by Robert Walker, Program Director at ‘Ekahi
Wellness Tips Adapted from Ornish Living Magazine
Christmas and New Years are often a time for gathering, for family, and for celebration. It's a joyous time for many – but even the most memorable holidays can be fraught with chaos and stress. After all, it’s tough to unwind when there are presents to purchase, meals to prepare, and parties to plan. Without taking time off for yourself, you might just find yourself rushing into the New Year as tired as you were before the holidays. Here are some tips that’ll help you unwind, as well as make each day a positive and productive one.
Regular exercise helps you stay productive and energetic during the busy holiday season. Plan back up options as well – during the holidays, our days tend to include some surprises. It’s important to have a Plan B – maybe it’s a half hour with an exercise ball and resistance bands at home. Or maybe it’s a light walk after dinner: just 30 minutes of walking per day can lower your risk for heart disease by 27%.
Love and Support
Due to the nature of the holiday season, we spend a lot of time reflecting. Give yourself something positive to reflect on each day by giving thanks. Show your appreciation for others with a text, call, or email. Psychology research shows that gratitude correlates highly with greater happiness, improved health, and stronger relationships. Showing our appreciation helps us focus on the positives rather than the negatives after a tough day.
There are many types of meditation that can result in physiological benefits: guided meditation uses mental images to help you relax, transcendental meditation uses a repeated sound or phrase to empty your mind, and mindfulness meditation focuses on the present moment. Often we only have a few free minutes each day, but finding a quiet place to sit and meditate can lower your heart rate, lower your cortisol and adrenaline levels, and slow your breathing.
When we’re stressed, we become more susceptible to decadent food and drinks. But it’s important to remember that taking care of yourself will transform your holiday experience. Put your plan for holiday wellness into writing – and remember, the indulgent food is just a perk of the holidays! Our continued health is important and gives us the ability to enjoy the holiday season for many years to come.
We hope these tips help you have an enjoyable and healthy holiday season! But remember – the best holiday plan is the one that you make your own. On behalf of the team at ‘Ekahi OrnishLifestyle Medicine, we wish you a joyous holiday season and a healthy New Year.
About Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Medicine
‘Ekahi Health, a member of the ‘ike family of companies (www.ikehawaii.com), is an innovative healthcare delivery organization that provides comprehensive community-based care focusing on primary care and prevention and wellness. It was the first organization to offer the Ornish program to the people of Hawaii. For more information about ‘Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, visit www.ekahiornish.com and follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.