Tag - holidays

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Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday
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A Holiday Safety Checklist….
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7 Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays
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Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday

By: Leah Hollenberger

Tips to reduce holiday stress

The holidays can be one of the most stressful and emotional times of the year.  The loss of loved ones is felt deeply, financial worries, and stress over trying to fit in holiday activities along with daily life all contribute. There are two steps to helping make the holidays easier and more enjoyable. The first step is being honest with how much you can afford to spend for the holiday and sticking to your budget. The second step is focusing on what is most meaningful to you and your family and letting go of all the other activities and events that we tell ourselves must be a part of the holidays. This can be hard given all of the commercials, movies, and others’ traditions and expectations that are shared this time of the year.  Here are some tips that may help:

Speak with your extended family or friends in advance and mutually agree to provide gifts only for anyone under the age of 18.

For the adults, hold a Yankee Swap. Set a reasonable price limit, which is fair to everyone. You’ll find people will get creative. It is fun watching everyone open the presents and you’ll have a lot of laughs with the trading and swapping that ensues!

If you enjoy making gifts, try making one gift your signature gift for the holiday season. Make multiples of the item and give it to every adult on your list. Think homemade cocoa mix, granola, canned or preserved items like jam or pickles, candles, and the like.

Realize that once you give a gift, you are not invested as to if the recipient likes the gift. Of course, you hope they love it, but if they don’t, it is not a reflection on you. Let it go. It is fine if they want to re-gift or donate the item so someone else can enjoy it.

Give experiences as gifts; tickets to a play, a museum pass, a restaurant gift card – something that encourages the recipient to spend time with someone they love.

Give your time: a coupon to babysit; a calendar with an offer to get together monthly for a “walk and talk;” a bag of your homemade cocoa mix with a note to get together to watch a favorite tv show; an offer to drive them to the library, grocery store or laundromat, etc.  You could even suggest volunteering at the food share, nursing home, or with a local non-profit together.

Have your children shop with you for each other, within the budget you set. Siblings typically do a great job picking out a gift for each other – and it means more knowing their brother or sister picked it out especially for them.

The 4-gift rule is popular: one gift is something they want, one gift is something they need, one gift is something they wear, and one gift is something they read. I’m not sure where this rule originated, but it works for everyone and helps you stay on budget.

Figure out the two or three things that you love the most about the holiday and focus on them. If you love the lights on the Christmas tree but dislike decorating it, why not go with just lights on the tree? Make just one or two kinds of Christmas cookies instead of four or five. Better yet, participate in a cookie-walk if you want a variety of cookies. Area churches often hold them and promote them via Front Porch Forum.

Instead of going out to dinner, or fixing a fancy meal, suggest a potluck instead or serve a simple meal with a fancy dessert. Meet after dinner and take a drive around town to see the Christmas lights. Or play a board game with Christmas music playing in the background.

Simplify the expectations you have for yourself and others and you’ll find your holiday is less stressful and filled with what truly matters: spending meaningful time with family and friends.

What tips do you have for making the holidays less stressful?


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

A Holiday Safety Checklist….

By: Jessica Bickford

 

It’s that time of year when we create lists to make sure that we don’t forget the important details of our celebrations. Today we’d like to provide you with a list for keeping yourself, your family, and your guests safe and healthy this holiday season.

Prescription Drug Safety – More information is available at https://www.healthylamoillevalley.org/prescription-drugs.

____ Lock or safely secure prescription drugs and other medicines.  Talk to those you may be visiting to share this information with them as well.

____ Talk to younger children about NOT eating any “candy” without checking in with an adult first.  Many medicines look like candy to young children.

____ Talk to children and teens about the importance of not taking medicines prescribed to someone else.

___ Remove unwanted or expired prescription drugs from the home by bringing to one of the three year-round prescription take-back sites in our region: Hardwick Police Department, Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, and Morristown Police Department.

___ If you have young children, sit on the floor or crawl around the places where they will be playing. It is not uncommon for a dropped pill to be unnoticed.

Alcohol

____ Offer fun, non-alcoholic drink options for guests. This helps youth to see that they don’t have to have alcohol to have fun and provides a nice choice for those who choose not to drink alcohol.

____ Monitor your alcohol. Serving or providing alcohol to minors is illegal and not good for them.  Assign an adult to ensure that youth do not have access to alcohol. Lock up open bottles of alcohol such as rum or brandy. Did you know that youth who use a drug, like alcohol, before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to struggle with substance use at some time in their life? Not a pleasant holiday gift…

____ Monitor your guests. If you choose to serve alcohol, you are responsible to make sure that your guests are in a safe “state of being” to drive. Even “buzzed” drivers create fatalities.

____ Talk to your kids and teens about your expectations and the importance of waiting to consume alcohol until they are of age. Parentupvt.org has some great resources to help with these conversations! 

Tobacco

____ Talk to your children and teens about the dangers of tobacco products. Tobacco products come in many forms (e-cigarettes, chew and smokeless products, etc), but none are safe. The tobacco industry targets youth with use of flavors. You can find more at http://www.counterbalancevt.com.

