Yes, my name really is Dr. Santa. (It’s Hungarian.) I like doctoring around the holidays—my name makes it fun, and a lot of important health issues come up then, too. I hope this series helps you navigate the season.
TIP 1: Don’t shop until you drop: 6 steps to a low-stress holiday
The temptation at the start of the holidays is to do too much—too many presents, too many parties, too many big meals, all of which can make you feel physically, emotionally, and financially depleted. So, this year, set some reasonable priorities that will help you navigate the next few weeks in a way that leaves you feeling happy and healthy.
1. Focus on the people in your life who are most important to you—those whose lives you want to touch and whose future you want to be a part of.
3. Do something for yourself every day. Take time to be by yourself or with a favorite person. If you find yourself rushing, stop, take a few deep breaths, and try to soak in the wonderful emotions that are likely surrounding you rather than the stressful ones.
4. Build in some physical activity. Take a hike or stop at the gym on the way to the mall, for example, or go for a family walk after you eat. You will feel better, burn some calories, and probably sleep better, too.
5. If you like shopping great, but don’t ruin your holiday (and your credit score) by overspending. Instead, consider looking for a few special—and affordable—presents, then share with the recipient the “thought” that led to it. And don’t forget about home-made presents. In these days of overconsumption, even a simple and imperfect gift you make yourself will likely hold special meaning.
6. There is probably someone in your life who needs a little “more” this year—more time, more hugs, more financial help. Give it to them if you can. And if you need more, tell someone about it. He or she will likely want to help.
—John Santa, M.D., M.P.H, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center
We'd like to hear from you: What are some ways you're taking the stress out of the holidays this year?