Published: Dec. 10, 2007
Updated: Dec. 11, 2007
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By Duke Medicine News and Communications
This time of year brings cold weather, stressful travel, and gluttonous feasts that aren't exactly conducive to better health. Here are some tips for staying healthy and happy during the holidays -- and all winter long.
Cold weather and low humidity can turn the most supple skin into a dry and flakey mess. But Russell Hall, MD, chief of the Division of Dermatology at Duke, says don't reach for your favorite hand lotion! Hall says:
According to Redford Williams, MD, director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke, the trick to handling holiday -- or any special day -- stress, anxiety, or depression is to:
"It's a well-known fact that stress disturbs your sleep," which can impact your overall health, said Andrew Krystal, MD, director of Duke's Sleep Research Laboratory and Insomnia Clinic. To increase your chances of a good night's sleep, Krystal says:
Krystal says travel can add to existing sleep problems, but says keeping an eye on the clock can be helpful:
If you're an expert at quitting, but not at kicking the habit entirely, take heart. On average, it takes four or five attempts before most people are successful. "Don't be discouraged if you haven't been successful before," says Eric Westman, MD, director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic. Westman adds:
"It's okay to fall off the wagon once in a while, as long as you look at it as a short vacation," says Martin Binks, PhD, director of behavioral health at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. "One day of enjoyment isn't enough to throw your weight loss efforts. It's okay to eat those special foods once in a while -- just keep portion control in mind and make sure you exercise that day."
Is this good news, or what? Duke University Medical Center scientists Cris Slentz and Johanna Johnson have extracted these findings from years of research examining the benefits of varying amounts and intensity of exercise among moderately overweight, middle-aged men and women over an eight-month period.
Work, home life, kids' activities -- does the merry-go-round ever stop? "Use mindfulness to interrupt that automatic pattern," says Jeff Greeson, a health psychologist at the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine.