Category Archives: Travel Tips and Trick

Can Herpes Mar Your Holiday?

As one after another, holidays from Christmas to Valentine’s will be celebrated, a lot of planning ranging from arranging holidays to shopping takes place. A lot of stress and illness is experienced by many people during holidays. Lack of proper rest can cause stress. The more rested you are, the better you can handle your stressful situations. The less stress you have, the better controlled your herpes will be. Stress incites the outbreak in case of herpes.

Genital herpes and cold sores around month are caused by herpes simplex virus. Herpes zoster is the virus that causes shingles and chickenpox. This virus gets transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact. Cold sores can be transmitted through kissing (which admittedly we do a lot in holidays). Directly contacting with the body fluids of infected person can also transmit the virus.

Let’s go through some of the tips to overcome symptoms of herpes outbreak during your holidays:

Eat healthy: You should make sure that you are eating nutrient-rich diet that your body needs to keep your immune system strong. The smell of the holiday buffet can tickle your taste buds, but that food might not be good for your stress level. Limit foods high in sugar and fats during holidays.

Take enough sleep: You can keep yourself away from stress by having as much sleep as your body requires. The chances of herpes outbreak reduce with less stress.

Avoid getting cold: Cold causes a lot of stress to your body and often triggers herpes outbreak. Wash your hands frequently to avoid getting cold.

Avoid excessive drinking: You can indulge in drinking as holidays are meant to celebrate. Excessive drinking makes you less restful during sleep which is bad for your body.

Treatment for herpes outbreak

Despite taking precautionary measures and tips to avoid herpes outbreak, if you get one then controlling of outbreak symptoms is the best option to get relief. An effective genital herpes treatment pushes the virus into inactive dormant stage. You should keep your infected area clean and dry so as to let the natural healing process take place. Doctors recommend taking warm showers to cleanse the infected area and keeping the area dry, free from any moisture.

Although there are no genital herpes treatments that can cure herpes, frequency and duration of outbreak can be controlled by some medications. These medications can alleviate the symptoms and fasten the healing of the sores. Prescription medications such as Valtrex and Famvir can relieve the uncomfortable situations. You can get Valtrex which is an anti-viral drug that tackles the outbreak symptoms of genital herpes within first 24 hours online. It can be also used as shingles treatment. Famvir is a suppressive treatment for genital herpes, which can be taken with first signs of an outbreak. It prevents a full outbreak to occur within 24 hours.

Camping Holidays – Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages of camping holidays begin with adventure. A family can go wherever they want and camp there for as long as they have. From a camping base a family can go for walks out into the wild and see nature in its true habitat. They can also make their way over to huge lakes to fish or swim, and if they find an adventure park they can spend the day zip lining around the trees as fast as they can go, which is fun for everyone.

This is also where the disadvantages begin however, because some people like the routine they have and won’t want it disturbed by living in a tent for a week or two. Sometimes there are no shower facilities and people will need to use a solar shower, which isn’t a problem for most, but some people could feel self-conscious about their body when using one. Toilets are another big disadvantage if a camp site doesn’t have the facilities provided, as people will need to go and dig themselves a hole to use, or use a communal one, which many consider to be worse.

For others the freedom of being in the outdoors outweighs all disadvantages relating to homely comforts such as showering and using the toilet. They also enjoy not being able to use their mobile phones, as these are an invasion which can ruin a holiday if someone is using theirs constantly. Whilst camping, people will also be away from the thick smog of the city, something many consider to be unhealthy. The great outdoors has nothing but fresh air, and most people consider this a huge advantage of camping holidays.

To break it down to a list of the core advantages and disadvantages, this is what most people think of camping.

