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Care New England Health System
Care New England Health System

November 2012 - Healthy Holiday Resources

Taking care of yourself should be at the top of every wish list you write...

Underneath the tinsel and greenery decking the halls this holiday season can be a not-so-thin layer of anxiety, sadness and stress that threatens to unravel like a ribbon on a carefully wrapped package. The hustle and bustle, the endless lists of things you need to do after work each evening or cram into the weekends, the parties to attend (bearing a homemade version of your grandmother’s famous fruit cake), and the pressure of creating memories for generations in your family can become too much for anyone to bear.

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We understand that, mostly because we’re struggling with the holiday traditions and obligations right along with you. There are ways, of course, to alleviate some of the stress we heap upon ourselves through New Year’s. We’d like to offer you the collective wisdom of the health care providers in the Care New England health system this holiday season. Our nutritionists offer pointers for healthy eating and navigating the holiday party buffet line. Our mental health professionals provide insight into conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression that might help you better cope. Our physical therapists outline the benefits of exercise during the holidays to alleviate depression and stress.

As you focus on your health through the season, you might also want to consider sharing the gift of health. Care New England offers a wide variety of programs your friends and relatives would love – a membership to our Wellness Center, a session with a massage therapist, or a class of their choice from our extensive calendar. Maybe you could even treat yourself to something as a reward for getting everything done.

Check out the articles and the resources we have at Care New England, and remember that the holiday season can only be merry and bright if you feel healthy both physically and mentally. Taking care of yourself should be at the top of every to-do list your write.

Are You Feeling SAD?
With fall and winter upon us, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the "winter blues," affects one to three percent of adults and can markedly decrease a person's quality of life and functioning. SAD shares characteristics of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The major difference, according to Lawrence H. Price, MD, Clinical and Research Director at Butler Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Alpert Medical School of Brown University, is that SAD symptoms follow a seasonal pattern, usually during the fall/winter months, with a full remission occurring in the spring/summer. Learn more about SAD

Butler Hospital's Depression Homepage

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  Healthy Holiday Tips
Thanks to the clinicians at Butler Hospital for providing these five tips to help you and your family enjoy the holiday season to its fullest.
  #5 - Don't Avoid Meals
We all may be challenged by holiday meals but some of us are "freaked" out by the prospect. Don't avoid those meals! Don't eat too much or too little! But how? First, find out the menu from your host or hostess in advance (or make your best guess if you can't). Second, make out a meal plan that includes the specific foods and quantities but stay within your comfort zone. Finally, find someone who can provide you with support and help you follow the plan. Be prepared and enjoy the festivities!
  #4 - Exercise Exercise Exercise
Get off that couch and move your body! Exercise releases your body's natural endorphins and can help you overcome some of that holiday stress. Take a long walk outdoors in the sunlight – it will help treat seasonal mood struggles. Focus on making healthy changes in your daily routine and do something positive for yourself each day. Even small changes can make a huge difference.
  #3 - Be Realistic
Family traditions often evolve as the members of a family grow and change. Rigidly holding on to a commitment to recreate every tradition will often lead to disappointment. Be open to creating new traditions or to allowing the old ones to be enhanced by the changes that this new season brings.
  #2 - It's OK to Ask for Help
If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease or another kind of movement disorder, remember that even minor falls can cause injuries that are a difficult to recover from, which can really put a damper on enjoying the holidays. So, if you’re tempted to climb ladders or step stools while decorating, or to shovel when it snows, let someone else do it. Staying engaged with family, friends or neighbors is important, so invite them in to warm up and make hot chocolate or tea together afterward.
  #1 - Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Remember that there is no 'perfect' holiday season. Striving to make the holidays like a picture-perfect, Hollywood scripted movie is neither practical or possible. Not expecting perfection from yourself or others ensures a holiday season with less headache and more happiness. The holidays can bring both joy and stress. Throughout the month, our doctors will share their favorite tips on how to make the season a little happier.
Care New England Health System
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