Kittle: Surviving the Christmas season

Seniors' columnist offers advice on how to eat healthy and deal with the inevitable stress of the Christmas holidays.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” —Buddha

The Christmas holidays are upon us and as merry as we hope or want to be, it can be a stressful and busy time.

From shopping, travel, family and socials to those long to-do lists, the Christmas holidays can be draining adding to what can be a depressing winter season for seniors.

So before the madness begins, here are some helpful tips to help keep holiday stress to a minimum.

Plan appropriate activities and pace yourself.

Long shopping trips, staying up late and not getting enough rest, and rushing around to visit and attend events can take its toll physically and mentally.

Try to stick to your scheduled eating and sleeping times and pace yourself throughout the day to avoid exhaustion.

Try taking quick relaxation breaks of one to five minutes to calm you down.

Conscious and slow breathing can help you when you’re feeling anxious or stressed out during the day

Keep in touch with friends and family.

For many seniors who have lost a loved one the holidays can be a sad and depressing time, try not to isolate yourself.

Stay in touch with family and friends and attend social groups and parties at your church or other civic groups.


One of the best ways to overcome stress is to exercise regularly.

Research shows that physical activity not boosts your fitness and energy levels but can also elevate your moods, reduce tension, fatigue, and confusion.

Although Christmas is a busy time, it is not the season to stop exercising.

Studies have shown that when regular exercisers are inactive, they begin to feel depressed and fatigued after just one week.

Plan a budget and stick to it.

Many seniors are on fixed incomes so the pressure of buying gifts, travel and food can add up and cause unnecessary financial stress.

Set up a realistic budget to keep expenses down and stick to it.

Follow the 80/20 rule for eating and indulging.

During the holidays you will find food and temptation everywhere you go.

Sugary treats and drinks, and fattening appies and snacks can cause you to “fall off the wagon.”.

The best way to feel energetic and your best are to limit your consumption of such comfort or pleasure foods and drinks.

Try to stick to the 80/20 rule—make healthy choices 80 per cent of the time while over-indulging only 20 per cent or less is better

And finally, choose to be grateful and generous.

It is the most wonderful time of the year so enjoy it.


Bobbi Kittle is a personal trainer and fitness instructor in Kelowna who specializes in working with seniors.


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