Advantages

1) Adventure

2) Seeing Wildlife

3) Clean Air

4) No Mobile Phones

5) No Internet

6) No Traffic

7) No Interruptions

Disadvantages

1) No Toilet

2) No Shower

3) No Food Provided For You

4) Living In A Tent

5) Bugs

6) Little Or No Electricity

7) Nothing Much To Do If You’re Not Adventurous

In conclusion, the advantages and disadvantages of camping seem to be entirely based on opinion. What people need to realise is that camping can be great fun as long as everyone is involved in enjoying themselves, because once someone isn’t having fun, the trip is ruined. If worst comes to worst, building a huge camp fire and staying up late into the night is something everyone enjoys doing.

Affordable Holiday Packages: What Are Some Must-See Places for Your Holiday Getaway?

Do you want to go to Australia on a nice holiday weekend? Or head to the casinos in Vegas for an exciting time? No matter what time of the year you plan on going, there should be some type of affordable holiday packages available.

What destinations appeal to you? Are you interested in a specific package, such as those tailored around golf, romance, or families? Make a list of what you are hoping to get out of your upcoming holiday trip and see what kind of deals you can find. Depending on the location and the circumstances, you might not find exactly what you’re looking for right away, so either have a backup destination in mind or wait patiently for the right deal to pop up.

Holiday packages at the bare minimum include hotel accommodation and free breakfast. Some may include free dining or even airfare. It’s pretty common these days for travelers to book their airfare and hotel room at the same time as it is often cheaper to do so rather than book them separately. However, this isn’t always the case. First, check and compare the prices to see which strategy would work best for you.

If you’re going to an exotic place you’ve never been before, you might want to consider a tour. Some affordable holiday packages include guided tours, usually by a local. This way, you can ensure that you are truly experiencing everything that should be experienced. When going on a self-guided tour by yourself, there is always the possibility that you will miss out on something important.

Find Affordable Holiday Packages on the Beach

Holiday deals at the beach tend to be very popular. Everybody loves to escape to a tropical beach somewhere for a few days. Destinations in the Caribbean, Hawaiian Islands, South America, California, and Southeast Asia are always worth considering.

Other types of holiday getaways people seem to really love include ski resorts, mountain retreats, spa retreats, Disney World, and cruises. You could always fly to a major city for a couple of nights of cosmopolitan fun. In the US, must-see cities include Vegas, NYC, and New Orleans. A lot of people want to experience the West Coast as well, so San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles are often on the top of many people’s lists. Other cities across the globe you might want to consider include Paris, London, Tokyo, Seoul, Nassau, Hong Kong, Morocco, Sydney, and Toronto.

Keep in mind that the best affordable holiday packages often sell out quickly, so grab one while you have the chance!

If you really want to find some affordable holiday packages but don’t know how to get started, the best place to look is online. You can score a bargain and go on the holiday of your dreams. All it takes is an online coupon or two.

25 Holiday Activities for Seniors With Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

The holidays can be a very stressful time for the typical family, but for a family caregiver who is managing the care of an aging loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the stress can be overwhelming. To help manage the holiday stress it is important to find holiday activities that are simple and easy to do. There are literally hundreds of ideas of things caregivers and families can do with a senior who has Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are a few tips that you should keep in mind:

Senior’s Specific Activity Interests: It is always good to find things that have been interesting to your loved one in the past. Maybe it was music, art, crafts, reading or puzzles.

Repetition for Dementia: While you and I might easily get bored with repetitive activities, someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease actually can find it comforting and re-assuring. So think of things that are repetitive like cutting coupons, or stringing beads.

Sense of Calm: For someone with cognitive impairments additional stimuli in their environment can be disturbing. Try to avoid chaos and disorganization in the home. Try to keep the environment peaceful and routine.

Meaningful: Provide choice to your aging loved one so they have a sense of value and purpose in the activities that they are doing.

