Take 10 for health

December 23, 2012|Lynn Little

The holidays can be stressful. Too many people, too many parties, too much shopping, too much food, too much alcohol and even too much fun; it can all add up to feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and completely stressed out. 

We can change our reactions to the pressures of the season with some quick and easy ways to "de-stress."  

 Take a break. Ten minutes is all it takes. A small break can make a big difference in your attitude. Regular relaxation can also help fight off colds and other infections. What you do for a break is less important than the fact that you stop rushing around. 

 Take a walk. Study after study has confirmed that physical activity is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and improve your mood. Moving for 10 minutes can help you get a healthy attitude and maintain a healthy weight, too. Take three 10-minute walks in a day and your heart will benefit, as well. 

 Take a nap. A good night's sleep is essential for good health, especially when your days are very busy. However, a 10-minute daytime nap can also help boost energy levels and give you the energy you need to continue through a busy day. 

 Take a bath. With or without bubbles, running water is relaxing. A 10-minute bath or shower can soothe tired muscles and release tensions. Take an extra minute or two and make it festive with a candle and your favorite scented bath oil or shower gel.  

 Take a call. It makes a difference to "reach out and touch someone." Connect with a special friend or family member for 10 minutes by phone or in person. Spend 10 minutes chatting with them about anything, everything or nothing in particular, 

 Take a dog break. Fresh air is good for humans and animals. Take 10 minutes to throw a few balls and bring some sunshine into your life and the dog's life. If you don't have a dog, perhaps you can borrow the neighbor's.

 Take a child break. Children have the right attitude toward the holidays, wonder and joy. Just 10 minutes with a child can help revive anyone's sagging spirits. 

 Take a book break. A good book can give you a rest from the holiday hubbub. Put all your to-do lists aside for 10 minutes and curl up with a book, a magazine. Add a cup of hot cocoa and you have the perfect recipe for a 10-minute respite. 

 Take a snack break. Holiday overeating is often caused by skipping meals and getting overly hungry. Taking time to feed your body well is one of the best ways to prevent overeating. Sit down for 10 minutes and eat a nutrient-rich snack, like fruit and cheese, or a nuts with dried fruit. 

 Take a music break. Holiday songs, carols and hymns are a lovely way to take a break and relax. Try a 10-minute sing along as a stress reliever. 

Lynn Little is a family and consumer sciences educator with University of Maryland Extension in Washington County.

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