HYDE PARK, N.Y. -- It's getting to be that time of year -- holiday time, but also a stressful time.
According to Margaret Doner, the owner of Partners in Massage in Hyde Park, one of the things that makes people feel sluggish around the holidays is the overconsumption of food.
"Fats and sugars coupled with the cold weather combine to drive people indoors and even into bed at very early hours," she said. "It's well known that exercise combats stress and fatigue, and a brisk walk -- well-bundled of course -- brings a sense of revitalization that helps both physical and emotional health."
If you can't get outside, try stretches and simple aerobic activity. Circle your arms over your head and behind your back, then reverse the direction. Reach for your toes and the ceiling a few times. Put a blanket on the floor and elongate your legs in front of you and do a gentle, slow stretch trying to bring your head to your knees. "Movement is one of the best ways to re-energize the body," explained Doner.
Massage therapy is also very effective for re-energizing the body, mind and spirit, because it relieves mental, emotional and physical stress. Endorphins (which lift our mood) are released in massage and toxins are released through the lymph system.
"Nothing feels better than a warm, de-stressing massage on a cold day," she said.
Doner finds the most common areas for stress are neck, shoulders, lower back and hips. And driving is a big culprit!
"Driving not only creates stress in our upper body as we grip the steering wheel, but we are constantly using our right leg and foot which makes us slightly crooked and can lead to sciatica," she said.
And yes, there's the stress the start of the holiday season brings. "As everyone knows we put tremendous pressure on ourselves around the holidays," said Doner.
Her advice? If you're the type of person who's always thinking of others, and yet find that you deplete yourself in the process, remember that if you are not healthy then you can't take care of those you love.
In other words, don't give yourself away in the process of giving!
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