Minimize Holiday Stress with Relatives Part 3

December 20th, 2013

Table of contents for Minimize Holiday Stress

  1. Minimize Holiday Stress with Relatives Part 1
  2. Minimize Holiday Stress with Relatives Part 2
  3. Minimize Holiday Stress with Relatives Part 3

Take advantage of these GREAT tips to reduce common stresses in holiday family gatherings!

(From the archives to help you have a stress-free, enjoyable holiday season!)

[This is Part 3 of a 3 part post.  If you missed Part 1 on tips to deal with “3 types of difficult people,” or Part 2 on “tips to cope with difficult relatives,” you may use the above series link to read them.  The tips in this series are excerpts from 3 different authors. Please use the reference links to read their full articles.]

Dealing with Difficult Relatives for the Holidays by Kate Zabriskie, Business Training Works, Inc., offers these tips to reduce conflicts with your relatives. These are only excerpts. Use the link in the footnotes to read her full article.

1. Whatever the reason is that you are with your holiday crew, you are not obligated to call up feelings you don’t have.

2. Be civil no matter what. The last thing you want is for your negative reaction to overshadow the initial offense.

3. Figure out a couple of ways that you might rein in your reaction ahead of time. [Remember past irritations or confrontations by your relatives and come up with a plan of action or response to keep yourself calm, change the subject, and divert the attention.]

4. Consider journaling [rather than venting your feelings to your friends.]

5. Downtime is the smell of opportunity to difficult relatives. Your holidays will run more smoothly if there are plenty of activities to fill gaps. [games, walks, etc.]

6. Plan an entry and exit time, as well as a date for yourself, if you are going to someone else’s house. Do the same if a group is coming to yours. For example, “Bob and I would like you to come for Thanksgiving. If you could arrive between 11:00 and noon on Thursday that would give us time to get everything ready for you. We’ve also planned a big breakfast for Friday before everyone leaves.

7. Think about inviting more people to your holiday. When there are fifty people in attendance, it is much more difficult for a diva to be a diva.

8. Focus on the kids. Babies and little kids don’t fully understand weird family dynamics. Most of the time, discussions about babies are usually fairly benign.

9. Focus on the less fortunate. If, for example, at Thanksgiving everyone brings a gift for Toys for Tots or some other charity group, part of your discussion will naturally revolve around that.

Use the link to read the full article by this author:

Dealing with Difficult Relatives for the Holidays, Kate Zabriskie, Business Training Works, Inc.

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Minimize Holiday Stress with Relatives Part 2

December 17th, 2013

Table of contents for Minimize Holiday Stress

  1. Minimize Holiday Stress with Relatives Part 1
  2. Minimize Holiday Stress with Relatives Part 2
  3. Minimize Holiday Stress with Relatives Part 3

Take advantage of these GREAT tips to reduce common stresses in holiday family gatherings!

(From the archives to help you have a stress-free, enjoyable holiday season!)

[This is Part 2 of a 3 part post.  If you missed Part 1 on tips to deal with “3 types of difficult people,” you may use the above series link to read it.  The tips in this series are excerpts from 3 different authors. Please use the reference links to read their full articles.]

These tips to minimize your stress while spending holidays with the relatives are excerpts from E.K. Tirado’s article, Three Ways to Cope with Difficult Relatives During the Holidays. Use the link in the footnotes to read the full article.

1) Change what you can, and do not fret about what you can’t change. Too many times the cause of our stress derives from our need to change people. Accept the fact that you cannot control other peoples’ actions, but you can control how you react to them. Don’t come to any event with unrealistic expectations.

2) Stay close to the “normal” family member. There is often one family member who you can actually hold an intelligent conversation with…someone you feel pretty good being around. My advice: Hang around with this family member…..often. Finds ways to spend time with that person whether it’s taking a post-meal walk around the neighborhood, or playing a game (or two or three) of checkers. If you have absolutely NO “normal” family members, then invite a “normal” person to attend an occasion with you.

3) Give yourself an important job. “Remove” yourself from the situation by giving yourself an important job. For example,decide that this year you will be the official family photographer. If you’re not much of a photographer, then give yourself another important job like tending to the turkey, making fancy swans with the table napkins, running to the store for last minute food items, Do whatever it is you have to do to keep busy, while still continuing to interact with family.

Lastly, you simply have to accept the fact that you don’t have the ability to change people, they must change themselves. The one person you can change is yourself. You can change how you react to things, how you view things and how you ultimately deal with things.

In Part 3, we’ll post more tips for dealing with difficult relatives!

Use this link to read the full article:

Three Ways to Cope with Difficult Relatives During the Holidays, E.K. Tirado

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8 Quick Tips to Reclaim Your Christmas Spirit

December 10th, 2013

(From the archives to help you have a stress-free, enjoyable holiday season!)

