Focusing on health: How managing your holiday health helps your patients

By CareerSmart Learning Contributor, December 2014 , as published by Healthcare Hot Spot

When you work in healthcare, it’s important to remember that you set a constant example for your patients. Your moods and behaviors affect them – even if you wish they wouldn’t. So staying balanced and healthy is as crucial to performing your job well as it is to your happiness. This can be trickier over the holidays, but don’t worry: the following tips will help you stay on track even when challenged by the endless treats, topsy-turvy schedules and swirling emotions of this season.

Maintain Your Diet and Exercise Routines

No other month brings on the goodies like December does. Everywhere you look, it seems like a mountain of cookies, pies, hot drinks and delectable confections threaten to overwhelm you. Alarming? Yes. Beatable? You bet. Start by sticking to your regular exercise routine no matter what, and reminding yourself that overindulging last night is the opposite of an excuse to skip the gym today. Where possible, make an eating plan for holiday gatherings and stick to it: one appetizer, one serving of dinner, one small dessert. Planning ahead will remove your feelings of helplessness.

Find Healthy Ways to Deal With Emotion

The holidays are supposed to be joyful, but they frequently bring up difficult emotions. Perhaps you are missing a recently deceased loved one, are sad to be single, or dealing with family strife. Find healthy ways to deal with your feelings, such as journaling, seeing a counselor, meeting a friend for coffee or visiting a burial site. Provide your emotions an outlet instead of denying them.

Manage Your Money Well

Along with mountains of delicious food, the holidays also bring endless opportunities to spend your money. Presents for friends and family, new clothes for parties and meals, themed outings and out-of-town trips to see loved ones all cost a pretty penny. Avoid overspending by making a holiday budget. As you become more proficient, you may begin to set that budget for next November, but for now, take some time to sit down, consider your finances and decide what you can afford through the New Year. Then stick to it.

Relax On Your Own

The holidays force a whole lot of togetherness. You may feel as though all your off-hours should be spent with others, but that isn’t true. You need time to yourself to relax, recharge and reset. Cultivate alone time, or time spent just with your significant other or a good friend. Scheduling time for yourself is important so be sure to pencil in some you time as the holiday rolls in.

Just Breathe

Sometimes, believe it or not, it’s as simple as drawing a few deep breaths. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, step back and take stock. List the things you’re grateful for, and put hardship in perspective. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly. Repeat.

Managing holiday stress isn’t necessarily easy, but with strategies in place it will become much more doable. Remember that it’s important not to beat yourself up when you fall short on one of your resolutions. Instead, simply try again. Keeping a level head most of the time will help you set that great example for patients and interact with them in the friendly, cheerful manner they desire.
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December 24, 2014

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