When the holidays are on top of us

Holiday Hoopla
Town Crier File Photo
While retailers promote the holiday season as a time to buy presents and decorations, it’s important not to be overwhelmed by a to-do list. Focus instead, advises Los Altos marriage and family therapist Nancy Andersen, on connection and self-care.

The holiday season is upon us. While it can be a joyous time of year, for some the holidays feel like an elephant on the chest or a knot in the stomach.

Presents! Gotta get, gotta have presents. Christmas cards and decorations, too. Don’t forget planning meals. Maybe there are some relatives you don’t really want to see or a holiday party conversation you dread. We’ve all heard that the holiday season can be a time of stress and/or depression for many. It’s no “ho ho ho” when we’re slumping or worried.

Unplugged: Strategies for relaxing over the holiday break

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The break from school or work the holidays provide can and should be used to unplug, according to Passion Fit owner Reena Vokoun. Getting outside and spending time alone can benefit one’s stress levels.

According to a research study conducted by UC Santa Cruz, unplugging from technology and spending more time in nature can lead to a 50 percent increase in creativity and problem solving.

The holiday break may be the ideal time to truly unplug. Below are four ideas for how to do just that to close out the current year and ring in the new year feeling healthier, happier and more fulfilled.

Avoid back surgery, even with 10-plus years of chronic pain

Courtesy of U.S. National Park Service
One of physical therapist Kim Gladfelter’s clients had been suffering chronic back pain for a decade and was told repeatedly that she had to live with it, that her condition was irreversible. Gladfelter determined that her client was compensating due to a skiing accident that injured her core and hips 15 years previously.

One of my dear clients, Angela, 56, was diagnosed with two disc herniations and degenerating discs of her lumbar spine. She’d been suffering from chronic back pain for 10 years, but it was getting worse, especially in the past three months.

Getting out of bed was a struggle, gardening was out of the question, and even taking a short walk made her back so stiff and sore that she just wanted to shut down.

5 tips to help make the most of your health plan before the end of the year

The holiday season is in full swing, and many people are already making year-end plans to travel and celebrate with friends and family. Yet there is one year-end plan that is often overlooked: taking steps to make the most of your health benefits. Doing so could help improve your health and save you money.

Following are five health tips to consider before the end of the year.

Ahead of the carve: Pass the gravy and discuss family genetics this holiday season, urges local startup

Courtesy of Color Genomics
Color Genomics’ at-home clinical genetic testing kit costs $249. However, to encourage relatives of the original purchaser to test their genes for possible disease-causing mutations, too, additional kits are priced at $50 each.

A genetic testing kit company with local ties is working to refocus Thanksgiving dinner-table conversation to include genetics in the hopes that people will educate themselves, select health care tailored to them and ensure their presence during the holiday season next year and for years after.

A season dedicated to gratitude and family gatherings presents an opportune time to learn more about family health history, according to Katie Stanton, a 15-year Los Altos resident, in an email to the Town Crier introducing Color Genomics, a Burlingame-based private genomics technology company.

5 ways to get organized and minimize stress over the holidays

According to a research study conducted by Healthline, only 10 percent of respondents reported typically experiencing no stress during the holidays, which means 90 percent feel stressed in some way.

While the holiday season can be challenging for many, following are five tips for getting organized and minimizing stress during this often complex time of year.

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