Feeling like Ebenezer Scrooge? It’s time to take in a few tips and reclaim your Christmas Spirit!

I came across some good, brief tips to de-stress your holiday from an article by blog author Sara Ananya Shah. These are only summaries. Please use the link below to read her full article.  (This is one of the classic holiday “help” articles– a good reminder for each of us each Christmas/New Year’s season.)

1. Shop at home – Shop online as much as possible. The selection is better and many retailers offer free shipping for the holidays.

2. Shop with friends – If you must go out shopping, take a friend along and then relax together afterward with a cup of coffee or cocoa.

3. Have friends and relatives – If you have a dinner with relatives that you dread, invite a friend along, or a specific friendlier relative.

4. Break down chores – For example, don’t do Christmas dinner all at once. [Freeze ahead or] Do as much as possible the day before. If you write out Christmas cards, do a few each night at bedtime.

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5. Make due dates – Plan to get your goals done by December 22nd so you can have some time to relax.

6. Exercise – A 20 minute walk will immediately lift your mood and reduce stress hormones.

7. Don’t overeat – You’ll feel happier and healthier.

8. Get “ME” time – Take at least 15 minutes a day to listen to relaxing music, walk, or something else that will make you happy.

Click here to read the full article by Sara Ananya Shah, Holiday Stress Relief: Tips to Reclaim Your Christmas Spirit. Ms. Shah is author of the parenting blog, Loving Your Child.

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Stress Less this Holiday Season

December 7th, 2013

(From the archives to help you have a stress-free, enjoyable holiday season!)

Lessen stress during the holidays with these helpful choices.

Many people are overwhelmed by all the extra time and work that are invested into family traditions and added special events this time of year. An article by Elaine Ambrose provided a collection of good advice to show that a few wise decisions will lessen your stress.

Delegate Choose which chores or errands you need to do and which ones family members can handle. If necessary, make a simple calendar and mark which days tasks need to be done, such as vacuuming, pet care, or folding laundry, and which family member chose it.

Make Meals Easier – Occasionally during this month get something from the freezer section for the main dish and add healthy items to it. Also, when you do cook, double the recipe and freeze the other meal to use over the next couple weeks.

Budget Your Money – Overspending is a main holiday stressor. Decide on your budget for family traditions and activities and stick to it. Some families draw names and decide a set a dollar amount for the gifts. This also makes it easier time-wise as each person only has to shop for 1 gift and already knows the exact price they should spend. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Restoring Joy to Giving

November 26th, 2013

[With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, I thought it would be good to re-focus on giving and gratitude in the articles over this next week.]

People with religious tendencies are often profuse givers. Depending on your personality, the desire to give can be so compelling that it easily gets out of balance, causing feelings of resentment when receivers respond with a lack of gratitude.

Many of us are easily moved with compassion for people in need, desiring to respond with help in whatever way possible. When you are a personality type that is easily compelled to give, it is not uncommon for this desire get out of balance, causing feelings of resentment when receivers respond with a lack of gratitude. These feelings of resentment are compounded when you still feel compelled to give though you yourself have come to a point of being in need, from either stressful and exhausting circumstances or the void that has developed from those you give to rarely giving in return.

Compulsive givers frequently feel guilty when they try to back out of getting involved even though their own exhaustion is necessitating it, or when they allow someone to help them with their own needs. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Laughter: A Healing Power

October 11th, 2013

Laughter  –  We all enjoying hearing it, we all enjoy doing it.  Laughter has natural healing powers.  It’s time to laugh more for your health!  Here’s why… 

For over a thousand years, long before the realm of modern science, age old proverbs reminded people of the healing power of laughter, 

A rejoicing heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Prov. 17:22

Dr. Don Colbert shares that laughter is one of his prescriptions to patients who come to be placed on nutritional programs. He has discovered that when he asks patients how often they laugh, most cancer patients respond, “I never laugh.” He prescribes 10 belly laughs a day for his patients. (1)

Research has shown a wide variety of healing aspects from laughter:

Pain Relief – A study of patients recovering from surgery showed that the group which was allowed to choose the humorous movies they saw benefited the most from the laughter therapy and required fewer pain-killers compared with a control group that saw none at all. (2) Other research has also shown laughter to increase one’s pain threshold. (4)

Lower Blood Pressure – Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Choose Your Thoughts, Choose Your Well-Being

September 27th, 2013

Regardless of the stresses you are facing, you have the power to choose your thoughts and, as a result, choose your well-being.

It may seem an illogical and impossible statement, but it is truth none-the-less.  Regardless of your circumstances, you choose your thoughts, and subsequently, your state of mind and personal well-being.  People throughout history have proven it true, usually in circumstances far worse than what most of us will ever experience.

One of my favorite examples is Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, whom I have mentioned before.  He is an Austrian Jew who was sent to a concentration camp with his family during World War II.