Holiday activities for seniors with Dementia With these key factors in mind, here is a list of some wonderful activities families can do together with a senior who has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. String popcorn

  2. Make paper chain garland

  3. Decorate apples or oranges with cloves and ribbon (pomander)

  4. Make holiday cards

  5. Stick stamps and return labels onto greeting cards

  6. Go caroling together

  7. Play old holiday music or try new holiday music

  8. Read holiday books aloud

  9. Make cookies

  10. Rake fall leaves

  11. Make paper snowflakes to decorate the house

  12. Take a stroll down main street to see the store windows

  13. Polish the silver for the arriving guests

  14. Put out holiday candles throughout the house

  15. Find holiday related crossword puzzles (kids books)

  16. Place holiday ornaments into a decorative bowl

  17. Make a simple holiday floral arrangement

  18. Invite a few friend over to visit for holiday tea and cookies

  19. Wrap gifts

  20. Collect pine cones for a decorative basket

  21. Rent a favorite holiday movie for the whole family

  22. Do a jigsaw puzzle together

  23. Take a nature walk together in the park

  24. Hang the holiday cards that arrive on the mantel

  25. Make a holiday card holder

When caring for an aging loved one, you may need to make adjustments to your typical family traditions, but this is an opportunity to create new family traditions. You might be surprised how enjoyable the season can be for the entire family when you create an atmosphere of peace and calm. For more information about activities for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, please visit Sarahcare adult day care.

A Guide on Safe Scuba Practices

Scuba diving can be one of the most enjoyable recreational sports you will ever do. However, before you get excited about scuba, you must be very aware that scuba diving does have its own risks.

Diving related accidents resulting in death or serious injuries are not all that rare. You may hear every now and again of such unfortunate incidents in which a diver looses his life. It makes you want to stop and think.

However, this should not stop you from a giving it a try. With proper care and caution, scuba diving can be a very relaxing sport. There are kids and elderly alike that enjoy this pastime without loosing their lives.

Let me put this into context. Scuba is no more dangerous than riding a motorcycle. In fact I dare to say that today, it is more dangerous riding a motorcycle in a quiet street. But that does not stop bikers from getting on the road and enjoying their machine.

Firstly let us take a look as to why most scuba diving accidents occur. Well, according to statistics, most scuba diving deaths occur to divers who are not properly trained. Either due to not knowing how to operate their scuba equipment or because of a lack of understanding on the effects of diving in deep water. 

The first step you should need to do even before buying your own equipment is to get certified with a reputable certifying agency. Do not opt to get trained by a friend or a relative who is not a a certified scuba instructor. Instructors are highly qualified in specialized training and skill and will provide you with the necessary scuba skills which you will not get through an unqualified person.

Physical health is another important factor. Scuba is a very strenuous sport. Scuba fatalities from heart or circulatory problems account for about a quarter of all scuba diving deaths. Although you do not need to be a world class athlete, You should be healthy enough to take on the physical stresses associated to scuba diving. If you are in doubt of your physical capabilities, it would be wise to undertake a physical exam before a dive.

One of the most crucial scuba diving safety rules is – never dive on your own. No matter what level of expertise you have, you should always dive with a buddy. Help given underwater even in the simplest form can make all the different between life or death. Besides it is more enjoyable to have someone to share your diving experience with rather than diving on your own.

Always go down with someone who has far more experience than you. This is especially the case if you are a beginner to scuba diving. Two or more beginner scuba divers going on their own is an ingredient for disaster. Get the necessary skills by learning from other who are more proficient. Notice the way they fin underwater, how far more relaxed and delicate their movements seem to be. Become an active diver. If you were to dive frequently, you will maintain your proficiency and will gradually build up your experiences and capabilities.

Many divers risk their lives by overlooking certain risks. Over-confident divers may stray away from their dive plan to explore an underwater cave. This risk can easily be avoided if the dive plan is maintained. Never stray away from the dive plan. 

Remember that you are a guest in the underwater environment which is alien to the world you are normally accustomed to… There are many factors that can lead to dangerous situations. Therefore you have to always be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to react when caught up in a dangerous situation.

