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Holiday Season Stress
How to stay happy & healthy this holiday season
The holidays are upon us. This is a season that is supposed to be all about joy and happiness. And for the most part, it is, especially for little ones. Time off of school, receiving gifts and eating all those delicious homemade cookies make a recipe for unforgettable memories that last a lifetime. But, what about us adults? Are the holidays good for us or do they pose a hazard to our health? Most of us are aware of the emotional toll that the holiday season takes on us.
As I was researching to find ways to stay emotionally healthy this time of year, I came across some very interesting and eye-opening findings. Have you ever heard of heart problems such as the “Merry Christmas Coronary” and the “Happy New Year Heart Attack”?
Holiday Season & Heart Disease
Studies have shown an increase in heart-related deaths during the holiday season with 2 discrete peaks in cardiac death—one for Christmas and one for New Year’s eve/day. Scientists often wonder why? Is this a coincidence or is there a cause and effect relationship?
Here are some possible reasons:
- People may be too busy to seek medical attention or see a doctor
- Even if they see the doctor, there is usually fewer staff members who are familiar with individual patients during holiday on-call schedules
- Increased emotional stress due to visiting relatives, and feeling obligated to spend more time entertaining and less time resting
- Increased intake of food, salt, fats, alcohol, sugar
- Increased upper respiratory infection, influenza due to hanging out with more people and exposure to pollution from wood-burning fireplaces
- Colder weather can often cause increased resistance to blood flow in arteries, coronary spasm and blood clot formation
To stay healthy and on track, here are a few suggestions:
- Pay attention to your feelings. It is best to take a break before you reach your limits.
- Make some time for yourself. Spend 10 to 15 minutes alone, without distractions each day.
- Lift your spirits and make new friends by volunteering
- Give gifts. Gift giving can bring you happiness. According to 2008 research from the University of British Columbia and the Harvard Business School, people report greater happiness when give gifts for others or on charitable donations than they do when they buy things for themselves
- Think before you spend. It’s easy to get caught up in buying gifts but instead, take some time to consider the deeper meaning of the holidays. Give more unconventional gifts that don’t involve money
- Enjoy the foods you love but slow down and chew. Take a deep breath before the next bite. Allow your brain to catch up with your stomach
- Limit alcohol and sugar intake
- Play games that make everyone jolly. Charades, Freeze dance and Musical chairs are much more fun than discussing the news or controversial subjects
- Get moving and help out with set up and clean up. It is a good physical activity
Of course, the main purpose of the holidays is to connect with those we love. Put away your phones and electronic gadgets. Go for a walk and take all the goodness in. The holidays will be over before you know it.
Sharzad Green, Pharm. D., is a hormone replacement specialist & pharmacist at Community Clinical Pharmacy, in Mesa, Arizona. She offers private Hormone Replacement Consultations to find a tailored solution that fits your needs. Sharzad has had the privilege of working with over 12,000 patients and providers in the Valley and around the world.
When in doubt, contact one of our knowledgeable pharmacists at Community Clinical Pharmacy. We are here to offer you solutions and assist you in making informed decisions about your health.
related topics you’d like to know more about. And, as always, stay healthy!
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