holiday dinner is served and prepared. Whatever you can do to get the focus out of yourself and the “past,” the better off you will be. While it is fine and healthy to remember events or lost loved ones on holidays, it need not be either a negative or the entire focus of the holiday for you.
5. Avoid or Be Very Moderate with Artificial “Stress Reducers”
Most holidays include the sharing or offering of alcoholic beverages. Since for many people alcohol is one way to combat stress and even despondency, it is wise to limit your intake if you wish to limit your stress. Alcohol actually is only a “temporary” stress reducer. In large amounts, or in combination with a lot of chocolate and caffeine-laced food and drinks, it can actually cause your adrenal glands to secrete more adrenaline and other “stress hormones,” causing you to feel worse than if you had nothing to drink at all. Since alcohol is also a “depressant,” it will increase the feeling of being "low" as well. Drink with food and pace yourself. The best stress reducers are laughter, listening to and/or singing music, helping others, being loved and sharing love and, for many, communion with their church or faith through private or public ceremonies and events.
6. Accept Your Limitations
This is tough to do, since we often want to do all kinds of things on a holiday and don't realize how much time and energy it will take from us in the end. Think about what you really have to do and really want to do. Then think about what you realistically have adequate time and energy to do. Follow those guidelines and you will perhaps do less and not see as many people, write as many holiday cards, or cook as many cookies or pies, but you will be much less stressed and enjoy the holidays considerably more. Simple concept. Put it on paper and stick to it.
7. Help Others/Volunteer
This is especially good for the person who lives alone or is all alone as far as family and friends. New in town? Volunteer to work at a local church or shelter to help feed the homeless and the poor. Create your own sense of "community" by being with people who are also alone and, in most instances, far worse off than you physically and financially and perhaps emotionally as well. The more you give, the more you will get back in blessings and good feelings yourself. It may not happen the same day or all at once, but it will happen. When you see that the best gift you can give is yourself, your spirit and spirits will rise and be reinforced with a warmth and strength which is better and longer lasting than any gift or holiday party.
8. Prepare For Events In Stages
If you are going to be cooking for a large group on one or more occasions, shop ahead and prepare what you can ahead of time, whether it is the day before or the night before. Many types of casseroles, baked goods and snacks can be made 1-2 days in advance and kept fresh in a freezer or refrigerator in sealed containers or their own cooking dish. If you have 100 cards to be addressed and mailed, block off 15-30 minutes every day to work on them starting 2-3 weeks before they need to be mailed. If they are custom cards, order them so you get them in good time to address them without rushing. Shop all year around for gifts. When you see a sale, look for possible gift ideas and put them away until the holiday comes. This alone can save much time (and money). And you avoid the holiday crowds in the stores and malls. Cutting up your work in blocks of time instead of doing it all at once (with some exceptions gifts-wise and food-wise) can cut your stress level by a large amount.
9. Be Yourself: Drop Expectations Of Yourself And Others
Every holiday is different and each year the experience you have on the same holiday will vary. Placing expectations on yourself to cook the perfect meals, go to all the parties, pick the right gifts (in the right sizes and colors) and to be entertained and to entertain everyone you are with, is a setup for stress and disappointment. Plan what you want to do, do things in your own way and accept the outcomes. You always do your best at the time. Your motives are good and loving. Accept that you will never be all things to all people and realize that is the nature of every human. To try and be the perfect hostess or host, buy the perfect gift and plan the flawless get-together is not realistic. Be thankful and grateful to be able to do what you can do with the people you care about and love and let it go at that. Stress and post-holiday blues set in when we are overly stuck on how people will respond to our food, our gifts or even our presence. Keep in mind why the holiday originally was created or named as a “holiday” (holy day?). Have fun in your own way, respect others to do the same, take it a minute or an hour at a time and both your happiness level and your holiday experience will be enhanced and will not feel like a chore or an annual struggle or obligation.Add a comment
Stress Buster for the Holidays
Lie on the floor with a small pillow under your head. Your knees should be slightly bent. Put one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Draw deep breaths into your abdomen and feel it rise. Your chest should hardly move at all. Belly-breathe without your chest moving and exhale through your nose.Add a comment
Broccoli and Cauliflower
These cruciferous vegetables are known for their role in reducing cancer risk. In addition, they contain high amounts of vitamin c, folate and fiber.Add a comment
Finding Direction at Red Mountain
By Cindy Clemens, Life Coach
A Red Mountain Resort adventure is a great way to honor your life.
