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Holiday Stress Rx: Part 2

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Women play such a central role in family and celebration, to the degree
that the stress of holiday demands can make you feel exhausted, anxious,
and sick. Taking some time for yourself may seem counterintuitive, but it’s
precisely what you need.

Here’s another prescription for keeping healthy during the holidays:
Establish 20 minutes every day that’s all yours, with every communications
device turned off. Use this time to release stress. One of the easiest and
most effective ways to use your break is to walk briskly or even vigorously
for 20 minutes outside in the fresh air. You can do this anywhere.

As you walk…
• Empty your mind, see the beauty in the world around you, and let
thoughts drift in and out.
• Breathe deeply.
• Release the relentless tangle of stressful thoughts.
• Infect every person you encounter with a smile and see how many smile
back.

Brisk walking raises your body’s serotonin levels, arming you against the
real damage caused by chronic stress. It also revs up your immune system,
not to mention your calorie-burner.

In a season of holiday lists, endless to-do’s, and a flurry of activity,
please find a way to center yourself every day and release the spin.

Walk to the park on your lunch hour, do 20 minutes of stretching in the
quiet before your household gets up, or pop in your favorite workout tape
or DVD and get to it.

In a season known for workplace cookie plates and missed work-out
schedules, start a new holiday tradition: building your stress-protecting
serotonin by making your daily 20 minutes a priority.

Not to lengthen your list, but remember to include on yours some of life’s
most important to-do’s:
• Touch those you love (touch releases feel-good serotonin and
endorphins)
• Eat nourishing food
• Take time to laugh

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