With the holidays can come feelings of depression and stress as a result of people's high expectations about the season.
"The holidays bring out the blahs in many people, especially those who recently lost a loved one or are separated from their children," said Dr. Thomas Simmer,Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan vice president and corporate medical director.
But these feelings aren't limited to people separated from loved ones, Simmer added: "It can be brought on by the stresses of going over-budget on gifts, and trying to complete all the tasks we have added to our schedules because of the holiday."
Early warning signs for holiday depression include having a shorter temper than normal, sleep pattern disruption, losing interest in activities you enjoy, and overreacting to minor annoyances.
In addition to exercising, Simmer suggests, you can reduce your anxiety and depression level by trying some of the following:
— Realize the holiday stress level is real.
— Surround oneself with a supportive network of family members and friends.
— Accept family members for the way they are. They aren't about to change just because it's the holidays.
— Begin new traditions, such as creating a memorial holiday stocking, to remember those who have passed away.
— Delegate chores and responsibilities. No one has time to do everything, but almost everyone has time to do something.
— Set a budget and stick to it.
— Use moderation when engaged in shopping, eating or drinking. Find a recipe for a non-alcoholic beverage for your holiday gathering.
— Remember you are not alone.
Some other tips, courtesy of Aruni Nan Futuronsky, the Retreat & Renewal program director at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Lenox, Mass., include:
Notice how your body feels throughout the day and in different situations.
Are you holding your breath or clenching your jaw? Noticing the physiological markers of stress is the first step to alleviating it.
Cultivate the habit of loosening up your body and shaking off tension. Whether you are in an airplane or shopping mall, you can shrug your shoulders, give yourself a hug, tuck your chin to your chest or simply yawn to release tension in your upper body.
Can't resist holiday goodies? Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day to offset the effects of sugar, alcohol, caffeine and turkey with all the trimmings.
A few deep, slow breaths go a long way to helping your body unwind and to clear your mind. Set a timer or post sticky notes on your computer monitor as a reminder to breathe deeply at least three times a day. Transcend tension during traffic and commutes by taking a few deep breaths, making sure to exhale completely.
Never mind the errands, put yourself into "time out." Just five to 15 minutes of sitting quietly or stretching out on your bed will do wonders for your mood. Consider making at least one area of your home off limits to anyone but you.
"May I a small house and a large garden have; And a few friends, and many books, both thrue, both wise, and both delightful too!"
Special K Bars
Combine 1 C sugar and 1 C Karo syrup in large pan and bring to a boil. Stir in 1 1/2 C peanut butter mix well. Remove from heat. Add 6 C Special K cereal. Stire well. Press into well greased 11 x 13 cake pan. Take 1 C Chocolate Chips and 1 C Butterscotch Chips and melt together in microwave. Blend and spread over bars.
One of the planet's most versatile grasses; bamboo can be eaten, worn, used to build shelter and boats - it's an amazing product of nature.
Quotation of the month:
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature." Helen Keller
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Butter, for greasing dish
12 ounces wide egg noodles
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (packed) grated Fontina
3/4 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan
3/4 cup (packed) grated mozzarella
4 ounces cooked ham, diced, optional
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.
Whisk the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, ham, if using, and parsley. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Toss the remaining 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the noodle mixture. Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.