A key in scuba diving safety is to continue your diving eduction. A good diver will never stop learning. There are so many things to learn about which will give you the necessary confidence in scuba diving. It is therefore essential that you maintain your scuba skills by diving frequently.

The most important factor when it comes to scuba diving safety is that you take proper care of the equipment which is taking care of you when you are underwater. Service your scuba equipment at least annually and maintain your gear in good condition. If you own scuba tanks then it is best to pressure tested them every 5 years. 


Learning Scuba Diving

We are always told that we must learn to exercise when we are young, when our bodies are more resistant to bruises and bumps that can afflict us when we learn new sports. This applies to some extent.

Take for example, my experience studying windsurfing. I learned sports when I was 26 years old. If I learn this sport now at the age of 42, chances are I won’t go far and might give up after 1 or 2 tries. Learning windsurfing is like fighting with all forces at the same time! We are talking about trying to balance on the choppy waves on a slippery wet board, at the same time maneuvering a screen that is heavier than you in the right direction you want to do. In the process, I donated blood and flesh from wounds to barnacles and bruises from hitting surf boards more than once before falling into the water.

But there is a huge difference with scuba diving. YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN SCUBA DIVING. I can never say this enough. I learnt scuba diving when I was 38. Now I’m not saying that 38 is a ripe old age but still, the body does feel somewhat less strong and less resilient. Added to that, as we get older, we also seem to have more fears. Perhaps we feel we have more to lose if something should happen to us.

I say middle age and beyond should never be a factor in learning scuba diving BUT you do need to have these:

1) an intense love for the sea

2) a willingness to learn from someone younger than you

3) relatively good health and lastly but very important

4) time and money

Now I’m assuming that you are thinking of learning scuba diving because you want to make this a sport that you can enjoy every other weekend if time and money permits and not just learning for education’s sake.

An Intense Love for the Sea
To enjoy a scuba diving trip, you will have to love the sea and I mean really really love it with all its wonderful creatures large and small. You will know what I mean on your first ever scuba diving trip after you have cleared your Open Water tests.

It is unlikely that your scuba diving buddies on your first dive trip will be the same classmates in your scuba diving course. Because of time and money constraints, you will find that you may be the only one keen enough to join a scuba diving trip soon after your certification.

More often than not, your dive buddies will be a dive-crazy bunch who will do at least 4 dives a day plus another at night. This means that on a scuba diving trip, most times you will not do anything but dive, talk about the sea creatures and encounters of each dive, before suiting up for the next dive. For someone who only wants to do one dive a day and then go shopping, he/she may be disappointed as many great scuba diving spots have few of these shopping and entertainment facilities.

In case you are already getting stressed just thinking about this, don’t be. Every scuba diving newbie goes through this. Just have an attitude of a newbie, be humble and you will find that the seasoned divers are more than willing to share tips and may even help you to gear up before a dive.

A Willingness to Learn from Someone Younger than You
Your scuba diving instructor is likely to be someone much younger than you. Some dive instructors have an attitude and are cocky so you may have to live with it for at least 3 weekends before you become certified – 1st weekend for classroom and theory, 2nd weekend for pool sessions and a 3rd weekend for the actual open water tests. Put aside your ego and just bear with it, it’ll be worth it in the end.

Having said that, that’s not to say that there are no good and kind scuba diving instructors around. I was fortunate to receive dive instruction from PC, a very kind and patient man, without whom my dive learning experience would not be as smooth and enjoyable.

Relatively Good Health
It’s not necessary to be in peak fitness before you can take up scuba diving. However, you would need some strength to be able to walk with full scuba diving gear strapped on you. Once you enter the waters with all your gear, you are almost weightless. But it’s the few steps you have to make to get into the boat or to cross the beach into the water that may be a challenge for a person who is not used to carrying heavy loads on them.

Having said that, some scuba diving resorts have fantastic dive staff who can help to overcome this by carrying the tanks and gear to the boat for you to suit up inside the boat. And of course if you are on a live-a-board (live, eat, dive, sleep, on board a boat throughout the dive trip), then this may not be relevant.

