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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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"Who travel for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one."

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Exciting ways to relax in this holiday season!

Exciting ways to relax in this holiday season!

After every holiday we feel the need to take another small holiday to relax and rewind. Here are a few tips to help you sink into that cushion and relax just so completely!

The shopping and crowds. The back-to-back diet busting parties. The interminable chats with the in-laws. We understand how easy it is to feel not so wonderful at this most wonderful time of the year. Here is help to dodge those seasonal blues and stay happy, healthy and energised. From quick stress-survival strategies to mood-brightening foods, here’s your cheat sheet to holiday cheer.

Hike your mood with sunlight
It stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin and also helps relieve seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which impacts millions of people each year. To ease SAD symptoms, spend time outdoors or near a window on sunny days, or ask your doc about phototherapy (a treatment using a box that emits full-spectrum light).

Take a whiff of citrus
Researchers studying depression have found that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of wellbeing and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. For an all-day pick-me-up, dab a little lemon or orange essential oil on a handkerchief to tuck in your pocket.

For some extra colour and more cheer, you can even display citrus fruits on your dining table. They look good and their aroma fills the entire house!

Walk away from worries

Another proven fact is that the rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilising effect on your brain, and it decreases anxiety and improves sleep. Aim for a brisk, half-hour walk every day.

Do less, enjoy more
Don’t we just go overboard to please others during the holidays: shopping, cooking, sending cards, and attending every event! Instead, take care of yourself by saying no at least once – and maybe once more.

Stick with your daily routine to prevent stress and keep your mood stable. Prioritize your workouts, book club, etc., and don’t try to squeeze in more holiday than you can handle.

Laugh a lot

Laughing like crazy reduces stress hormones. That, in turn, helps immune cells function better. Watch films you enjoy, meet the people who make you happy – stay from toxic.

Padding and cushions
Don’t fret if you put on a few kgs over the holidays. The extra weight can boost your immune system by increasing energy reserves, according to research from Indiana University at Bloomington. Just make sure to burn off the added weight by winter’s end.

Get out of the house
If your family members often pick on one another at the holiday table, taking the fun out of meals, consider eating family brunches or dinners in restaurants. Take your pet along and see how wonderful it feels to have your furry friend with you at every occasion!

Give up old customs
Abandoning old customs can be a good strategy if you’re lonely or grieving. Stay away from all those things that bring you down. Experiment with a different culture’s customs, or invite isolated colleagues over and start some new traditions.

Pop some pistachios
Research from Penn State University shows that eating these little nuts can actually help you fight stress by protecting one of the organs most harmed by it – your heart. Eating pistachios lowers cholesterol, which can help improve cardiovascular health.

Savour a spicy meal
Hot foods trigger the release of endorphins – the natural chemicals that trigger feelings of euphoria and wellbeing.

Dip into some honey
You’ll get an instant kick and energy for the long haul. Plus, research shows that its antioxidant and antibacterial properties may improve your immunity. Here’s a tip: The darker the honey, the more powerful the antioxidant punch.

Give away the old to the needy
You will feel wonderful and much lighter in spirit once you have given away old clothes, utensils, bed sheets, umbrellas, handbags, outdated music tapes and more to someone who has a need for it. If you don’t want to give to charities, look up urchins on the roadside – they will only be too happy to take them all from you.

Give a "hands-on" gift
In one study, participants who gave massages had fewer medical woes and less stress than those who received rubdowns. Best scenario: You and your partner gift each other.

Graft a sapling from a main plant and place in a colourful container. Wrap it up with a ribbon and it’s ready to be gifted to friends and family. It’s a nice and rare thoughtful gift and just right at this ‘global warming’ time. Maybe a sexy bonsai Christmas tree could instantly help light up a corner of someone’s living room – constantly reminding them of you!

Say yes, yes, yes! – to sex immunity, a satisfying romp can slay stress and raise self-esteem, experts say. Orgasms increase endorphins (natural painkillers) and raise oxytocin levels, which promotes sound sleep.

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