First, it allows you to slowdown and get off the 24/7 grind with amazing sunrise hikes, fitness classes and spa treatments. Of course you are free to stay connected while at Red Mountain, but why not give yourself the treat of unplugging and relaxing for a few days. Lounge in the numerous hammocks on the grounds, enjoy the relaxation room at Sagestone Spa, walk the spiral labyrinth or soak in the soothing waters of the outdoor or indoor pool.
Second, you will be inspired to examine your life path, set new health and fitness goals and clear the blocks that have kept you stuck in life. Red Mountain offers many professionals with whom you can consult, including a life coach, nutritionist, energy healer and many others. And, it is easy to meet kindred spirits – other guests who are also taking a look at their lives and making some course corrections for the better.
Third, you will be nourished and replenished by doing what you want to do — what makes you smile and gets you excited. While at Red Mountain you can even try something new, such as rock climbing, kayaking, pottery school or even tai chi out on rocks. Even if you come to Red Mountain with other people, you will still get lots of ME time because you can go separate ways and meet up at dinner to compare your days.
By Myrna Beardshear, Director of Spa, Fitness & Health Services
In the clutter and pressure of the holidays, we need to take whatever time is necessary to be free of stress and feel great about our lives. This means we need to pamper ourselves and do special things for ourselves that will make us feel good. In doing so, others will feel good about being around us. Especially, it is at this time of the year that so many of us allow the special people or partners in our life to feel neglected.
When we get in the habit of doing things graciously for ourselves we start to develop a romantic life that we can share with others. Take time each day to tell yourself that you’re special and that you love yourself. Smile, listen to your own voice and think good thoughts. Look your best and be charming. Be sensuous. When you can be all these things for yourself you can take on creating a romantic environment for others.
When you wake up in the morning, instead of drinking your morning beverage in that old holiday coffee mug, try a china mug or a decorated cup and saucer. Remind yourself that you’re serving someone you love and want to please.
If you like to exercise try spraying the room with an invigorating aromatherapy spritz before you start. Instead of your sloppy old exercise clothes invest in something new and pretty. Don’t just jump into the shower, but take the time to have a relaxing bubble bath and have a ten-minute rest afterwards wrapped in a luxurious terry robe.
If you’re having a meal alone, take time to prepare a tray for yourself with pretty china a cloth napkin and a flower.
Take time to plan a special shopping spree. Enjoy being able to go out holiday shopping for some soft romantic clothes for your special times at home and if you have a loved one sharing your life, surprise them with a holiday gift of lingerie or a silk robe or pajamas.
Remember all the fun you used to have just cuddling on the couch with a beverage and the winter fireplace crackling. Well even if the old couch is long gone and the logs aren’t real, you can bring back romance at home with just a little planning.
If you want to plan a special, romantic evening, let your partner know ahead of time so that they’ll be in the mood. Send an invitation, tuck a note into a pocket, scented with your favorite fragrance or merely hint that you will be waiting tonight. Make a phone call to remind him/her about the wonderful evening you are planning.
A romantic evening at home requires the right atmosphere. Make arrangements to have to children stay overnight with family or friends.
A romantic lace cloth over a normally bare table and candles with romantic fragrances set the tone of the room. Low lights – music that you both enjoy and a comfy place to snuggle add to the affect. Bring pillows to the couch or lay them out on the carpet. Have food and drink nearby on the living room table and turn off the television and the ringer on the phone.
Take time to make up a menu of romantic food for your special evening. Make sure it can be prepared ahead of time. Finger foods can prove very satisfying and are often fun to share with someone or even feed to someone.
Buy some fresh flowers to place in the living room and bedroom. Remember, you’re trying to create a romantic evening and a very special escape from the holiday rush. Therefore, try some of the following flowers:
Roses – harmonious and patient love
Tuberose – peace and love, emotional control
Lavender – spiritual love, true love and romantic
Spider Lily – love and peace.
Stock up on just the right candles. Use soy candles with essential oils such as rose, sandalwood, cedar, ylang-ylang and bergamot.
There is nothing more soothing and loving than a gentle caress, a hug, a pat on the fanny or touch on the hand. Someone, just gently stroking your hair as they pass your chair and a special look from across a crowded room. This is love in action, tenderness, affectionate touches and looks. These little actions can reassure, communicate, soothe and keep your love life glowing and romantic and enhance your holidays.
