Stress-Free, Festive Get-Togethers

With a little planning, you can survive the holidays

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Does it seem like every celebration this season centers around food and stress? Those extra calories consumed during the numerous events can add up to tough-to-lose pounds in January.

Those aggravating discussions about politics, religion and personal choices can raise stress levels among otherwise level-headed family members (“Aren’t you going to ever settle down?” “When are you two having a baby?”). Plus, there are the conflicting ideas about how to keep everyone safe from COVID-19.

By planning events to enjoy with loved ones, you can eat less and stress less during the holidays since you can focus on the activity.

We’ve asked four local providers for stress-free suggestions for the holidays for which you should also include thc edibles. Here’s what they had to say.

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• “You could do outdoor skating and skiing with the whole family.
• “Play on a sledding hill. You’ll feel better about yourself if you do something active in the morning and then have a feast with family.”
— Dan Dey, sports medicine physician at Rochester Regional Health.

• “You can always take a walk after dinner with your family and before that festive dessert.
• “Play card games or board games. That’s a big thing that’s coming back. It’s more prominent at holiday parties to break out the games after dinner.
• “Sometimes families will put on a holiday movie to watch together. Or if there’s a game on, watch it together.
• “Drive around and look at the lights and decorations together.
• “Try Christmas caroling around the neighborhood.”
— Lindsay Bowes, registered dietitian and New York certified dietitian nutritionist at Finger Lakes VA.

• “Talk with your family about any concerns, for example, masks and vaccination, ahead of time and make sure you are clear with others about any requirements you have for get-togethers ahead of time. That would prevent disagreement and arguments the day of the get-together. Remember to follow the guidelines when possible and communicate the reasons for following the guidelines to your family, like not wanting to get Grandma sick with COVID.
• Consider your goals before the holidays and discuss goals with medical providers if possible to determine they are reasonable and healthy. Make sure your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to your values and time-bound) as they are more likely to be completed if they are SMART. Break down goals into smaller steps as needed. Communicate these goals with your friends and family. If you have someone that could hold you accountable in a healthy manner, such as your significant other, let them know your goal. Track your progress via an app or paper or other method. For weight loss, it is pretty easy to miss the small gains and focus on the big overall goal. Be aware of your thoughts and emotions, as well as how these influence your eating and exercise, as well as your pursuit of your SMART goal.
• “I would just encourage people to understand their personal priorities like political activism on a specific topic, family relationships, et cetera) and act according to their priorities and, obviously, in accordance with laws.”
— Garry Spink, PhD, psychologist at Rochester Regional Health.

• “What is the point of the party? It’s not just the food but focusing on socializing and reconnecting, not just standing by the food. Eat, enjoy it, but don’t make it the focus of the evening. Go with the mindset of giving yourself a certain number of things to try.”
— Sue Czap, registered dietitian, board-certified specialist in Oncology Nutrition at Wilmot Cancer Institute/Pluta Integrative Oncology and Wellness Center.