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Finding Peace and Health Over the Holidays

December 19, 2023

Finding Peace and Health Over the Holidays

The AFT provides staff with monthly health and wellness tips, and now they are sharing them with the Share My Lesson community too! December's issue offers suggestions for finding peace over the holidays, how to stay hydrated and get proper nutrients, and how to honor loved ones we have lost.


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Peace Be With You

We all feel stress from time to time, but the holidays often present a dizzying array of demands including shopping, entertaining, baking, family conflicts, and other inevitable anxiety producing situations. Daily exercise and a fitness routine is one way to manage your stress and feel more hope, joy and peace this holiday season.

Physical Activity is a Healthy Way to Maintain Mental Fitness by:

  • offering a break to take your mind off of worries that feed depression and anxiety.
  • releasing feel-good endorphins that can enhance your sense of well-being.
  • boosting self-confidence by meeting your goals and feeling better about yourself.
  • improving sleep which can be interrupted by stress.

Broaden how you think of exercise and find ways to add small amounts of physical activity throughout the day.

A Few Suggestions are to:

  • Roll out the yoga mat. Mindful movement is linked to lower levels of stress.
  • Take a walk. Burn off anxiety and melt away tension.
  • Chill out with cardio. Get your heart rate up and your stress levels down.

Identify what you enjoy doing, set reasonable goals, and don’t think of exercise as a chore. Regard your physical activity as one of the tools that helps you feel better.

Nobody can bring peace but yourself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hydrated Over the Holidays

Staying hydrated throughout the cooler season is just as vital as in hotter weather. Drinking enough water can help to control weight, boost immunity, protect skin, aid digestion, maintain blood pressure, and even fight exhaustion.

A Few Suggestions to Stay Hydrated Over the Holidays include:

  • Drink more water before reaching for food. To control hunger, help with digestion, and flush waste.
  • Take a bottle with you. Whether on the go or at holiday functions, keep a reusable water bottle filled and on hand to sip from.
  • Tea Time. Pass on cocktails and enjoy some herbal teas. Try peppermint tea for a festive flavor.
Enjoy life sip by sip.

Eating to Help Holiday Stress

Take a bite out of stress with some seasonal foods filled with mood boosting nutrients. When in a high stress situation or needing extra concentration, try eating some of these foods to help focus and stay calm.

Omega-3 fatty acids have an incredible impact on the brain. Omega-3’s are found in seafood sources from oily fish such as salmon, rainbow trout, sardines, mackerel, and halibut. Non-seafood sources including walnuts, chia seeds and dark leafy greens can also make a contribution to your omega-3 needs.

Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries are all good sources of vitamin C which can help combat stress.

Cashews are a good source of nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and vitamin B6, which can help reduce feelings of stress.

Brazil nuts contain selenium, a powerful antioxidant that has been proven to boost mood and mental

Bananas, turkey and chickpeas are natural sources of key nutrients that may play an indirect role in increasing the amount of serotonin the brain is able to produce.

When feeling down, limit sugar intake. The crash after a sugar high can easily make you feel worse.

Recipe of the Month

Mango Coconut Chia Pudding

Mango Coconut Chia Pudding

½ cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon coconut extract
½ cup diced fresh mango
1 tablespoon toasted, unsweetened coconut chips divided

Stir the nondairy milk, chia, maple syrup and coconut extract together in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. When ready to serve, stir well and spoon into serving bowl then top with mango and coconut.

Celebrate a Beautiful Life

Important milestones, holidays and traditions can bring up grief for loved ones we have lost. Grief is the internal feelings we experience after losing someone we are deeply connected with. Grief does not have a time line. We may not get over the loss of someone we loved, but by remembering and honoring our loved ones we can learn to live with the loss.

A few ideas for honoring the memory of a loved one include:

  • Making their favorite meal.
  • Lighting a candle.
  • Watching their favorite movie.
  • Learning a new skill that they enjoyed doing.
  • Giving a gift or donating to a charity in your loved ones' name.
  • Creating a memorial ornament.
The AFT was formed by teachers more than 100 years ago and is now a 1.7 million-member union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities. We are... See More

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