Happy holidays!  This month I'd like to share some tips for a stress-free holiday season.  But first, I have an exciting announcement!  We will be in a new office as of January 1, 2015.  It's not very far from the current office, and we're really looking forward to the move.  The new address is:

1437 Woodroffe Ave. (just south of Meadowlands)
Ottawa, ON
K2G 1W1

Our phone number will remain the same (613.829.0427)

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, safe - and stress-free - holiday! 

   Tips for a Truly Stress-Free Holiday

Keep it simple
Prune the to-do list.  Ask yourself, "If I don't do this, what will happen?"  Do your best to reduce the list of chores to the absolute essentials.

Scale back on decorating.  For example you could substitute a simple wreath on the door for outdoor lighting - and save both work and electricity bills.

If you feel a real tree is important, then take the time to enjoy decorating it.  Consider it a pleasure, not just another item on your to do list.  If you don't feel all that strongly about a tree, you could substitute a table-top tree for "the real thing" - it will still be festive.  With a few other modest decorations, your place will be festive without all the hassles you may be used to.

Downsize dishwashing.  If you get out the fancy fine china that has to be hand washed, then if you're the cook, delegate dishwashing to other family members.  If you can't easily delegate this task, consider using your every day dishes that can simply go in the dishwasher.  Save the good china for a time when you have fewer people for dinner. Remember, the food will taste just as good, and it's more important to cut down on your work so you have enough energy to enjoy your company and the meal, than to aim for perfection (see "Adjust your expectations" below).

Buy, don't bake.  First, you likely don't have a need for many baked goods.  Keep in mind everything we've told you about the stress caused to your body simply by eating added sugar!  (See Newsletters April 2014 /newsletter/the-good-the-bad-and-the-sweet-april-2014-volume-6-issue-1.html and November 2010 /newsletter/sugar-november-2010-volume-2-issue-8.html.)  Buy a few good quality (no trans fats or HFCS) cookies, baked goods etc., and supplement with fresh fruit.

Stick with the tried and true.  This isn't the time to experiment with a new recipe.  Just stick to what you know you do well.  Your guests are undoubtedly anticipating a meal just like they enjoyed last year, and may actually be disappointed if you come up with something different.

Don't hesitate to ask for help.  Delegate!  Guests enjoy feeling useful.

Stay home!  If you can avoid the hassle of traveling at this time of year, so much the better.  No worries about the weather for driving.  No cancelled flights, crowded airports or crabby people.  Just freedom to relax!  Take a drive in your neighbourhood to admire the lights.  Eat healthy meals at home.  Find the time to finally read a book in your pyjamas on a snowy day!  Enjoy!

If you do travel - Pack smart. Put everyone's sleepwear and toothbrushes in one easy-to-reach bag.  Then, the first night when you arrive, you won't have to fumble through every suitcase before bedtime.

If you're driving, stay safe along the way.  Be sure your vehicle is in good running order for the trip by checking fluid levels, tire pressure, and making sure you have lots of spare windshield cleaner fluid.  Check road and weather conditions.

Avoid airport hassles.  Arrive earlier than you need to; i.e. more than 90 minutes for international flights and more than an hour for domestic flights.  Allow more time than you need for every step of the way, e.g. getting to the airport, parking your car, getting into the airport by shuttle bus if applicable.  If you're picking up guests at the airport, check the arrival time of their flight ahead of time in case they're either early or late.

Choose travel-proof gifts.  Gift certificates are ideal.  Or mail gifts ahead of time.  Another excellent option is to order gifts to be delivered directly to your holiday destination.  All of these strategies will save a lot of space in your suitcases!

Adjust your expectations
The fewer expectations you have, the better.  Go with the flow.  Focus on the few things that really matter and let everything else take care of itself.  While we can't control our families or friends - or many other factors - we can control our expectations.

Psychotherapist Ashley Eder in Boulder Colorado says, "The more rigidly attached we are to a particular outcome, the more likely we are to be disappointed, and this can apply to family relationships, money, and even the food on the table."  Eder defines stress as the difference between our expectations and reality.  So lower your expectations, and you may then be pleasantly surprised!

A close corollary of adjusting your expectations is letting go of perfectionism.  Aim for "good enough."  You'll avoid so much stress that way.  You are not, and have no need to be, Martha Stewart!

Act like a grown up
Getting involved in family squabbles is never a good idea over the holidays.  You can choose how to respond and behave when someone pushes your buttons.  Plan in advance, over a cup of calming herbal tea, how you're going to deal with the most common, predictable situations calmly, and stick to your plan.

Be organized.  Organization gives you a sense of control and peace of mind.  It helps to make a list and decide on the order you're going to accomplish the tasks on your list.

