Health & beauty tips to help you look and feel your best, this season and beyond.
December has arrived, ushering in slightly cooler temperatures and the hectic pace of the season. Thoughts turn to the holiday trappings; tidings of comfort and joy, carolers wassailing and children filled with visions of sugarplums. As the holidays draw nearer, many people experience warm feelings of anticipation, joy and excitement.
But then comes the holiday wish lists, which subsequently means malls and other stores will be significantly more crowded all the way to December 24 in preparation for Christmas. Lines grow longer, money disappears quicker than you realize as you try to find that perfect gift for everyone on your list, and shopping is only the tip of the iceberg.
All the planning of parties and family get togethers, decorating your home, baking scrumptious dozens of cookies, writing out cards and wrapping all those gifts can be fun, but can also take a toll on anyone.
There’s a good reason why Bob Rivers came up with a revised version of the popular Christmas carol, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” changing it to “The 12 Pains of Christmas.” Stringing up the lights, finding the perfect tree and facing the in-laws are among the “pains” sung about, and they, along with a number of other factors can lead to a great deal of stress during the holidays – causing the holiday blues during a time that is supposed to be full of joy.
So what should you do when those “pains” start getting to you? Take some time out for yourself. We often get so caught up in pleasing others during the holidays and stretching ourselves thin to make sure everything gets crossed off the to-do list that we forgot to take some time for ourselves to indulge in a little pampering.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 54 percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives. And those stress levels often peak during the holiday season. Exercise, among other things, can help reduce stress levels, but we often neglect the fact that personal pampering can also do wonders to help reduce stress levels.
Spas provide the ultimate pampering experience. With approximately 14,600 spas in the United States and nearly one million active spa-goers worldwide, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in the decadence of the spa experience. With everything from rejuvenating facials, luxurious and relaxing massages, manicures and pedicures, there is sure to be some stress relieving option for everyone.
Add visiting a spa to your to-do list this holiday season. Block out a few hours to visit a spa for either a quick pick-me-up facial or mani/pedi or take some extra time to treat yourself to a full day of treatments. For the ultimate get-away-from-it-all experience, visit a local hotel spa and stay the night. One of the best ways to pamper yourself is to indulge in a long, hot bath. While most people have a tub at home, few ever make the time to actually use it. Why not take advantage of wonderful bath and massage services offered by local spas?
Not only is the heat soothing for aching muscles after a long day of shopping, but it is also soothing for your mind, as you can push aside all the thoughts of the decorating you still want to do and the cookies that you haven’t baked yet. It is a wonderful way to decompress.
Many spas offer baths with rose petals, soothing salts or oils, soft lighting of scented candles and soothing music, transforming the bathtub into an ultimate relaxation destination. Also, unlike bathing at home, you can enjoy your bath uninterrupted, free of cell phones, door bells and other distractions. Plus, there is no bathroom preparation or clean-up for you!
While you’re at the spa, take note of the atmosphere and the little extra touches that create the ultra relaxing experience, and take that knowledge home with you and incorporate some of the elements in your home.
During the busy holiday season, you can also make yourself more beautiful by putting a deep conditioning treatment in your hair or applying a purifying masque at home. And if you want to add a massage to make your at-home experience feel more like the spa, ask your partner, or buy a selfmassager. If you haven’t already done so, the hectic holiday season is an ideal time to take advantage of healthful and detoxifying services offered by local experts, which can rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit.
‘Tis the season of giving, so remember that as much as you like to feel pampered, your friends and family are probably feeling the stress of the season and would enjoy a pampering experience as well. Gift certificates to spas make great gifts, and you can even surprise your partner with the gift of a foot massage or back rub after a long day of holiday frenzy.
As the shopping and to-do list seems to grow, remember that the holidays are meant to be a joyous time to be spent with friends and family. Take time to slow down, remember to breathe, relax and enjoy everything there is to enjoy about this time of year. And, most importantly, remember to take some time for yourself. And don’t feel guilty about it – you deserve it.
‘Tis the SEASON
To enjoy the holidays stress-free.
The holidays can be a joyous time of year. But, as the social calendar gets hectic, holiday menus are sorted, and shopping lists get started, it sometimes becomes challenging to get through the holiday season stress-free. In fact, according to an Opinion Research Survey, almost half of all women suffer more stress during the holidays. Kathryn Sansone, ‘Shape Up Mom’ and author of Woman First, Family Always, to provide some helpful tips to jingle away the stress. The biological mother of ten children, Kathryn has a realistic, practical and inspiring approach that millions of women follow.
CONVENIENT TREATS ARE TWICE AS SWEET
Giving holiday treats to friends and family and contributing desserts to holiday gatherings is an important part of the season. But, this doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen. Give them a beautiful jar of homemade granola so they can enjoy this sensible snack during the holidays. Layer it with fruit, your favorite granola and vanilla yogurt. For a personal touch, wrap in a festive bow and attach the recipe.
IN THE MORNING, BE SURE TO “FARE” WELL
It is easy to skip meals when we get busy and stressed. According to research from the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), eating breakfast on a regular basis was one of the key strategies used by people maintaining weight loss. Eating breakfast may help to reduce hunger later in the day, and it also can provide key nutrients. One option for a quick, sensible breakfast is either the new Weight Watchers caramel apple muffins or toasted whole wheat english muffins with sugar free jam or natural peanut butter.