December is here, and as the temperature drops, your stress level rises. It’s nobody’s fault really, there is no one thing that you can blame for the stress level this time of year; it’s really a combination of things.
You may be asking yourself, “Why does my Chiropractor even care about my stress levels?” The answer to that question is a simple one: stress affects your spine. Stress causes the muscles in your back, shoulders and neck to contract, and the longer they are contracted the more damage they are doing to your spine. As the spine shifts, the interference to your spinal cord causes additional health problems. As impossible as it may seem, it is time for you to enjoy a stress-free holiday.
Beginning the day after Thanksgiving and running right up to Christmas Eve, there never seems to be enough time in the day. You can’t help but worry about all of the things that aren’t getting done, and fixing a healthy meal for your family falls under that list of concerns.
You’re not alone, retailers and restauranteurs have come to realize that even the busiest family still wants to eat healthy and they’ve answered that need.
- Curb Side Pickup – several restaurants have added “Curb Side Dining” to their menu. Call or order online, drive to the restaurant, park in the designated parking spaces and someone brings your food right to you. Applebee’s and Outback Steakhouse are just two of the restaurants offering this service.
- Orders to Go – most family restaurants have always offered orders “to go”. Some more common names would be Denny’s and Carrows.
- Deli Meals – Increasingly common and convenient are supermarket deli counters. Most offer rotisserie chicken, both traditional and ethnic self-serve hot and cold food counters, and there are salad bars and pre-packaged salads and fresh soups.
Feeding your family on the go doesn’t have to mean McDonald’s; there are healthier alternatives that are just as easy and cost effective. A deli meal will actually feed a family of four for less than you would spend at your local fast food place.
Decorating the house, putting up lights, finding a tree and all the other trappings that go with this holiday tradition can become a stressful situation. The kids all want to help, the tree has a bald spot, mom and dad can’t agree on which lights they usually use for the outside or where one strand ends and the other begins, and no one can find the star. If this sounds familiar there are a few things you can do to avoid this in the future.
First, the Christmas lights. It’s no surprise that TV commercials joke about the giant ball of Christmas lights that no one can sort or the strand that won’t work because one bulb is burnt out.
This is a common problem that can be quite stressful when the kids are begging to help but no one can pull the lights apart. The most important thing to remember is that these lights only cost about $2 a strand. For $10 you can start over.
Go to your local department store or corner drugstore and buy 5 new strands. The real stress reliever will be when you take them down. Follow these four easy steps and you will never stress over Christmas Lights again.
Step 1 – Cut the flaps off a sturdy cardboard box and cut a 1-inch notch on the end
Step 2 – Wrap a strand around the cardboard and then tuck the end into the 1” notch
Step 3 – Write “inside” or “outside” on the exposed cardboard with a Sharpie to make it clear where these lights were used
Step 4 – Repeat for all other strands of lights
Next year, when it comes time to decorate, the lights will be untangled and marked where they should be used.
Another common decorating stress factor is the ornaments. It can be a disaster for a little one when you unpack the ornaments and the angel they made last year in arts and crafts class is crushed. To help avoid this tragedy in the future, most department stores are offering ornament storage containers. This is a fantastic item since it comes with compartments to store the ornaments that will protect them from damage.
By keeping your decorations safe and easily accessible you can relieve stress from future holiday decorating.
Stress-Free Gift Giving
No, this is not an oxymoron; it is possible to give gifts completely guilt and stress free. It’s no secret that finding the right gift can be a real headache; you think you know someone and what gifts they want, but when you’re standing in the department store the gifts you think they would like are either way out of your price range or they aren’t “thoughtful” enough.
Believe it or not there are several gift ideas that you can put together for around $10 that will be meaningful and appreciated. Starting with, everyone’s favorite, the gift basket. But to find one that’s affordable and that actually has items in it that won’t go to waste isn’t always easy. So, make your own.
Step 1 – Go to a craft or dollar store and purchase baskets, cellophane wrap, stuffing and wide ribbon.
Step 2 – Go to your local video rental store and take advantage of their “Previously Viewed DVD” selection.
Step 3 – Pick up a box of Microwave Popcorn and Carnation Instant Cocoa at the local grocery store.
Step 4 – Build your basket.
For those that don’t have a DVD player, you may want to substitute a VHS tape or Christmas CD; or build a basket using mugs, cocoa mix, and marshmallows.
Of course, maybe gift baskets aren’t your thing; if this is the case you can never go wrong putting together an equally thoughtful gift bag. Buy the latest bestseller in paperback, find a subtly scented candle and throw in a few candy canes to make it festive.
An equally charming gift bag for a man could include the latest issue of his favorite magazine, a newly released CD or a novel, with a tin of almonds and a mug with his favorite sports team on it and you’ve got a great gift.
A final idea to give any gift a real personal touch can be found at a novelty website like www.orientaltrading.com. Here they offer ornaments that can be personalized with a photo or by writing names on them. Use these instead of nametags; children love looking for their picture on their present and parents love using them next year on the tree. This idea can give gifts a real “wow” factor.
Top Five Tips for Stress-Free Living
#5 Get plenty of rest – a restful, rejuvenating sleep can mean a stronger healthier immune system.
#4 Review your diet – eating more fruits and vegetables as well as healthy proteins will improve your health and your energy levels.
#3 Delegate – learn to share the load. Your tasks may not be done as well as if you had been in charge, but at least they will be done and with fewer thing on your list.
#2 Plan Ahead – expect the unexpected. Always have two or three extra gifts (for both a man or a woman) wrapped and ready to go for that unexpected visitor.
#1 Just say NO – you can’t be everything to everybody. It seems so wrong to say such a thing during this time of year, but you are only one person with one family and you can only be one place at one time. There comes a time when you need to be able to say no.Leave a reply →