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Four Gifts to Give Yourself This Christmas

For most of us December is anything but a “holiday.” Here are four simple gifts you can give yourself to de-stress this season.

Have a cup of hot cocoa. Hot beverages raise our body temperature and provide a sense of comfort. Cornell University research found hot cocoa contains more antioxidants than red wine. And get your chocolate fix from the drink rather than a candy bar. A 40-gram bar of chocolate contains about 8 grams of saturated fat, compared to only 0.3 grams in the average cup of hot cocoa.

Perhaps chestnuts are not at the top of your grocery list, but your body needs the right fuel to be healthy. Raw, unsalted nuts provide protein and fiber. Eating delicious foods is part of the holiday season – enjoy! One strategy to maintain body weight is to taper down the day before and the day after a big holiday meal day.

God REST Ye Merry Gentlemen
Studies on military pilots show that a 20 minute mid-afternoon power nap refreshes the body. A nap for longer than 90 minutes will likely leave you fatigued. A 45-minute nap is ideal, fits into REM cycle sleep, and you will wake up feeling rested.

LAUGHing All The Way
Recent studies show laughter releases oxytocin, a powerful feel-good hormone. A good laugh can positively affect our circulation, immune response, blood sugar levels and sleep patterns. Laughter, stretches facial muscles, expands the lungs and increases our pulse rate. More oxygen flows to tissues giving our bodies something of a mini-workout.

SILENT night
We clean our fridges, teeth, inbox – why not clean our minds? Take a few minutes each day for silence. Our bodies run on two nervous systems: one for daily activities and one for fight or flight. God made us this way so we could run when encountering a grizzly or a tiger. The crowd at the mall can have similar effects, causing stress on our bodies. Take some space to meditate, write a gratitude list or pray.

We miss the essence of Christmas when we are frazzled and stressed. John 1:14 in The Message says, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” This momentous event bears celebrating: body, mind and spirit.

Gigi McMurray is a writer and family nurse practitioner at GracePointe Healthcare. You can find more of her musings at

GracePointe Healthcare
Ph# (615)599-6868 740 Cool Springs Blvd. Suite 110 Franklin, TN 37067

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