The Industrious Hygienist's Favorite Holiday Safety Tips: Mayo Clinic and CDC -

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Industrious Hygienist's Favorite Holiday Safety Tips: Mayo Clinic and CDC

The Industrious Hygienist's post yesterday shared holiday safety tips from CDC/NIOSH.

Today, let's discuss stress

Taking part in last-minute holiday shopping blitzes is sort of par for the course for many Americans. The Industrious Hygienist and spouse will be braving a few key merchandisers today to wrap up the holiday shopping. Planning the gift-buying extravaganza can be very stressful. Traveling to and from various family engagements, work functions, and parties with friends can lead to even more heightened stress levels. Finding out how to manage your schedule, pets, family, and work commitments within a ridiculously short time frame is, well, bonkers.

Luckily, with the advent of Spore Consulting, the Industrious Hygienist is able to manage her own schedule and take time off as needed, but few people have that luxury. We gave ourselves memberships to Massage Envy and Lumosity for Christmas and our anniversary in June.

The CDC discussed managing stress in the "12 Ways to Health Holiday Song" and provided the following general recommendations for managing stress
  • "Avoid drugs and alcohol. They may seem to be a temporary fix to feel better, but in the long run they can create more problems and add to your stress�instead of take it away.
  • Find support. Seek help from a partner, family member, friend, counselor, doctor, or clergyperson. Having a sympathetic, listening ear and sharing about your problems and stress really can lighten the burden.
  • Connect socially. After a stressful event, it is easy isolate yourself. Make sure that you are spending time with loved ones. Consider planning fun activities with your partner, children, or friends.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep, give yourself a break, and maintain a normal routine.
  • Stay active. You can take your mind off your problems by giving�helping a neighbor, volunteering in the community, even taking the dog on a long walk. These can be positive ways to channel your feelings."
Ways this goes horribly wrong in holiday events? See below.
  • Avoid alcohol? Although many workplaces have "no alcohol" policies at holiday parties, there's plenty of ways to imbibe at after-parties, impromptu gatherings, industry events, etc. Things get said that shouldn't be discussed in polite company, behavior is sometimes less than professional, and you end up spending more money than you have on expensive drinks. Try to rein yourself in and remember that somebody always has a camera.
  • Find support? Everyone's going through the same thing as you. If you reach out to someone, they're likely to talk your ear off about the problems they are having rather than listening. Sometimes this is helpful because you realize your problems are paltry compared to those around you. Be the listener, be the friend and support person. It will make you feel better than just venting to everyone around you.
  • Connect socially? No, they're not talking about sharing your entire life on social media. They're talking about in-person socialization. Put down your phone, stop texting and tweeting, and really listen and connect with someone. Watch their face and learn their personality quirks. Try to remember all the conversations you've had with them. Spouse and I use the drive between family/social events to decompress and vent and listen to music (never Christmas music though).
  • Take care of yourself? Ha. If your family is anything like mine, eating healthy during the holidays is super tricky. My father makes handmade chocolate truffles and fudge, and my grandma sends me a box full of handmade cookies and treats every year. There is no normal routine during the holidays.
  • Stay active? Thanks to the Industrious Hygienist's parents, this is pretty easy. Rather than a gift, they want an act of service (photos and documentation required) for their Christmas gift. Could be a donation to a charity, could be a volunteer event, could be anything that requires us to go out and serve our fellow humans.
This year's act of service was with our local ASSE Arizona Chapter, preparing a community garden at a local elementary school through the USGBC Green Apple Day of Service.


Spouse and the Industrious Hygienist weeding the playground with ASSE Arizona Chapter during the Green Apple Day of Service on 9-28-2013.

We even brought Shadow (nope, that's not our kid), who was tantalized by the little girl's water bottle and watched us work.
The Mayo Clinic also has holiday-specific tips for stress management. The Industrious Hygienist has a few favorites:
  • "Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
  • Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  • Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time."
Wish us luck in our last-minute shopping. Gaah. I'll be singing Broadway musicals in my head to drown out the holiday music. 

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