A Guide to Less Stressful Get-Togethers

A Guide to Less Stressful Get-Togethers

Keep stress in check whether you’re the host or a guest with these effective stress-busting tips.

Holidays and social gatherings can each be stressful. Put them together and the friction can be quite intense. But there’s no reason to let get-togethers get the best of you. Here are some tips for keeping your cool so things don’t heat up—inside OR outside the kitchen!

  • Be Realistic – Setting high expectations may leave you feeling disappointed and frustrated when things don’t go as planned. Whether you host or attend a get-together, try to keep your expectations realistic so you don’t add extra pressure on yourself or other guests.
  • Plan Ahead – To prevent last minute scrambling, plan your menu and make your shopping list well ahead of time. Do as much meal prep as you can before the actual day so you have time to handle any last minute emergencies.
  • Delegate – Are you a control freak? While you may think that doing it all yourself will ensure it gets done “right,” you’ll also be putting all the pressure on yourself. When you delegate a chore, no matter how small, it takes something off your own list. Start with delegating simple chores, such as taking out the trash or washing a dirty pan. You’ll be happy you did!
  • Breathe – Stress causes you to breathe shallow and quickly. Deep breathing is the simplest thing you can do to relieve stress. It’s also something you can do pretty much anywhere. When Aunt Ida asks why you didn’t use her recipe for the casserole, go somewhere you can be alone and take some long, deep breaths until you start to calm down.
  • Laugh – Ever notice how much more relaxed you feel after watching a comedy? Laughing not only lets you forget your troubles in the moment, but it signals the brain to release endorphins that make you feel better. Laughter can stimulate your heart, lungs and muscles, as well as activate and relieve your stress response.
  • Watch Your Diet – Often the easiest thing to do when you’re under stress is to reach for comfort food or alcohol. This is only a temporary fix though, and may leave you with a headache and/or stomachache the next morning. Instead, try chewing gum to release that stress.
  • Move – Exercise has some great stress-busting benefits. It pumps up your endorphins and reduces the negative effects of stress on the body. Think of exercise as “meditation in motion,” helping you let go of the irritations in your life. Go for a run the morning of a big gathering or a walk after to let some of that stress go.
  • Learn to Say No – Just because you receive an invitation to a gathering, doesn’t mean you have to accept it. If you have a full week ahead or just don’t feel like going for another reason, politely decline. Offer to visit on another occasion when you’re both available. This will help keep your stress in check without insulting the host.

Copyright 2021 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. 
Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Date Last Reviewed: October 6, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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No information provided by Baldwin Publishing, Inc. in any article is a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Baldwin Publishing, Inc. strongly suggests that you use this information in consultation with your doctor or other health professional. Use or viewing of any Baldwin Publishing, Inc. article signifies your understanding and agreement to the disclaimer and acceptance of these terms of use.

 

5 Health Benefits of Yoga

5 Health Benefits of Yoga

Need a good reason to do a downward dog? Here are 5 of them.

Yoga is an ancient practice that incorporates breathing exercises, stretching and holding poses. It is touted for providing both physical and mental health benefits. As an added bonus, it is an activity that almost anyone can do at any age and in any physical condition.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced yogi, you may enjoy these health benefits of yoga:

  • Relieves stress and anxiety. Yoga has been shown to lower the amount of cortisol, a stress hormone, produced by the body. It has also been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Since it encourages relaxation, yoga may also help you sleep better.
  • Increases flexibility and balance. This is helpful for people of all ages, but especially older adults. Stretching, slow movements and holding a pose can build muscle strength, increase joint flexibility and improve overall mobility.
  • Reduces chronic pain. If you have pain from osteoarthritis, yoga may help. Research has shown that yoga may help decrease pain and improve function in people with osteoarthritis of the knees. It’s also been shown to improve back pain and symptoms in people with carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Improves heart health. Some research suggests that practicing yoga may lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as slow the progression of heart disease. Reducing stress and inflammation in the body is also good for the heart.
  • Encourages healthy habits. Yoga may not be the cause of someone following a healthier lifestyle but it appears that people who practice yoga also tend to embrace other healthy habits, such as eating healthy, being physically active, sleeping well, maintaining a healthy weight and managing stress.

Ready to give yoga a try? Watch this video to learn how to do a downward facing dog pose right at your desk at work.

Copyright 2021 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Date Last Reviewed: July 19, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

Learn more about Baldwin Publishing Inc. editorial policyprivacy policy, ADA compliance and sponsorship policy.

No information provided by Baldwin Publishing, Inc. in any article is a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Baldwin Publishing, Inc. strongly suggests that you use this information in consultation with your doctor or other health professional. Use or viewing of any Baldwin Publishing, Inc. article signifies your understanding and agreement to the disclaimer and acceptance of these terms of use.

 

10 Ways to Relax Right Now

10 Ways to Relax Right Now

Stress can easily get the best of you. But these stress-busters can help.

Feeling stressed at work? Hectic schedule making you frazzled? Have too many commitments around the holidays? It’s natural to feel tension, stress and even anger as you go about your day. But that doesn’t mean you should let it get the best of you.

When you’re stressed, it triggers your body’s fight-or-flight response. While this can be helpful if your body needs to react in an emergency, it can put your health at risk when stress hormones fire day after day. Unchecked stress can contribute to a number of health problems, from high blood pressure and heart disease to obesity, headaches and diabetes.

You don’t need a lot of time to keep stress at bay. You just need a stress-relieving “bag of tricks” that works for you.

Here are 10 stress-busters to try:

  1. Take a walk. Any type of exercise can help relieve stress. Taking a quick walk when tensions rise can get your blood flowing and gives you time to gather your thoughts.
  2. Stretch. Stress and tension wreak havoc on your muscles, so spend a few minutes stretching your shoulders, neck and back throughout the day.
  3. Count to 10 and back. When you feel tense, slowly count to 10. Then count backwards.
  4. Squeeze a stress ball. They’re not called stress balls for nothing! Squeezing one helps relieve tension and stress.
  5. Have a cup of tea. Green tea contains L-theanine, a compound shown to reduce levels of chemicals in the brain linked to stress and anxiety.
  6. Do some organizing. Sometimes all it takes to help you relax is to feel like you have things under control. So spend a few minutes organizing the space you’re in to regain order and a sense of control.
  7. Breathe deeply. Slow, deep breaths can help you relax. Deep breathing also lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
  8. Meditate. Take a few minutes in a quiet place to concentrate on your breathing and clear your mind. Studies indicate that meditating twice a day may help relieve stress and depression.
  9. Practice progressive relaxation. Tense and then relax one part of your body at a time. Start with the lower extremities (feet and legs) and work your way up your body.
  10. Find “me” time. It’s healthy to spend at least 15 minutes a day just to focus on you. When stress feels like it’s rearing its ugly head, even 5 minutes can help.

Copyright 2019-2021 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. 
Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Date Last Reviewed: September 20, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

Learn more about Baldwin Publishing Inc. editorial policyprivacy policy, ADA compliance and sponsorship policy.

No information provided by Baldwin Publishing, Inc. in any article is a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Baldwin Publishing, Inc. strongly suggests that you use this information in consultation with your doctor or other health professional. Use or viewing of any Baldwin Publishing, Inc. article signifies your understanding and agreement to the disclaimer and acceptance of these terms of use.