The holidays are upon us. It is a time of family and friends, hot cocoa and cookies, firelight and brightly lit trees, big bows and wrapping paper. Unfortunately, it can also be a time when we try to do too much and end up stressed and exhausted. If you have already been hard at work and are feeling stressed, here are some ideas from the UK Health Education through Extension Leadership (HEEL) December newsletter that can help you relieve stress this holiday season:

  •  Volunteer — Taking the time to help out at a local church or community center is a great way to relieve stress. Helping out others is a way to really see what the holiday spirit is all about and spread feelings of kindness to others.
  •  Eat right — During the holidays there is a tendency to eat foods that we might not normally eat. We may also pick up a lot of processed foods because it is nice and easy. But we will feel better, and it is better for our bodies, if we eat simple and wholesome foods. Try a new recipe or if you do not have a lot of time, find some quick and easy meal ideas.
  •  Exercise — Exercise and physical activity are great ways to keep you stress level down. Find a little bit of time, at least 10 minutes three times a day for 30 minutes total, and get moving. You will be amazed how much energy you feel like you have after a little physical activity.
  •  Stop worrying — There are many things that we worry about that we have no control over. Try to let go of worries that you cannot control. Instead focus on things in which you can find a solution.
  •  Get some rest — It is easy to stay up later than normal to get everything done on our list of “to-do’s,” but it is important to get your rest. If you have been off your normal schedule you can get run down, try to get back to your normal sleeping patterns. It is recommended that adults get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
  •  Do something special for yourself — If you can, take the time to get a massage or get your nails done. Treat yourself to a little something that you would not normally do for yourself.
  •  Limit alcohol — If you drink alcohol, limit how much you are consuming. It is easy to drink too much at a party or when you are distracted. It is recommended that women drink no more than 1 serving in a sitting and men should drink no more than 2 servings in a sitting.

For many people, the holidays are a time of happiness and cheer. But for some people it can be a time of sadness and depression. In fact, depression is not uncommon both during and after the holiday season. If you are feeling depressed, there is nothing wrong in talking to someone about how you feel. It does not mean that there is something wrong with you. In fact, it is smart to talk to someone else.

Take a deep breath and follow some of these tips for easing your stress during the holidays.

If you need a last minute stocking stuffer, consider the “Christian County Homemakers Cookbook.” Although this has been around for a few years, it is still a great cookbook. It has 1,073 recipes from local people. As with most local cookbooks, when someone puts their name on the recipe, you can count on it being great. The cost is only $12 and they are available at the Christian County Extension Office, 2850 Pembroke Road. The phone number is 270-886-6328.

Also available is “Living Well — More than a Cookbook.” This is a hardback book full of recipes and household hints from family and consumer science agents in the extension service from across the nation. It also is available at the extension office.

MARSHA O. PARKER is the Christian County extension agent for family and consumer sciences. She can be reached at 270-886-6328.

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