Get a handle on stress NOW!

by Valorie Cooper

It’s November and the holidays are upon us. How quickly the year passes! The holiday season will pass quickly too, and we all know that our list of to-dos can grow more pressing with each day. Dr. Swank would remind us that the occurrence of exacerbations increases after the holidays, and he would encourage us not to become statistics.


The best way to get through the holidays healthy and happy is to remember the reason for the season. No matter your spiritual or religious persuasion, or lack thereof, the holidays are about joy. So take a moment NOW, before the official rush begins, to remember your particular reason for celebration.


Then, take a deep breath and meditate on your purpose for these next couple of months. Next, make a plan. Write down what you HAVE to do and what you would LIKE to do during this special time. “Have-tos” have to get done. “Would-likes” are to be added to your schedule only if you find yourself with extra time and energy to spare. Create your to-do list for each week and each day. If you break things down and work toward your overall goal a little each day, as part of your master holiday plan, you can get done what you have to get done and actually enjoy your holidays.


Once you have your master plan sketched out, taking one day at a time is much easier. Stay focused, and remember to build in adequate time for resting. Plan your shopping and cooking times to avoid the big crowds. Then, enjoy wrapping presents and preparing meals at a slower, more enjoyable pace. Save the fancy meals for special days, and prepare simple, freezable meals in advance for regular days.


Play your favorite music while you decorate and cook. Keep your favorite warm beverage heating on your cooktop and add some fresh greenery to your décor. These small touches will add holiday scents to go with the sights, sounds and flavors of your season. Engage all your senses with holiday favorites, and you will create more lasting and more meaningful memories with ease.


Think back on your most treasured holiday memories. Isn’t it the simple things that really matter most to you? Focus on making the simple things memorable and taking enough quiet time for yourself, and you will have a wonderful holiday season this year!