November 2014 Newsletter

HEALTH & THE HOLIDAYS

With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years quickly approaching on our calendars, our thoughts turn to spending time with our loved ones and counting our blessings; that is, IF we have time in between shopping, cooking, preparing, traveling, and all the other stressors that come hand-in-hand with the holiday season.  Our newsletter’s focus this month is on keeping physically and mentally fit through those times when stress levels run high.  To help you through the holidays, this issue of our newsletter is a “double feature”.  Our behavioral therapist, Beverly Hodsden, talks about stress management with a follow-up article by our resident physical therapist, Molly Fisher with some exercise tips for those on a tight holiday schedule:



STRESS MANAGEMENT THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS

by Beverly Hodsen, MA, LPC, LCADC

Once again, the holiday season is upon us.  The holidays can be a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends to enjoy and create special memories.  Sometimes all the hustle and bustle of trying to create the perfect “Hallmark holiday” can leave us frustrated and exhausted, wishing it was over before the holiday arrives.  So, how do you enjoy the days without making yourself crazed?  First of all, relax.  Take a deep breath and remind yourself that it will all be okay.  The important thing is spending time with family and friends, not how many fancy dishes you can cook or if your home looks like it was decorated by Martha Stewart.  Simplify as much as possible.  Instead of a big sit-down dinner, have a buffet with dishes you can prepare ahead so you actually have time with your guests.  Foremost is maintaining your health.  Make sure you are eating well, as well as getting enough sleep and exercise.  Try not to overindulge too much.  If you do choose to have a treat or two, get right back on track the next day.  The holidays do not have to turn into a two-month binge with big regrets in January.  Make time each day to de-stress.  Taking a bubble bath, lighting some candles, or listening to soft music are good ways to unwind.  Also, inspirational reading, prayer, or meditation can help put your mind in a more positive space.  Make sure you have time to reflect on the meaning of the holidays you are celebrating.  What do you have to be thankful for in your life?  Gift exchanges should be tokens of love and appreciation, not a cause of financial distress.  Start some new holiday traditions with your family, like volunteering at a soup kitchen, or helping to organize or donate to gift programs for children and families in need.  Take care of yourself, relax, and enjoy peaceful and joyful holidays.



HOW EXERCISE CAN HELP REDUCE HOLIDAY STRESS

by Molly Fisher, DPT

We have all heard of at least some of the benefits of exercise:

We also all know it’s good for us but we can’t seem to find the time, especially during the holiday season.  So, as Sleep & Wellness’ physical therapist, I have done the work for you and come up with some holiday exercises you can perform anywhere to decrease stress.

Perform 15 to 20 repetitions of these exercises and it will increase your heart rate and blood flow, give you a burst of energy to get you through your day, boost your metabolism to improve fat burning and decrease your appetite to help you avoid all those holiday treats:

*Click on the image thumbnails to see the complete photos
** Exercises shown are performed with TheraBands for resistance.  For information about purchasing a set, contact Molly at mfisher@sleep-wellness.org 

Squat: a compound, full body exercises that works the muscles of the hip abductors, quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus.

Lunges: help improve balance by narrowing your base of support and strengthening your quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus

Hip Extension: the primary movers include the gluteus maximus and hamstrings, secondary movers include gluteus medius and adductor magnus they improve the ease of walking, standing up and ascending and descending stairs.

Hip Abduction: the main muscle is the gluteus medius and an assistor is the gluteus minimus. They work together to move the lower extremities away from the body, stabilizes the pelvis and support the body while standing on one leg.

Mid Traps: retract the scapula and help to extend the back. Muscle imbalances can affect posture and lead to rounded shoulders. An upright posture will allow for deep breathing and improved oxygen intake.

Shoulder: medial deltoids move the upper extremities away from the body. They are used in lifting, dressing and forearm and hand manipulation. Rounded shoulders lead to a restriction in ribcage expansion, diaphragm rise and lung capacity.

Bicep: provides shape and strength to the front of the upper extremities, its main function is to flex the elbow and supinate the forearm which occurs when one picks up an object like a bag of groceries or  holiday packages.

Tricep: provides shape and strength to the back of the upper extremities, the main function is to extend the elbow and occurs when one is pushing themselves up out of a chair.
Other simple ways to de-stress in ten minutes or less include: going for a walk, listening to your favorite music, meditating, visualization, deep breathing, whole body stretching, or stepping away from your computer and phone.

If you have any topics you are interested in or have any questions, please be in touch… I’d like to hear from you.   Feel free to e-mail me at mfisher@sleep-wellness.org.

 


Thank you for reading our newsletter!  If you have a suggestion, question, or topic you would like to see discussed, please do not hesitate to contact newsletter@sleep-wellness.org.  Happy Holidays from all of us at Sleep and Wellness!

Author
Mahmood Siddique Board certified physician Mahmood I. Siddique, DO, FACP, FCCP, FAASM, takes a modern, holistic approach to caring for his patients at Sleep and Wellness Medical Associates in Hamilton, New Jersey. He believes medicine is most effective when it considers not just the patient’s symptoms, but the broader connections among their overall physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being.

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