Time and Money
This is probably the 2 most deciding factors of whether someone continues to enjoy scuba diving after passing the Open Water tests. Getting certified through a scuba diving course is very fast, just 3 weekends basically. And not too expensive, probably about $300 to $400, including an out-of-the country dive trip for the open water tests. But unless you live near a scuba diving area, you are most likely going to have to travel a distance or even out of the country to do a good dive.

Now just think how much each trip is going to cost you and multiply that by how many times you would love to do scuba diving in a year. When you do the sums, it can be staggering. So you cut down the number of dives you want to do in a year, and then calculate and cut down some more.

In our scuba diving class, my husband and I were the only ones who continued to dive after the class was over. Even then, we did not manage to do the number of dives we would really have loved to do in a year. That’s how it finally ends up that we are doing an average of 1 dive a year. This more or less ensures that we will always be diving as a “scuba diving newbie” (hence the blog’s name). A scuba diver gets “rusty” when the interval is too long between each dive trip. Ideally, we should dive at least once each quarter.

The Sad Life of Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday Biography is about probably the most well known female jazz artist… The lady had the blues folks! She was some lady to deal with all the stress in her life.

Today it is easy to get mental help for depression, but in Billie’s time, it was not so easy… today Xanax or Prozac is easily available! For Billie it was alcohol and heroin… what a shame!

Billie “Lady Day” Holiday was born in Baltimore in 1915. She had a hard childhood — her musician father left the family early, and her mother wasn’t able to keep her consistently which resulted in Billie often being put in care or relatives who abused her.

She was raped at age 11 and grew up in poverty. She says it best in the first line of her famous autobiography Lady Sings the Blues, “Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen, and I was three.”

In 1929, she moved to New York, where she worked as a maid and then as a teenage prostitute. According to legend, in 1930 (at the age of 15), to keep her mother from being evicted, she sang Body and Soul and reduced the audience to tears. The lady sure could sing folks… even as a kid she was a grown woman.

Billie Holiday began singing in bars and restaurants. Four years later, she made her first record with Benny Goodman. In 1935, she got her big breakthrough when she recorded four sides, which featured What a Little Moonlight Can Do, and Miss Brown to You.

She landed her own recording contract, and while the songs given to her were run-of-the-mill (versus the ones saved for the top white singers), she made the songs classics because of her singing ability. The girl had away of “owning” any song she sang… she put her “stamp” on it! LIKE A TRUE “JAZZ-CAT”!

Her voice-quality wasn’t outstanding and her vocal range was limited, but she had an uncanny ability to breathe life into a song, using things like pauses and slurs — which made the song become a story or an experience, rather than just a group of notes sang with a voice.

She poured her heart and soul into every song and her ability to interpret a song and make you feel it was unheard of. While it is more commonplace today, Billie Holiday pioneered the style, and this is how she took ordinary 2nd-rate songs and made them extraordinary.

In 1936, she recorded with pianist Teddy Wilson, where she first worked with Lester Young. These two were made for each other. When he played his phrases with hers, he breathed as she breathed. They perfectly complimented each other stylistically. He nicknamed her “Lady Day” and she nicknamed him “Prez.” They sounded like 2 voices from the same person.

Her recording career is divided into 3 periods. The first is the period in the 1930s, recorded with Columbia, marked by her time with Wilson, Goodman, and Young. Her music was made for jukeboxes, but she turned them into jazz classics. Her popularity never matched her artistic success, but she was widely played on Armed Forces Radio during World War II.

From this period came the anti-racism song Strange Fruit, in which she paints a terrifying picture of lynched black bodies hanging from trees. The lyrics of the song were adapted from a poem by Louis Allen.

