Your Health Tamar Raucher | 6 years ago

New to the Area? Have Your Happiest Holiday Season Yet.

It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but shorter days, hectic schedules and poor eating habits can dampen your holiday cheer – especially if you’re dealing with the added stress of being in a new place.

Fortunately, there are many ways to stay joyful (and healthy!) all season long.

Get out there and explore your new hood. There are many ways to keep spirits merry and bright during the holidays, but hitting local hot spots and meeting new friends is always a great way to celebrate the season. Prefer to stay in and chill without the chaos? We’ve got ideas for that too. Host a Friendsgiving. Invite colleagues, neighbors or members of your faith community to share in the magic of the season. It’s one of the best ways to integrate into a new community! Encourage guests to bring their favorite healthy snack or dish. Volunteer. Nothing lifts the spirits and inspires people to remember what the holidays are all about more than helping others. Get in touch with local volunteer organizations like Hands On Charlotte or The Children's Alliance and learn how you can make a difference in your new city. Share the love. Reach out to family members and friends that are far away; FaceTime, Skype, call or send a card. Just let them know how much they mean to you! Stay active. Go apple picking, ice skating, snow-skiing, participate in a holiday-themed run – anything to get the blood flowing and those endorphins pumping. Plus, you’re bound to meet new people who share your enthusiasm for the outdoors.

More of a hot chocolate-by-the-fire kind of person?

Curl up with your favorite book. Just you, a blanket, a merrily crackling fire and total peace. Lose the electronics, too – you don't need a ringing cell phone interrupting Pride and Prejudice. Run a bath. Rubber ducky optional. Light some candles, turn on relaxing music and sink into solitude. Take a yoga class. It's amazing how deep breathing and positive vibes can make holiday stress simply melt away. Don't want to leave your living room? Put that WiFi to good use and enjoy an online yoga class (Bonus: many are FREE). Treat yourself to a massage. In addition to being an effective way to reduce stress, pain and muscle tension, some studies have found massage is also helpful in treating chronic conditions like anxiety, migraines and insomnia. Plan your escape. Sometimes a weekend getaway is exactly what the doctor ordered. Bring a partner or fly solo – just be sure to check your worries at the door. So what are you waiting for? This is your season in your new city! Make it the most spectacular one yet. If you’re struggling with anxiety or sadness that won’t let up, talk to your doctor.

Up the vitamin D:

What you put into your body has a direct correlation to your mood and your overall health. During fall and winter, vitamin D levels drop, leading to fatigue, brittle bones and even depression. To help combat this seasonal deficiency, experts with Carolinas HealthCare System recommend taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement and eating a balanced diet rich in good-for-you fats, dairy and protein (think salmon, eggs, ricotta cheese, grass-fed beef and mushrooms). Try this recipe from to get a hearty and delicious dose of vitamin D:

Vitamin D rich recipe: maple-glazed salmon

Prep Time: 1 minute Cook Time: 10 minutes Yield: 2 servings Vitamin D per serving: 900 IU Ingredients: ▪1 tablespoon maple syrup ▪1 teaspoon hoisin sauce ▪1 teaspoon Dijon mustard ▪1/4 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper ▪ 2 6-ounce salmon filets (about 1-in. thick) ▪Cooking spray Instructions: Preheat broiler. Combine first four ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Place salmon skin-side down on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Brush with maple mixture. Broil 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, brushing with maple mixture after 5 minutes and again after 10 minutes. Serve with a salad.  

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