A generous spirit is good for one’s health

Posted 24 December 2014 at 12:00 am

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator for Orleans County Health Department

It is holiday time and if you look at TV schedules, you will see a lot of classic holiday shows “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” might come to mind when thinking about how to celebrate the holidays.

If you are not familiar with the story, a mean-hearted Grinch tries to steal Christmas from the sweet, generous residents of Whoville. So what does a Grinch have to do with health? Let’s take a look.

The Grinch did not like that the Whoville community sang and enjoyed one another’s company because he was all alone on top of a mountain. If you are having trouble with being alone, consider inviting family or friends over for a visit. It does not have to be anything fancymaybe a dish to pass and some board games, taking time to enjoy each other’s company.

When the Grinch and his trusty dog Max made plans to stop Christmas, they decided to take everything they thought made the holiday fun. For many, the best part about holiday time is not getting, but giving and seeing the joy of the recipient.

When shopping for gifts, think about the age, likes and needs for those you are gifting. Gifts that are homemade can be cherished for years and be gentle on your budget. Always make sure you check the age guidance for children’s toys for safety sake.

If buying bikes, scooter, roller blades, make sure you remember safety equipment such as helmets and pads. The best way not to be a Grinch after the holiday season is to not over spendset a budget and stick to it. Consider sponsoring a family or child and provide food and gifts to someone who may not have as much as you do.

As the Grinch slithered through the homes, he took all the food including the Who-hash. When hosting meals at your home during the holidays, consider simple meals and/or ask your guests to share their favorite holiday foods.

If you are trying to maintain your weight, have plenty of fresh veggies and drink water throughout the day to have a full feeling. It is OK to sample treats, just remember to limit how much you have.

The last thing the Grinch stole from the Who’s were their decorations. When decorating, remember to follow the lighting directions so you do not overload outlets. Consider putting your lights on timers and never leave them on when you are not at home or while sleeping.

If you have a real tree, make sure it is well watered and if the needles start falling, do not turn the tree lights on as the tree will become a fire hazard. Make sure your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Also remember your pets. Decorations and chocolate treats can make them sick if they eat them.

Later in the morning after the Grinch and Max made their way back to the mountain with all of Whoville’s gifts, food and decorations, he hears the Whos singing joyfully celebrating the day. Realizing he did not stop Christmas, the Grinch returns everything to Whoville and receives a gift in returnthe gift of forgiveness and friendship.

Forgiving someone actually makes you feel better as it takes away the burden of bitterness and unforgivenesseven if you feel you were right, reaching out the hand of forgiveness will give you peace.

Spending time with friends and family does not have to be stressful. Set time limits if you feel you need to be around someone you would rather not be around. Choose wisely who you want to spend time with, some feel the need to add extra stress wherever they go.

Only you can decide whom you want to share your holidays with. When traveling to visit others, plan for the weather, drive wise, put the cell phone away so you are not distracted and never drive after drinking alcohol or when you are too drowsy.

May the hearts of all the Grinch’s you know grow three times the size this holiday season! From all of us to all of you Merry Christmas!