The next period is her Decca (record company) years in the Fourties, marked by recordings with string orchestra accompaniment. While the records from this period are impressive, they’re not as “jazzy.” This period featured Loverman as well as her self-written classics Don’t Explain, and God Bless the Child. In late 1947, she was arrested on drug charges and spent 18 months in a federal reformatory.

But the lady made terrible choices when it came to men! She fell in love with men who stole money from her, abused her, and introduced her to heroin. When she got out of prison, she went back to heroin. To be honest folks; I guess a good for nothing man can drive any woman to drink or drugs!

By the Fifties, the third period, her voice was going her voice was more croaky, and she sometimes missed notes, but her ability to interpret songs was enhanced. Some consider this work, with Verve records, to be some of her finest.

Her classic recording of Lady in Satin was described by Ron David as though it “sounded like her voice had died and come back to haunt us from the grave.”

It isn’t known if misery, drugs, or drink (or all three) killed her, but in a sad irony, she was arrested on narcotics charges while on her death bed in 1959. Isn’t that a shame? Enough to give me the blues and cry in my beer!

With all the sadness surrounding the lady, it’s a wonder she could create the wonderful music that she did! Thank god for her strength to bring us a true original sound… a true DIVA is Billie Holiday!

Child Custody Schedules – Ideas for a Holiday and Summer Custody Schedule

Child custody schedules often take into consideration non-school days such as 3-day weekends, thanksgiving recess, spring break, winter break, special holidays and summer recess. It is common for divorced parents to split the minor child’s non-school days even in situations where the parents do not have joint physical custody and do not share custody on an equal basis during the school year. In cases where there is clearly a custodial and noncustodial parent, sharing the holidays and breaks or non-school days allows both parents to have a meaningful relationship with frequent and continuous contact with their children even though the parents are divorced and may no longer live close to one another other.

There are many different holiday and summer child custody schedules that can be implemented that allows the minor child to spend an equal amount of time with each parent. Each situation is unique so the best holiday and summer parenting plan for one family may not be the best for another family. The holiday and summer custody schedule should reflect what’s best for the children and will typically take into consideration many factors including but not limited to the age of the children, relationship minor child has with each parent, work schedules, distance between parent’s homes and more. This article provides example holiday and summer child custody schedules which can be modified according to your situation and what would be in the best for your children.

50/50 Summer Break Schedule

It’s common for parents to share time with their children over the summer break. The summer holiday is usually the longest break during a school year. School breaks are often 5-8 weeks or 2-3 months between May and September. During the summer break parents can alternate weeks, alternate every two weeks, or continue with the regular schedule and add larger blocks of time for a vacation period with each parent.

50/50 Holiday Schedule

It’s also common for parents to share time with their children on holidays. A common holiday schedule is where one parent has the child in even-numbered years and the other parent has the child in odd-numbered years for a particular holiday. Some holidays such as Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break or Christmas Break, Spring Break may be split in half each year or alternate years between parents. This depends on the family and what works best for the children and family dynamic.

Other Special Days

While courts often provide parenting guidelines which outline common days or holidays observed, there really is no set standard as each family may celebrate different holidays or have special days they observe. Parents can be creative and include any day they mutually agree on such as the parent’s birthday, child’s birthday, Halloween, 4th of July, etc.

With a little thought and creativity one can come up with a child custody schedule that evenly divides holidays, special days, summer and non-school days between parents so the minor child can spend an equal amount of time with each parent. Each family is unique so the type of parenting plan chosen and how the child spends time with each parent may vary between homes but should ultimately reflect what’s best for the children and support and encourage a healthy and loving relationship with both parents.

2010 Child Custody Coach. All rights reserved.

Rethinking Holiday Stress Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

One way to understand why the holidays are so stressful is to take an ACT-based approach to rethinking holiday stress. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a values-based approach to dealing with mental distress, is the perfect framework for understanding holiday stress because stress often occurs when two or more strongly held values conflict with each other. Nowhere is this more evident than during the holiday season that stretches from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. The holidays seem to bring out the best and worst in others and ourselves because they are fraught with values conflicts.

