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Healthy, Happy Holidays

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The emergency room is about the only place people can go for  health problems during major holidays, and each holiday presents its own health risks. Take for example:

  • Fights by intoxicated guests as to who will carve the turkey sometimes result in serious injuries.
  • EMTs arrived at one home to find a man lying stabbed on the floor by his brother with a carving knife. Yet his injury did not stop him from eating as much as he could “because he knew once he got to the ER he wasn’t going to get any more food.”
  • The new trend in deep-fried turkey has increased the number of reported burns as a result of hot oil spatters, splashes and spills.

The majority of Christmas and Thanksgiving ER visits are the result of simple overindulgence and the resulting pain and nausea. Eating too much for some people could also be life-threatening. 

While the hustle and bustle of these days can actually add to an already busy and stressful life, following a few simple steps can go a long ways to make yours enjoyable and happy.

  1. Plan ahead. It is usually the last minute rush that creates the stress and takes the fun away from the celebrations. By spreading the myriad “to-dos” over several months the holidays will be more relaxing and rewarding.
  2. Continue physical activity. This will help you deal positively with the pressures of the holidays–and burns extra calories that you are tempted to eat. 
  3. Sleep enough. Adequate rest can be a bit like a tranquilizer! Fatigue increases irritability and decreases our ability to cope with stress–and lowers resistance to all the holiday indulgences. You will be more fun to be around, too!
  4. Stay spiritually grounded. Don’t let all the holiday details rob your time with God. Good planning and lifestyle habits are not a substitute for the peace and strength that comes from the Lord. “Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble” (Psalms 119:165).
  5. Be generous. Not every good gift costs lots of money. In these economically difficult times be creative. Make something special for those you love, or for some the gift of time in a visit might be more appreciated than a costly present.
  6. Don’t forget the traditions. Every family has them. It may be a favorite activity, a special delicacy, a unique way of decorating the tree, singing favorite songs around the piano, or listening to familiar music. These “old favorites” provide feelings of warmth that we all need. You may want to start new traditions, too. 
  7. Make the holiday meals healthy. Special and healthy are not oxymorons! Find recipes that are lower in fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar. Modifying the old favorites with less of these often results in better taste–and most people will not know the difference! (We at PositiveChoices.com believe that a meatless meal is the healthiest.) No matter how healthy the food, avoid eating too much.
  8. Avoid the alcohol. Too many special occasions are spoiled by drinking. Friendship and fellowship are truly enjoyed to the fullest with clear minds. You’ll be a safer person, too!

It is our prayer that during these holidays “that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him.” “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (Romans 5:13 and I Corinthians 9:15).

 

Author

For over 35 years, Dr. Hardinge has been communicating the message “Your choices can lead you to be healthy and more productive!” to a wide variety of audiences. His background includes pastoring, academic teaching, community health education, corporate training and consultation, administration and private health counseling.