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LHSFNA Management Co-Chairman Noel C. Borck

“The holidays can be exciting and fun, but they can also be stressful,” says Noel C. Borck, Management Co-Chairman of the LHSFNA and Executive Vice President of the NEA – the Association of Union Constructors. “Thinking ahead about how you will use your time and money can keep the stress to a minimum.”

The LHSFNA Health Promotion Division identified these ways to minimize stress during the holidays.

  • Don’t blow your budget. Decide how much you can afford to spend ahead of time and stick to that amount.
  • Budget your time as well as your money. Don’t over commit your free time.
  • Start planning your gift list as early as possible. Next year, make it a point to jot down ideas for gifts when you think of them.
  • Don’t try to do everything yourself. Share responsibilities with your family.
  • Add a bit of the true spirit of the season by giving a gift to someone who doesn’t expect it, visiting an old friend or giving to someone in need.
  • Make some fun plans for January, when the post-holiday blues can set in.
  • If the stress gets to be too much, seek the help of a professional.

Holiday Spending Tips

  • Prepare a budget on what you can realistically afford. In addition to gifts, include extra expenses such as holiday foods, party clothes, holiday décor, and postage.
  • If it has been a challenging year financially, shrink your holiday spending.
  • Talk with those you exchange gifts with, set dollar amounts on presents.
  • Pick names so each person only buys one gift rather than gifts for everyone.
  • Make lists and know what you can afford to spend.
  • Pay with cash or debit card, leave your credit cards at home. If you cannot afford to pay outright, do not buy.
  • Watch advertising flyers for items you intend to buy.
  • Avoid shopping when rushed.
  • Avoid last minute shopping, complete holiday shopping by December 20.
  • Shop by catalog instead of driving all over town.
  • Comparison shop; call stores using the yellow pages or use the internet and compare offers on line.
  • Be creative – homemade gifts or offers to baby sit or do something for someone can be an inexpensive yet very personal gift.
  • Start saving for next year.

Diet and Exercise are Factors, Too

The holidays typically encourage people to indulge in high-fat, high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. It is also the time of year we’re most likely to make excuses for skipping exercise. Yet, it’s an important time of year to maintain a balanced diet and stick with your exercise regiment.

Here are some holiday survival tips:

  • Exercise during the holidays. Exercise to burn calories, relieve stress and elevate endorphins (feel good hormones) and mood.
  • Don’t skip meals. Hunger and low blood sugar lead to overeating.
  • Plan meals by keeping in mind the demands you’ll have on your schedule that day.
  • Don’t pass up favorite foods or deprive yourself completely. Moderate consumption is suggested.
  • Don’t go to a party starving. Before you leave work or home, eat something light such as vegetable soup or fruit.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water. We often mistake thirst for hunger and eat unnecessarily. A lack of water/hydration can contribute to stress.
  • When you attend holiday parties, don’t station yourself near the buffet table.
  • Alcoholic beverages have hidden calories. If you’re drinking alcohol stick to light beer or spritzers, limit your number of drinks and have a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage you consume. Stay away from frozen and mixed drinks; these tend to have more calories.
  • If you have a pair of favorite form fitting jeans, try them on each week to see how they fit and to keep you “honest.”
  • Think ahead to January and how you want to look and feel. Is the extra food that you’re eating now worth gaining weight and feeling badly in January?
  • Reward yourself with non-food items as an incentive to control your eating at difficult times.
  • Enjoy the season, not just the food!

[Steve Clark]