People who celebrate the holidays with family and friends generally do so because they value these relationships and want to spend time with loved ones. One way to characterize this is to look at relationships with family and friends as core values. Other values associated with the holidays are related to things such as sharing meals and exchanging gifts. These values could be characterized as secondary or satellite values. They are important, but less important than actually spending time with loved ones.

The media portrays the holiday season as a blissful time when families and friends gather around a large table in a spacious dining room in an opulent colonial home with a roaring fireplace. On the table sits a massive roast turkey and everyone is all dressed up and smiling as the man of the house (dad or grandpa) carves the turkey with precision. Afterwards everyone gathers around the perfectly decorated Christmas tree and exchanges gifts and pleasantries.

Nice image unless of course you are a vegetarian, live in an apartment with dining space for 6 at best, had an abusive father or grandfather, are afraid of roaring fires, don’t like to get dressed up and would prefer to go to a local restaurant for a holiday dinner that someone else prepares. Because of conflicts like this, coming together with family and friends at the holidays conjures up all sorts of troubling thoughts and painful emotions related to gifting, food, personal appearance, budgets, travel, living arrangements, family dynamics, and a host of other issues

Three key elements of taking an ACT-based approach to rethinking holiday stress are defining your values, practicing acceptance, and being willing to take action despite your troubling thoughts and painful emotions. By clarifying your holiday values you can use this information to develop values-based goals for the season. This will serve as a roadmap for navigating the season without being overly stressed. Practicing acceptance involves understanding that spending time with family and friends over the holidays will involve values conflicts that will trigger troubling thoughts and painful emotions. Practicing willingness means that you are willing and able to co-exist with your painful emotions and troubling thoughts and still take action (spend time with family and friends) that is consistent with your core values. Here are five tips to help you take ACT-based approach to rethinking your holiday stress.

1. Clarify what you value about the holidays before making any plans. To do this, finish the following sentence stem with as many endings as possible: “The things I value about the holidays are… ” When you are done, rank your holiday values from most to least important.

2. Set reasonable goals for your top three your values. It is better to break goals down into smaller objectives that answer the question; “Who will do how much of what by when?” This will make it easier to meet your values-based holiday goals. For example: Top (core) value: “Family.” Goal: “Visiting my family over the holidays.” Objective: ” I will visit my mom and dad, aunt Millie and her family and my uncle Bob between Thanksgiving weekend and the weekend after New Year’s Day.

3. Accept the pain and suffering that accompanies the joy associated with the holidays. Seeing your family will more than likely dredge up some old painful thoughts, feelings and mental images. ACT has found that the worst thing you can do when these painful thoughts and feelings arise is try to control, avoid, or eliminate them. This only makes them worse. The best way to deal with them is to accept them. Tell yourself: ” I am willing to co-exist with these painful thoughts and feelings in the service of spending time with my family (core value).”

4. Work in some daily physical activity or exercise. The holiday stress response mobilizes energy and creates muscle tension. If you don’t dissipate this through physical activity it has nowhere to go and will cause irritability, insomnia, fatigue, and muscle pain.

5. Take a few good breaths several times a day. Every day take a few moments to calm yourself by becoming more mindful of the present moment through diaphragmatic breathing. Sit comfortably on a chair with a straight back and close your eyes. Put your hands on your belly and slowly exhale completely through your nose. As you inhale slowly through your nose notice the feeling of the air travel in through your nose, down your windpipe, and all the way down to the bottom portion of your lungs closest to where your hands are resting. As you slowly fill your lungs from the bottom up feel your belly rise and push on your hands. When your lungs are completely full pause for a moment and notice how this feels. Slowly empty your lungs and notice the feelings in your chest as the air exits your body. Continue to notice the sensations in your nose, windpipe, lungs and belly as you breathe in and out for a few breaths. Repeat this a few times a day as often as you can during the holidays.