We who lived in concentration camps can remember men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Weight Loss through a Good Night’s Sleep

July 13th, 2013

If you eat healthy and still gain weight, the cause may be a lack of sleep.

An estimated 50-70 million Americans are suffering mentally and physically from a lack of sleep (1). Though eating habits obviously play a role in weight gain, studies have shown that there is a definite relationship between a lack of sleep and weight gain.

Hormones released during your sleep help regulate your weight and appetite.

Leptin, released during sleep, is the hormone which tells your body that it is full and doesn’t need more food. The lower the levels of leptin in your body, the more of the hormone ghrelin is released to increase your hunger (2). The growth hormone is also released during sleep; while this hormone causes growth in children, it controls muscle mass and fat level in adults (1).

A University of Chicago research found definite relationship between too little sleep and increased appetite/weight gain. The people in the study who slept only 4 hours a night had leptin levels decrease by 18 percent. This caused the ghrelin levels, which stimulate appetite, to increase by 28 percent (2). These results should be motivational in getting a good night’s sleep. Many of us just stay so busy that sleep is the easiest thing to cut back on.

If stress is causing your lack of sleep, not putting into action a plan to deal with stress will only add to your weight problems.

Stress increases your levels of adrenaline and cortisol, mobilizing the body’s sugar supply, for the purpose of quick thinking and action in emergency situations. If you live in a frequent or continual state of stress, the excess cortisol will make your body think that it is in need of more and more energy supply for a “fight or flight” response that is not physically taking place Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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When to Change Your Friends

June 28th, 2013

A reader asked what to do about harmful friends?

The question itself is almost an oxymoron  (opposite terms). You usually do not think of calling someone a “friend” who is harmful to you. However, depending on one’s personality, some people tend to repeatedly choose relationships with people who are harmful to them — emotionally or physically. Other times, it may not be that the person is harmful, but that there is an idiosyncrasy in the friend’s personality that, if discussed and dealt with, would heal the relationship .

Let’s take a look at how to determine if the relationship is harmful, why you chose the relationship, and when to change friends.

A few simple questions can help you determine if the friendship is healthy for you or not.

Answer each of the following questions either (1) most of the time, (2) about half the time, or (3) rarely.

1. Does the relationship with your friend lessen your self-esteem?

2. Does the relationship hinder you from achieving short and/or long term goals? Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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3 Natural Depression Treatments

June 22nd, 2013

3 natural ways to treat depression were discussed by Dr. Mercola in one of his newsletter articles.

The link at the end of this post is to the full article, as well as to a video clip of his interview with Dr. Gordon, a rare physician who encourages people with depression to take control of their health by incorporating key natural therapies into a treatment program.

Here are excerpts of the 3 natural treatments for depression from Dr. Mercola’s article. Again, the link to read the full article on his site is below.

1. Optimize Your Diet

One of the best ways to beat depression is with nutritional approaches. This includes taking high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats daily. Omega-3 fats such as those in krill oil have been found to work just as well as antidepressants in preventing the signs of depression, but without any of the side effects. In fact, throughout my years of medical practice I’ve had large numbers of patients be able to stop their antidepressants once they started taking omega-3 fats…Next, you’ll want to eliminate most sugar and grain from your diet, as these will increase your risk of insulin resistance, which is linked to depression (and diabetes)…

2. Get Moving

A regular exercise program is one of the best things you can do for your mood and mental health. Physical movement works so well because it helps to normalize insulin resistance while boosting “feel good” hormones in your brain Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Anxiety – Quick Self Test

June 7th, 2013

You can do a quick self-test for your level of anxiety, fear, or stress.

Performing this test will help you determine how much anxiety, fear, and stress are affecting your life, as well as some of the possible root causes. The official name of the test is the Rhomberg neurologic test and it will immediately show if you suffer from low level anxiety syndrome.

Stand with your feet put together. Then stand on your tips toes. Now close your eyes. If you cannot keep your balance once you close your eyes, you have low level anxiety syndrome. People who pass the test and can keep their balance while their eyes are closed will have an anxiety level of 10 during an immediate fearful situation, but the next day be back to level 1. Those with low level anxiety syndrome stay at an anxiety level or 4 or 5 all the time.

You may recognize these other common physical symptoms associated with low level anxiety syndrome.

People with low level anxiety often have numerous allergies. They are also sensitive to scents such as perfumes or newsprint. Caffeine may keep them up all night. In addition, they are usually very sensitive to even small doses of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

The source of low level anxiety syndrome is holding on to undesirable emotions.

If you didn’t pass the test and realize that you live in a constant state of low level anxiety, evaluate which of the following undesirable emotions are the source of your anxiety. People who are perfectionists often suffer from low level anxiety. Unresolved bitterness Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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10 Habits That Harm Your Immune System

February 16th, 2013

You would be surprised how many seeminlyg non-health related daily habits actually harm your immune system. Check these 10 tips!