Take time during the holiday season and throughout the year to live graciously and romantically and remember to express your love often – for yourself and the special people in your life.Add a comment
A wonderful alternative to beef, this form of red meat does not contain any rBGH or antibiotics, and is not an inflammatory food.Add a comment
Pumpkin Treatments for Your Skin: Spa at Home with Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
By Myrna Beardshear, Director of Spa, Fitness & Health
It seems that, no matter how hard I try, I cook too much of everything for Thanksgiving dinner. I have found some wonderful ways to indulge myself while not over-indulging over the holiday. I do this by putting aside some of the prepared foods before preparing them for the dinner table.
Pumpkin is my favorite skin treat. It is an excellent treatment for all skin types, especially environmentally damaged or sensitive skin. Rich in Vitamin A (skin healing), C (anti-oxidant) and Zinc, the pumpkin soothes, moisturizes and acts as a carrier, assisting the other mask ingredients to absorb deeper into the skin and intensifying the results.
Pumpkin puree has enzymes and antioxidants that offer results similar to gentle alpha-hydroxy action; It removes dead dull cells, while its beta-carotene-rich antioxidants nourish your skin. This will moisturize and nourish your skin, leaving it smooth and glowing.
Pumpkin Body Mask
1/2 cup cooked or canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup solids from a can of coconut milk (Coconut solids are a natural moisturizer)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (ground cinnamon is gently warming, stimulating and antibacterial)
- Making sure they are at room temperature, mix ingredients in a bowl.
- Apply generously to clean skin, massaging gently to work well into the skin. (I like to do this while standing on a towel in the bathtub and then I sit on the towel while waiting for the mask to work).
- Allow the mask to remain on for about 10 minutes, a good time to do some breathing and meditation to relax you after all those hours in the kitchen.
- Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Pumpkin Pie Face Mask
2 teaspoons cooked or canned pumpkin, pureed
1/2 teaspoon honey (humectant, regenerative)
1/4 teaspoon milk, or soymilk (alpha hydroxyl acid, enzymes digest skin cells)
For Dry Skin:
1/4 teaspoon heavy whipping cream (moisturizing; alpha hydroxy acid)
For Oily Skin:
1/4 teaspoon cranberry juice (high in antioxidants critically important to the utilization of essential fatty acids to maintain balanced, nourished skin)
- Combine the ingredients for your facemask.
- Mix gently and apply to your face avoiding the eye area.
- Relax for 10-15 minutes while your Thanksgiving mask gently exfoliates, nourishes and conditions your face.
- Rinse with warm water and apply the appropriate moisturizer for your skin type
and allow the mixture to penetrate for 15 minutes. Rinse with tepid water.
Add a comment
Calming Cranberry and Orange Herbal Bath
To relax and unwind this season, save half a cup of those wonderful fresh cranberries you bought in an overly energetic moment to make fresh cranberry sauce. Tie the cranberries in some clean muslin and crush them slightly before adding them to hot bath water. Allow bath water to cool for about 10 minutes and add 8-10 drops of essential oil of orange. Test that water is not to warm and soak for about 20 minutes.
Soothing Eggnog Soak
If you buy eggnog over the season, save some of it to try yourself to a luxurious bath.
For super hydrated skin this winter, add 4 cups of eggnog and 8-10 drops of ylang ylang essential oil to warm bath water. Relax in the tub for 20 minutes. You’ll enjoy the luxury of the wonderful milk bath and your skin will feel smooth and soft.
Resources for pumpkin recipes:
Cait Johnson, author of Witch in the Kitchen (Inner Traditions, 2001).
Lipman World, newsletter, Issue 2: Volume 1 2004, www.lipman world.com
Focus & Recharge
By Tracey Welsh, General Manager
As you find yourself distracted by the busyness of every day life. Step back - to gain the clarity, commitment, and courage to move forward. Allowing yourself the time to focus and recharge to create a plan to move ahead creates balance and reduces your stress immensely. Too often we move with the intensity of the busy world around us, and find ourselves more stressed because we make the wrong move, and didn't give ourselves the time to plan.
Reduce stress and balance by taking time to take care of yourself, as this is what you can control. As Red Mountain Spa Life Coach Cindy Clemens says, "Resign as the Master of the Universe" and take care of you.
Nurture yourself with healthy food. Get outside and enjoy nature. Fill yourself with the endorphins created by exercise and you'll find yourself with a more positive outlook and more energy. This is the perfect time to try something new, like yoga, tai chi or meditation to learn stress reducing techniques.
Page 12 of 16«StartPrev111213141516NextEnd»