Happy Healthy Holidays!
The holiday season always seems to have a great impact on our hearts and emotions. It’s the unique opportunity we are given to escape from our daily routine which, most of the time, revolves around personal issues and family needs. During the holidays, we meet with friends and family, socialize, care for the others, enjoy ourselves, have fun, dance and open up to the rest of the world.
However, this festive atmosphere can also bring on a melancholy for some as the season can bring to the surface an array of feelings – unfulfilled emotional or material needs, sorrow, loneliness and event guilt. Suddenly, we give more attention to these feelings and the holiday spirit makes us even more vulnerable.
During this holiday season, Greece finds itself in a much more difficult financial position and even worse, its people are not only in a frustrated state, but also immensely disillusioned and pessimistic as they look to the future. Unprecedented unemployment, closed shops, homes with no heat in the dead of a cold winter – these factors all together make the image of Christmas so different from that of years past when there was an abundance, even excess, in cheer, spirit and consumerism that we were once so used to.
This state of affairs has a great impact on our health as well. Holiday stress, especially this year, challenges our body and health resilience. So what should we expect? Do we avoid celebrating the season?
Every crisis in human history is also an opportunity for a new beginning. Humanity has suffered far worse disasters, irrational and inhumane wars, and from these conditions the greatest emotional and creative aspects of human beings – social solidarity and mutual support – have been the results.
With the New Year coming, make the decision to be healthy and happy. Let’s choose walking instead of smoking. Believe me, it is equally addictive and fulfilling. Let’s walk as much as we can, wherever we can. This year, we choose not to fast and then eat to excess, but rather to enjoy wisely and responsibly. We do not need to “over” eat or drink to get in the spirit. Strict fasting can also be harmful, and “light” products can lead to carb cravings. Food is, and should remain, a pleasure, but one to be enjoyed responsibly.
Let us begin with what each of us is willing, and able, to do to protect our own health and well being during these festive days. We must realize that to the greatest degree, the quality of our health depends entirely on us; it is our responsibility to take care and seek healthcare when necessary. Making excuses for not taking preventative action is a big mistake. Now, in the heart of the economic crisis, is the best time to take action towards becoming healthier. Let this year’s holiday abundance and indulgences come in enjoying each other’s company and good cheer!
Christos Ntellos, MD