Integrative medicine: Stay healthy during the holidays

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The holidays are here -- a time of frenetic shopping, eating, traveling and socializing. A time of gaining that holiday 10 pounds and of getting the holiday blues. While you are busy with the added chores and stress of the season, we would like to encourage you to spend some time to focus on your mind, body and spirit health.

Since we know it may be hard to do in this chaotic season, here are some quick reminders that will leave you hale and hearty to ring in the new year.

HOLISTIC HOLIDAYS HEALTH LIST:

1. Move into wellness. Find a way to commit to exercise 30 minutes a day, daily. This will provide balance to the excesses of the season.

2. Say no to the sweet tooth. Processed carbs (bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, pies, etc.) can wreak havoc on your health during this holiday season. Pre-plan how you will limit your intake of these things and still enjoy the season. Limit desserts to two a week, for example. Say no to eggnog or eat only your favorite carb in the buffet line.

3. Give where it counts. Take a step back from a focus on "affluenza" -- shopping, gifts and material acquisitions. Volunteer your time or resources instead to a favorite cause, shelter, pet adoption agency, nursing home, community activity or school.

4. Focus on spirit. Find activities or places that give you a sense of peace and fulfillment (nature, prayer, reading, yoga, hobbies/sports). Carve time out for these this holiday season.

5. Watch the bubbly. Alcohol-related accidents and deaths rise during the holidays. So avoid drinking and driving.

Alcohol, stress and depression can all be interrelated during the holidays. See a counselor or your doctor if you get the holiday blues, and avoid seeking solace from the bottle.

6. Practice gratitude. What are you grateful for this holiday season? Reflect on three things you are happy for each morning, and you will find your day starting in peace.

7. Let go of the need to be perfect. Your house need not be immaculate, the cards need not be done on time, and all the holiday parties need not be attended. Do the best you can; everything else will fall into place. Surrender to the flow of life.

8. Shave down your to-do list. Write down a list of things you must do this holiday season. Now cut off one-third of the activities that are not absolutely essential. Your mind and body will be more peaceful this season because of it.

We hope you have a great holiday season -- holistically!

(Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden are medical directors of Sutter Downtown Integrative Medicine program in Sacramento, Calif.)

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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