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Finding Serenity During the Holidays

No matter what holiday you celebrate, you might learn something from cartoon character Charlie Brown and his annual search for calm and meaning during the holiday frenzy. An overload of obligations, stress and unhealthy eating habits are just a few of the pitfalls many people experience despite good intentions.

Hitting the pause button, and setting priorities can transform your holiday season and protect your health, the experts say.

Prevention is the key to well-being. First, ask yourself some important questions, said Rev. Guillermo Escalona, director of pastoral education for Baptist Health South Florida.

“What does the holiday mean to me? What should I truly devote my energy to?” he said. “Isn’t it primarily about the people, the true presents — and if we have a God connection, enjoying what God is trying to say to us through this holiday?”

A look back at past holidays can be revealing, he said, particularly if the result was sadness, anger and depletion — whether physical, emotional, spiritual or financial.

“Where did I invest my energy? My time, my talent, my treasure? Was it worth it?”

People often see holiday celebrations as synonymous with over-indulging, which can mean taking a break from normal healthy routines, said Manuel Torres, M.D. [1], a Baptist Health Primary Care physician, whose focus includes preventive medicine and promoting healthy lifestyles. The consequences, he said, can be illness or even a trip to the emergency room.

Healthy Holiday Tips

To ensure a healthier, happier holiday, Dr. Torres and Rev. Escalona offer some encouragement and the following prescription:

“The popular Genesis story is about a  God who pauses,” Rev. Escalona said. “He’s not busy, he’s productive.”