Getting rid of clutter can also help you to feel more calm and organized.  Take a few minutes to tidy up your house.

Maintain the basics of your healthy lifestyle during the holidays
Exercise to reduce stress.  Not only does exercise reduce anxiety, but a morning workout can help you fight the munchies all day long.  The biggest mistake is to let your exercise routine slip because you're busier.  Something as simple as a quick walk for 20 minutes to half an hour every day can make a huge difference.

Stick to a healthy diet.  Eat lots of veggies and protein, some whole grains and dairy or dairy substitute, and some fruit.  Eat healthy fats in moderation.  Skip the added sugars and refined carbohydrates.  That means avoid processed and most pre-prepared foods.  Avoid excessive alcohol.  You know the drill!

Get enough good quality sleep - at least 7 hours a night, preferably 8.

Drink lots of water.  All day.  Every day.  As a general rule, drink at least 8, 8-ounce glasses of water a day.  To calculate more precisely how much water you need, divide your weight in pounds by 2, and that is the number of ounces you need, e.g. a person who weighs 150 pounds should drink 75 ounces of water per day.

Meditation or mindfulness only takes 15 to 30 minutes a day, which is possible even with a busy schedule.  All you need is your mind, so it's affordable!  Just give yourself some quiet time to let your thoughts run free or focus on your breathing.  Or you can buy inexpensive guided meditations.  It sounds deceptively simple, but it really helps, and is increasingly recognized as an important part of maintaining good health regardless of the season.

Pamper yourself.  Be sure to schedule some down time, no matter how impossible that may seem.  You owe it to yourself. 

Remember to have fun! 
Savour the holiday, and take the time to enjoy it.  Enjoy the present moment.  Give yourself permission to forget about all the things left on your to do list.  Don't hesitate to say "no" to things you don't really want to do, or don't have time to do.  A smile will spread some holiday cheer.


If all else fails. . . there are herbal supplements that can really help reduce your stress levels.

As we've mentioned recently, Nature's Sunshine has recently introduced Zerenity, a super-helpful, calming supplement which is available directly from our office.

RE-X is a sedative and tranquilizing formula high in calcium, manganese, selenium, zinc and niacin.  See!/RE-X-100-capsules/p/6402650.

Passionflower.  While passionflower has long been considered a folk remedy for anxiety and insomnia, a few studies have shown that the herb may actually be comparable in effectiveness to benzodiazepine drugs, which are used to treat stress. Passionflower is available directly from our office.

STR-J provides nutrients that must be present for proper function of the nervous system. The formula contains one of the most favored herbs of Europe—chamomile. This combination is high in chromium, magnesium and vitamins A and C. Stress-J works well with other supplements like B-complex vitamins, bee pollen and extra vitamin C. It contains: Chamomile flowers, Passion flowers, Fennel seeds, Feverfew herb, Hops flowers, and Marshmallow root.  See!/STR-J/p/6402648.

Stress Pak is a 30-day program to provide the right nutrients which are depleted during times of physical and/or emotional stress.

  • Nutri-Calm provides generous amounts of vitamin C, and the B vitamins that are essential to proper nervous system function. Also contains calming herbs and adaptogens.
  • Stress-J provides nutrients required for proper functioning of the nervous system. It is a sedative and tranquilizing formula used to relieve the effects of everyday stresses.
  • Nerve Eight is an herbal combination designed to support the nervous and structural systems.
  • AdaptaMax is an exclusive combination that provides powerful adaptogens to help the body buffer the effects of stress and adapt to stressful situations

To order, see!/Stress-Pak/p/25596019/category=5963008.
Stress Formula is a vitamin B-complex formula in a base of calming herbs to nutritionally support the nervous system when under stress. See!/Stress-Formula-100-tablets/p/6402647/category=5963008.

For additional information, please email; or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment.  Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter.  Also on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, additional information about products, order products, and see information about our Clinic.

  1. Ewer C. Christmas calm: ten tips for a stress-free holiday season. Accessed December 9, 2014.
  2. Women's Day Staff. 29 tips towards a stress-free holiday: relax and enjoy the festivities for a change. Accessed December 9, 2014.
  3. Tartakovsky M. 8 tips for a fairly stress-free & fulfilling holiday. Accessed December 9, 2014.
  4. 31 no-stress holiday entertaining tips.,,20752588,00.html Accessed December 9, 2014.
  5. Alvarez M. 7 tips for stress-free holidays. Accessed December 9, 2014.
  6. How to have a stress free holiday season Accessed December 8, 2014.
The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.


Ramila Padiachy
Ramila's Healing Arts Clinic