"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" Stress and the Holidays
The holiday season is upon us once more. Already, we are seeing Christmas lights appearing on houses and in shop windows. Christmas music is playing on the local radio station. And, Christmas movies are being shown nightly on certain television channels, interrupted by commercials advertising where to find the perfect gift. The holidays can definitely be a wonderful time of the year. It is a time for friends and family to gather and celebrate. It is a time for gift giving and receiving. And, it is also a time to reflect upon our lives and the current year and what we want to see in the coming year. However, for many of us, the holiday season can bring extra stress, anxiety and sadness. For some, the financial costs of celebrating the holidays can seem overwhelming. Others may feel heightened anxiety as they search for the perfect gifts; or, as they try to find the extra time to decorate, cook, bake, attend events or parties, and make time for family and friends. And, for many others, the upcoming holiday season may not be joyous at all due to a life altering event, such as the death of a beloved partner or family member, an unexpected illness or loss of employment. These feelings of stress, anxiety and/or sadness may even be caused or intensified by the ever present global pandemic from COVID-19.
If you, like so many others, are already beginning to feel the stress and anxiety of the holidays, read the suggestions below on how to find ways to reduce that stress.
Step 1: Keep COVID-19 in mind-- Let us first acknowledge that this year's holiday season is going to look different than any that we have experienced. With increasing COVID-19 cases being seen across the country, top health experts are already advising against large gatherings for the holidays. When planning for the holidays, keep in mind the advice given to us by our medical professionals. Click on the CDC link to read the advice offered to us about safely gathering with friends and family members. If you plan to travel out of state, make sure you know the guidelines and any restrictions for the state that you are traveling to. Step 2: Talk it out-- If this holiday season is giving you more stress and anxiety than usual, don't be afraid to reach out and share these feelings with someone you trust. Open up to a friend, family member or health professional about your fears and concerns that this season may bring. Especially if COVID-19 has left you feeling more stressed, anxious or isolated- share those feelings with someone. **If you, or someone close to you, needs additional help dealing with the strain COVID-19 may be having on your emotional health, please seek out help and support. For more information, click on the link for resources provided by the Utah State Health Department. Step 3: Budget-- The financial costs for celebrating the holidays can be overwhelming for many families and can cause major stress. One way to help is to create and STICK with a budget. Do not just budget money for gifts, create a budget for the entire holiday season which includes: decorations, entertainment, food and gifts. Be realistic with yourself, being debt free is worth more than any present. Around 28% of Christmas shoppers enter the holiday season, still paying off debts from the season before (MSNBC). Step 4: Keep Healthy Habits-- During the holiday season, try to get plenty of sleep. Exercise regularly. Take advantage of sunny days and spend time outdoors. Eat healthy meals and eat consistently; do not skip meals in preparation for an upcoming holiday meal. However, it is also important to enjoy the foods you love during the holidays. Depriving yourself may lead to even more guilt and resentment. Try to find a good balance of making both healthy choices and indulging in your favorite treat. Step 5: Relax-- During the busyness of the season, do not forget to take time out for yourself. Take time every day, even if it is just a few minutes, to slow down and relax. Soak in a warm bath; wrap up in a blanket and read a good book or watch your favorite holiday show; meditate or just take a nap. Making time for yourself each day will help you recharge and hopefully the holidays will be more enjoyable than stressful.
Overall, try to slow down this holiday season and remember why you are celebrating. Reach out, maybe virtually, to family members and friends to show your love and gratitude for them.
Will the COVID-19 pandemic never end?! Here we are in November, 2020 which means that the world has been living and dealing with COVID-19 for almost a year. Currently in Utah, the rising rates of this disease are higher than ever. It doesn’t seem too long ago when we watched as places like Italy and New York started reporting high numbers in the thousands and now, Utah is doing the same. It has been a couple of days since Governor Herbert declared a new state of emergency with stronger executive public health orders. To read about these orders in full, click on the following link:
With these new orders, and with the much colder temperatures that this week has brought, many of us may once again be spending more time at home. For some, staying home more often may seem like a blessing, while others may see it as a curse. However you may feel about it, let us try to be optimistic and make the most of this time. To help you through the next couple weeks, and probably more, I have compiled a list of activities to try. I have sought out ideas from online, coworkers, friends and family members.
Start a new exercise routine. Exercise has countless benefits, which include reducing stress and anxiety
Start and finish a project, such as: organize your closets, clean out the garage, organize your pictures etc.
The holidays are getting closer. Have the kids make homemade decorations or gifts. Click on the link below for some ideas:
It is hard to believe that November is here and that the year 2020 is almost over! With November comes the end of Day Light Savings Time, meaning shorter days with darkening skies appearing before most of us have left work. There is a definite chill in the air that does not seem to altogether disappear, even when the sun is shining brightly. November also brings elections for national and local officials, Veteran's Day, and the beginning of the holiday season. Before November is in full swing and our minds are focused on the upcoming holidays, let us not forget about our own health. November is National Diabetes Month and November 14th is World Diabetes Day. The American Diabetes Association's theme this year is "We Stand Greater Than Diabetes." Let us take a moment to learn more about this disease, its causes, risk factors, symptoms and treatments.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of Americans. Even if you do not have diabetes, you probably know at least one person in your life that may have one of the three types of this disease: type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes. Diabetes happens when our bodies no longer produce enough insulin or our cells stop responding to insulin and too much blood sugar stays in the bloodstream. Without proper treatment, diabetes can lead to more serious issues such as heart disease, kidney disease and vision loss. If you would like to learn more about how insulin works in the body, click on the video below.
Here are a few basic facts about diabetes provided by the CDC-
Approximately 34 million Americans have diabetes; only 1 in 5 know they have it
Approximately 80 million Americans are prediabetic; only 1 in 3 know that they are
Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States
Diabetes is the #1 cause for kidney failure, lower limb amputation, and adult blindness
Over the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has doubled
90-95% of adults are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
The medical cost and lost work and wages for people with diabetes in the US is over $320 billion
As you can see above, diabetes is definitely a cause for concern and that is why we should learn more about the disease and take action if we or our loved ones are at risk. One of the biggest concerns we see from the fact list above is the rise in numbers of adults being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is when our body's cells do not respond normally to insulin. The onset of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by making lifestyle changes. Some of these changes include: eating a well-balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and exercise. Click on the link below from the American Diabetes Association to see if you are at risk; or, watch the video from the CDC about knowing the risks of diabetes.
ADA Risk Test
There is so much for us to learn about diabetes. As stated above, if you do not have the disease, there is probably at least one person in your life that does. Education leads to understanding. Join in the cause this month of becoming more aware diabetes and how it is impacting the lives of those around us; or, how it is impacting your own life. There are many great resources out there. Click on any of the logos below for the CDC or American Diabetes Associates for more information about this disease. The information found in the links can help you better understand the causes, risks, symptoms and treatment options for diabetes. If you find yourself at high risk for diabetes, consult with your doctor. Also, Bear River Health Department offers a class on Diabetes Prevention; more information can be found by clicking on their logo below.