____ If you have guests who smoke, prepare a designated outdoor smoking area out of the way of passersby where others will not be exposed to secondhand smoke. Or consider asking them to not smoke while at your home.

____ If you have guests who use smokeless tobacco products and e-cigarettes ask them to refrain from using in your presence, especially around youth.

____ If you or someone you know is ready to quit or thinking about it… share with them our local Vermont quit smoking resource, http://802quits.org.

General

____ Create a family check-in system. Family and friends’ gatherings can be wonderful or stressful. For our kids, they can be a time of connecting or a time to be challenged to try risky behaviors. Develop a plan with your children and teens to check in periodically throughout the gathering and help them to have a plan to get out of tricky situations without creating an awkward situation. Sample ideas include a keyword or phrase; asking if they can help; an invitation to join in a game…

____ Bring age-appropriate games or activities for your kids with you. You can help bring the fun… creating a joyous and safe environment!

____ Check out tips for safe food storage ahead of time! http://www.healthvermont.gov/environment/food-lodging/food-safety-consumers

____ Plan to have some healthy food options. Even a simple plate of raw vegetables is a pleasant break between the abundance of sweets and heavy holiday foods.

____ If you have a live tree, water two times a day. Consider adding a teaspoon of sugar every three days to feed the tree and keep it fresher longer.

____ Check your holiday lights. If there are any exposed wires or broken cords, discard and replace.

____ Depending on the length of your gathering, consider planning some opportunities for physical activity such as sledding, skating, a snowshoe, or a simple hike.

____ Don’t forget to check on your vacation days from work.  If you can take them, do! It’s healthy to take breaks from our work environments.


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

 

7 Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays

By: Rorie Dunphey

Traditionally, the holiday season is often full of rich, buttery comfort food shared with family and friends. Although it is important to celebrate and treat ourselves to the array of delicious food, it does not mean that binging on holiday favorites is the best idea. Holiday weight gain is common, but it can be minimized or avoided if you consider a few tips during the season.

Limit your indulgences, but don’t eliminate them all together: Sweet and savory treats during the holidays are abundant and inevitable. You don’t have to completely omit desserts and treats during the holidays, rather try to be selective and limit your portion size. You’ll find that even a small bite can satisfy your sweet tooth and may help stop a binge later on.

Enjoy the party fare, but don’t graze. Fill your plate with lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Once you have served yourself, move away from the buffet and enjoy the conversation! If you are the host, serve healthy options like whole grain crackers and salsa instead of chips, or fresh fruit and vegetables.

Be mindful of what you eat. Research shows we feel fuller with less food when we eat mindfully. Little unconscious nibbles throughout the day, like a piece of candy from a co-worker, a few ‘tastes’ of the cookies you baked, or those tempting food samples in the grocery store, can add up fast and prevent you from enjoying meal time. Here are tips to help you eat mindfully.

Pace yourself: When eating a meal with your family or enjoying appetizers at a party, slow down and eat consciously. Try not to race through the food on your plate. Instead, chew slowly – you’ll also be more aware when you’re feeling full.

Drink more water: Water is essential for healthy body functions, including metabolism. Dehydration negatively affects your muscle tone, slows the fat-burning process as well as inhibit digestion. Also, try to stay away from liquid calories.

Get enough sleep: Studies show that lack of sleep can cause hormonal changes, which can then lead to craving more calories per day. Although the holiday season is busy, don’t compromise your nighttime rest.

Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day: If you can’t possibly fit a longer exercise into your routine, try to split it up into shorter chunks of time. Also, mix aerobic activity with strength training and flexibility for a complete exercise routine.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays

By: Rorie Dunphie

holiday-pies

Traditionally, the holiday season is full of rich, buttery comfort food shared with family and friends. Although it is important to celebrate and treat ourselves to an array of delicious food, it does not mean that binging on holiday favorites is the best idea. Holiday weight gain is common, but it can be minimized or avoided if you consider a few tips during the season.

1. Pace yourself: When eating a meal with your family or enjoying appetizers at a party, slow down and eat consciously. Try not to race through the food on your plate. Instead, chew slowly and enjoy the conversation around you. You’ll also be more aware of when you start feeling full.

2. Limit your indulgences, but don’t eliminate them altogether: Sweet and savory treats during the holidays are abundant and inevitable. You don’t have to completely omit desserts and treats during the holidays, rather try to be selective and limit your portion size. You’ll find that even a small bite can satisfy your sweet tooth and may help stop a binge later on.

3. Drink more water: Water is essential for healthy body functions, including metabolism. Dehydration negatively affects your muscle tone, slows the fat-burning process, and inhibits digestion. Also, try to stay away from liquid calories.

4. Get enough sleep: Studies show that lack of sleep can cause hormonal changes, which can then lead to craving more calories per day. Although the holiday season is busy, don’t compromise your nighttime rest.

5. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day: If you can’t possibly fit longer exercise into your routine, try to split it up into shorter chunks of time. Also, mix aerobic activity with strength training and flexibility for a complete exercise routine.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.