Health

Managing the holiday stress

BY DR ANDRENE CHUNG

Sunday, December 09, 2018

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IT'S the most wonderful time of the year! But with holiday shopping, traffic, long supermarket lines, and all your relatives in one place, that happy holiday spirit is soon replaced with a hectic holiday stress.

Instead of singing carols or wrapping gifts, you could find yourself spending the holiday in a hospital suffering from a stroke or heartache, caused by the pressure the season can bring.

Whether you're in perfect health or not, stress can have awful effects on your body, so Your Health Your Wealth partnered with Partners Interventional Centre of Jamaica, the state-of-the art cardiac care facility to provide you with some tips to steer clear of stress this Christmas.

Stress-free holiday shopping tips

• Ask people what they want instead of scouring the earth to find the “perfect” gifts. If you still want to surprise them, ask for a wishlist of desired gifts and then choose one.

• Shop early and do your homework. Instead of hoping to find what you need while strolling along the shopping centres, call ahead to ensure the stores have what you want and head out early when there is more of a selection.

• Stick to your gift budget. Make a list, check it twice and then stay on target. Always have a plan B in case your perfect gift would end up breaking the bank.

The perfect plan for family get-togethers

• Buy prepared foods, instead of cooking everything from scratch. Where you can, work smarter, not harder by letting your favourite supermarket handle some of the menu.

• If you're worried that someone else won't be able to make the mac and cheese the way your cousin loves, then pull on the entire family for support. Ask others to bring their favorite dishes or have everyone pitch in to make the meal come together! Remember even the little ones can stir or carry silverware. It's the perfect way to spend more time with the people you love and take some of the pressure off you.

● Cook and freeze foods ahead of time. Pop it in the oven or microwave an hour or so before dinner time. Trust us, no one will be able to tell!

Be stingy — with your time we mean!

• Don't over-schedule yourself. You might want to say yes to every favour, engagement, party, outing or event, but sometimes the best gift you have give others is staying away rather than showing up late only to stay for ten minutes, frazzled and distracted the entire time. Say no to the smaller things so that you can be present (mentally and physically) at the things that matter.

• Allow time for yourself. Remember to do things that you enjoy. Even five minutes to walk or take deep breaths can make the world of a difference. Take the time you need to finish tasks that are important to you. Don't try to complete everything at once or alone.

• Don't spend all of your time planning activities for your family. You might end up feeling drained and unappreciated when your children would rather watch TV and your relatives arrive too late to participate.

• Avoid time crunches by planning ahead and preparing for setbacks. This might be the year that the dessert burns or someone spills the juice. Remember that everything doesn't have to be perfect, either!

Do good to

• Avoid overeating and overdrinking, especially alcoholic beverages. Remember the real reason for the season isn't what you're eating but what you experience with those you love.

• Avoid starving yourself in anticipation of eating at holiday parties. This approach can lead to eating too much of the wrong foods.

• Continue to exercise and watch your diet. Short walks or active games with family are great stress relievers and help you work off your meals.

• Stop to enjoy the fruits of your labour. You worked hard this Christmas! Take the time to pat yourself on the back and enjoy it.

• Rest when your body tells you to. If this year, dinner is an hour later than usual, it will still be delicious!

• If you feel chest pain, don't ignore it or decide to wait until you have the time to check it out. Make the time. Your health is a priority.

Dr Andrene Chung specialises in invasive cardiology at the Partners Intervention Centre of Jamaica (PICJ) located on the second floor of the Medical Associates Hospital and is the current chairman of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica. Call PICJ at 1 876-613-0165 or visit them at 18 Tangerine Place at the first sign of chest pain.

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