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Head-Healthy Holidays

No question about it – the holidays can be stressful. Between family functions, neighbors, and reconnecting with friends, it seems like we don’t slow down from November through January. While our brains can benefit from the spiritual boost, the marathon of merriment can quickly take a toll on our well-being. Here are a few tips to make the end of the year less taxing and more enjoyable.

—Control The Stress—

It’s easy to say in September “I’m going to get ____ done before the end of the year”. If it’s the middle of December and there are still items on your to-do list, consider the option of pushing your deadline back a few weeks. There are plenty of tasks before New Years that are more time sensitive, and piling on additional and unnecessary stress at the end of the year probably isn’t worth it. To feel some sense of accomplishment on these chores, use this time to plan how you can get them completed by February 1st.

—Toast In Moderation—

Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health announced this year that heavy drinking is a top risk factor for dementia. While some experts claim benefits to very moderate alcohol consumption, doing so in excess can cause shrinkage to valuable areas of the brain. If you or a loved one find yourself floating through the season on eggnog, it might be best to abstain for a period. That could be the best gift you give yourself this year.

—Let It Snow—

A shiny white snowfall is a sure sign of the holidays but keep an eye on how much time you spend outdoors. Activities like shoveling the sidewalk or brushing off the car might be too much exertion if done at once. Research shows a dip in heart-related hospitalizations for the two days following a snowfall and then an immediate 23% increase! After being cooped up for a few days we tend to overdo it when we can finally get outside, so take it easy and consider hiring somebody to do the heavy lifting.

—Look Up And Down—

While a brisk walk on a cold day can be a great stress-reducer, slipping on an icy patch of road can lead to serious injury. Shoes with traction soles are a worthwhile investment, so take it slow and be aware of what’s underfoot as well as ahead. Icicles can be a deadly hazard, so avoid overhangs and awnings where runoff can build up. Decorating related mishaps also land 15,000 people in the hospital each year, often from standing on ladders or chairs and sustaining a head injury. Be careful of your surroundings, even those familiar to you.

Make this a safe and joyous holiday season, and we look forward to seeing you in 2019!

Written by Jamie MacPherson

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