November Wellness Corner

National Stress Awareness Day took place on November 4th, 2020. There are many things going on in our world right now, which can be causing stress for several people. While that might be true, there are certainly ways that individuals can address and even remove stress from their lives. Each hospital and team at PPV gives so much every day to their community and pets. Pets get people through some very stressful and difficult times in their lives, so thank you for being a part of keeping our society well. You are our heroes!

In consideration of National Stress Awareness Day, PPV wants to share some tips for saying goodbye to stress, especially with the holidays quickly approaching! For some, you may be curious about how to manage the stress of being around family this year. For others, you might be wondering how to manage the stress of not getting to see family this year. Both are valid realities, and your PPV family is here to support every step of the way.

For those of us who might be experiencing sadness or stress about not being able to be with loved ones during the holidays, get creative! Host a virtual cook along with everyone on their phones. If you have people in your network who are anti-technology or simply can’t access a video conference platform, you can still host off-screen toasts and events by making a group chat and sharing videos and photos of each respective household doing their activities. For example, host a bake along where everyone bakes the same recipe and shares photos and videos along the way! The videos and photos of everyone doing a similar activity at the same time can bring a sense of belonging and closure to those desiring a get-together.

The holidays can be a difficult time for individuals who have lost a loved one this year. To make things even more challenging, the COVID-19 pandemic might prevent people from being around much needed social support. Consider making a memory box to honor and celebrate your loved one during the holidays. Include things like their quotes, favorite treats, photos, and other tokens that remind you of them. Then, gather around (socially distanced) and have an open dialogue about why each item was included. If your family or friends cannot be together, you can host a virtual memory box activity during which everyone joins by phone or video to share stories, talk about how much they may miss them, and provide a sense of groupness through the challenge. Remember, it is okay to talk about and remember your lost loved ones however you see best fit.

Another way to bust the stress of the holidays is to make dedicated and specific time for your hobbies. Some examples include volunteering, painting, sewing, crafting, fixing up things around the house, reading, and cooking healthy meals. The goal is the redirect your attention from experiencing stress to intentionally doing things you enjoy, but you must make time for this or it will get put on the back burner and forgotten.
You can also write gratitude letters to family and friends. Due to the pandemic, consider mailing them along with your holiday cards! This will amplify the positive relationships you have in your life in an effort to overshadow the ones that need to be further developed. In your letter, express why you are thankful for someone while citing specific actions or behaviors over the last year. Then, consider reading the letter aloud to the person by phone. The therapeutic benefits of thanking someone and reading it aloud can help fend off stress through the holidays!

If your family does decide to get together in a safe way this year, please social distance and wear a mask. Have you ever found yourself having an uncomfortable conversation with others during the holidays? A great way to address this, especially with family and friends who might cause you stress, is to have a few conversation changers up your sleeve and ready for use! You can use conversation bridges such as “Oh, that totally reminds me that I wanted to tell you…” or “Wait, that makes me think of….” Then, you can change the topic to something more neutral and more calming such as a new Netflix show or something fun! Memorize a few and have them ready to go in your mind. Remember, you are not obligated to talk about anything that makes you uncomfortable. Even if it’s your most beloved great aunt, take a deep breath and know that it is okay to say, “I respect you enough not to talk about that, but what about The Great British Bake Off?”

Lastly, download a meditation app on your phone before the holidays! Indulge in 15-minute meditations before a socially distanced social event or family gathering. As an alternative, consider taking a 15-minute walk alone to mentally clear your mind and allow yourself time to recharge before being around others. If you take rollover stress with you into a gathering, it is more likely that you will experience a negative outcome.

November is National Diabetes Month, a time when we dedicate attention to the disease and prevention. Diabetes is a disease that occurs when an individual’s blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is a main source of energy and comes from the food we eat. Insulin is a hormone that is made by the pancreas, and it serves to transport glucose from what we eat into cells to be used for energy. When the body makes too much or too little insulin, it can result in blood glucose imbalances. Leading a healthy lifestyle can play a major role in preventing diabetes. Be sure to visit your primary care doctor on a regular basis for preventative screenings and visits. Eating well and exercising are important for your overall health. Regular exercise such as brisk walking for just 30 minutes a day for five days a week can help keep you healthy and diabetes at bay.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, check out some tasty recipes here that are sure to please everyone, even those with diabetes!