This tips are just excerpts from a great article by the editors of Prevention.com. Please use the link in the footnote below to read this beneficial article! (1)

 1. Avoiding People- Research shows people between 18 and 55 who had 6 or more human connections during a day where 4 times better at fighting off viruses than those who do not; even if you’re busy, meet, call, text, or email your friends.

 2. Being a Nightowl- Poor sleep habits lower immune system function and reduce killer cells that fight germs. Research shows that men who got only 4 hours of sleep 1 night a week had ½ the flu antibodies of those who slept uninterrupted for 7½ – 8½ hours each night.

 3. You’re a Pessimist- A study of college students showed optimistic students had more helper T cells and fighter cells than pessimistic students. Optimists also tend to Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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When to Change Your Friends

November 4th, 2012

Reading Level: Leisurely

A reader asked what to do about harmful friends?

The question itself is almost an oxymoron-opposite terms. You usually do not think of calling someone a “friend” who is harmful to you. However, depending on one’s personality, some people tend to repeatedly choose relationships with people who are harmful to them — emotionally or physically. Other times, it may simply be an idiosyncrasy in the friend’s personality that needs to be discussed.
Let’s take a look at how to determine if the relationship is harmful, why you chose the relationship, and when to change friends.

A few simple questions can help you determine if the friendship is healthy for you or not.

Answer each of the following questions either (1) most of the time, (2) about half the time, or (3) rarely.

1. Does the relationship with your friend lessen your self-esteem?

2. Does the relationship hinder you from achieving short and/or long term goals?

3. Does the relationship create various stress-related physical health problems, such as headaches, stomachaches, nervousness, or lack of sleep?

4. Does the relationship cause emotional health issues, such as fear, worry, or intimidation?

If your answers were in the 1 or 2 range, the friendship is showing signs of harmful behavior which is negatively affecting the well-being of your life in significant amounts.

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If the friendship is affecting your life mainly in negative ways, ask yourself why you became involved in that relationship.

If you repeatedly choose to be in relationships with people who are not good for you and your life, you need to ask yourself why? Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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The Essential Vacation

October 23rd, 2012

Though those of us who run our own businesses often feel it is impossible to get away for a vacation, it is this seemingly impossible idea that is essential for the prosperity of your business.

In times of stress, and more so when the weather turns wintery, most of us begin to dream of a relaxing getaway in a warm, responsibility-free environment.  The thought is wonderful, motivational, yet for the small business owner, it often seems only a dream.  Rod Kurtz, Small Business author for AOL, recently wrote a post reminding small business owners of the essential nature of vacation.  Especially since small business owners usually work 24-7, he says a relaxing getaway is crucial for

-renewed motivation
-rejuvenation
-increased productivity

As getting ready for such a vacation usually brings even more stress, business owners are more likely to cancel vacation plans than follow through.  According to Mr. Kurtz, while most Europeans take a month long vacation, almost 2/3’s of American business people have canceled vacations due to the recession.

Different vacations for different purposes!

I love this quote by Clint Greenleaf, Greenleaf Book Group, as to the different types of vacations necessary for the business owner Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »

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Thinking Yourself to Health

September 26th, 2012

Reading Level: Leisurely

A couple of readers asked about health problems stemming from past hurts and how positive thinking brings healing, so let’s touch on both today!

There is an endless stream of little things happening everyday which can irritate you if you allow them to, but they are not even worth the negative thoughts and resulting physical consequences.

The first main point here is “little!” For most of us, it is allowing little situations to consistently irritate or worry us that ruin our health. Medical studies have shown that up to 80% of physical illnesses are caused by emotional issues. Some of us may be experiencing health problems due to living in an emotionally and/or physically abusive environment; if that is the case, health cannot come without a change “in” the environment or “of” environments. (If this is your case, please go to the Cloud Tag in the side column and click on “boundary violations” for posts to help you with that type of situation.) The majority of us, however, allow our health to be ruined by instances that actually come down to a matter of our own choice of thoughts. We can be the cause of our own poor health by allowing a multitude of small instances throughout the day to create irritation or anger or worry. Because we allow these negative responses so often, harmful chemicals such as cortisol are continually being released into our bodies. Studies show that cortisol, a chemical released by stress, increases irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and is associated with numerous diseases (1).

The little things that set you off will vary with your personality. For example, what negative thoughts come to mind when:

  • someone cuts you off in traffic?
  • cuts you off to take the closest parking space?
  • a family member spills something on the carpet or furniture?
  • the kids start fighting?
  • the dog had an accident in the house?
  • a co-worker makes a cutting remark about you in front of other staff? Immerse Yourself in the Full Healing Contemplation Here »
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