Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

7 Tips to Peacefully Celebrate the Holidays When You are Not Feeling Jolly

It is the time of the year to feel happy…time to be generous…time to spend time with loved ones… and sing festively? Are you not in the mood this season? Don’t worry; you are not alone. Many people find the holidays very stressful and sometimes even sad. Social engagements and family gatherings add another time commitment to already busy days. Gift giving puts pressure on already strapped budgets. Expectations of how you should be enjoying this time of year only make you feel worse. All of these feelings are magnified and complicated by cancer treatment during the holidays.

There are things you can do to help yourself get through the holidays and maybe even enjoy them a bit. Self care is important throughout the year, but during a stressful period it must be a priority.

1) Get Adequate Rest

Making sure you get adequate sleep nightly is key!

  • Adults need 7-9 hours every night and children need 10 – 12 hours of sleep each night.
  • Set a bedtime, and get out of bed every morning at the same time.
  • Don’t drink caffeine after lunch.
  • Limit alcohol to one drink at dinner.
  • Avoid stressful conversations after dinner.
  • Enjoy a relaxation routine in the hour before bed.

Relaxation routines depend on what works best for you, but consider stretching, breathing slowly, writing in a gratitude journal or listening to gentle music. For more information on the importance of adequate sleep and rest, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s website.

2) Pay Close Attention To Your Diet

Another key aspect of self-care is attention to diet and exercise.

  • Fill your plate with colorful foods, mostly fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat only one plate of food at each meal.
  • Enjoy a holiday dessert, but a small serving is enough.
  • Cook with family, enjoy the conversation in the kitchen, but wait to put food in your mouth until you sit down to the meal.
  • Instead of soda, drink warm tea or cider.
  • After the meal, take a walk. Take a walk 3 times a day. Bring someone on the walk whose company you enjoy.

3) Listen To Music You Like

If elevator carols make you crazy, actively search for music you actually like, maybe Celtic  tunes, old country or Jamaican steel drums, and turn that on whenever you can.

4) Try Alternative Gifts This Year

  • If your budget is tight, make gifts this year. Paint on canvas, write a poem, organize a scrapbook of old pictures, and cook a new dish. Or offer a service, such as walking a dog, watching children, delivering meals, organizing a closet.
  • If wrapping presents makes you grumpy, spend time finding wrapping paper you like. Design your own paper. Make your own cloth bags that can be reused. Wrap in plain paper and finger paint it.

5) Turn Your Hospital Experience Around

If going to the hospital or clinic during the holidays brings you down, try to turn the experience around. The staff is always asking you questions, how about you ask them a couple? Ask  the front desk, the valet, the nurse what they like about the holidays, what music they like, and what time of year they prefer.

6) Take Time Out Each Day to Be Positive, Relax and Breathe!

  • Every day, take time to breathe. Turn off the TV and computer. Sit down, stretch your head to the sky, softly close your eyes, relax your shoulders, breath in through your nose slowly and out slowly through your mouth. Say to yourself “I can breathe, I can do it.”
  • Every day remind yourself, “I am here today, I am going to find one thing I like today to make this day worthwhile.” Small things count. Notice a tree, feel the cool air, smile at someone.

7) Treat Yourself to an Alternative Therapy

Get a massage, try a Tai Chi or yoga class, consider acupuncture, drink green tea, or add turmeric to your favorite vegetable stir-fry. Many health benefits of alternative and complementary medicine are described at http://nccam.nih.gov. Be sure to check with your physician before you begin any new exercise programs, and let your physician know about any supplements you take.

To truly make a difference in the way you feel, daily make the effort to do some of the things mentioned above. You don’t need to do them all, but pick three things and make the commitment to do them every day!

Best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year!
Wendy Baer, MD

About Wendy Baer, MD

Wendy Baer, MD, is Medical Director of Psychiatric Oncology with appointments in the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Winship Cancer Institute.

Clinical Specialties In her work at the Winship Cancer Institute, Dr. Baer helps patients and their families deal with the stress of receiving a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. As a Psychiatrist she has expertise in treating clinical depression and anxiety both with medications and psychotherapy to help people manage emotions, behaviors and relationships. The fundamental goal of Dr. Baer’s practice is to promote wellness and maximize patients’ quality of life as much as possible. She believes strongly in the team approach to patient care and collaborates regularly with patients’ doctors, nurses and social workers.

Education Dr. Baer attended medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated with honors. From UNC she went to the University of Pennsylvania where she completed her residency in Psychiatry and served as the Chief Resident in her senior year. Prior to moving to Atlanta, Dr Baer worked in with patients dealing with cancer at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, WA.

Total Lung Clinic – Shaping the Future of Lung Cancer Care

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death among men and women in the United States. The causes of lung cancer can vary drastically, but individuals who smoke are undeniably at higher risk for lung cancer than those who don’t.

The specific cellular changes that occur as a result of lung cancer vary and are unique to each patient. These complex and unique genetic mutations, in combination with the fact that lung cancer is more advanced than most other cancers by the time it’s diagnosed, make lung cancer more difficult to treat than other cancers.

Here at the Winship Cancer Institute, our comprehensive lung cancer treatment program is shaping the future of lung cancer care by studying the effects of individualized cancer treatments. Individualized care involves understanding the unique biology of the genes that are driving each patient’s lung cancer or tumor, which results in a lung cancer treatment plan tailored to each patient’s specific needs.  And because the treatment of lung cancer involves a multidisciplinary and collaborative care team, we have established programs such as our TOTAL Lung Clinic to make the journey through treatment and survivorship an easier one.

Lung Cancer Chat Sign UpOn November 27th, Dr. Suresh Ramalingam of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is hosting an online chat on the topic of lung cancer to answer your questions and provide his feedback and insights on this complex disease. You can sign up for the lung cancer chat here, or using the button the right, and in the meantime, check out Dr. Ramalingam’s video to learn more about the benefits of individualized care for lung cancer patients.

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On November 15 – Commit to Quit

Great American Smokeout - Quit Smoking November 15You’ve heard the health tips a million times: exercise regularly, eat a healthy, balanced diet, and limit alcohol consumption. And the most frequently recommended tip to improve overall health and prevent disease? Don’t smoke.

Tobacco use continues to hold the top seat as the single greatest preventable cause of disease and premature death in America. It’s evidence like that which prompts Emory Healthcare, the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, and the American Cancer Society to take action towards improving awareness around the importance of quitting smoking for the 45 million Americans who still smoke cigarettes and the 15 million Americans who smoke cigars or pipes.

Each year, the American Cancer Society hosts its Great American Smokeout event to create a way to encourage current smokers to set a date, as a group, to quit. This year’s Great American Smokeout takes place on November 15, 2012, and we want to encourage those members of our community who smoke or use tobacco products to take an important step in owning their health by joining others who will choose to make November 15 their quit date.

Quitting is not easy and there’s no single approach that works for everyone, but there is help. If you are trying to quit smoking, know that you have the support of the Emory community and hundreds of individuals like you who have been through it. Carla Berg, PhD, assistant professor at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and an expert on smoking behaviors, says most people make multiple attempts to quit before being successful, “but every time you try, you’re one step closer to actually quitting. And if you quit by age 30, research shows you’ll have the same life expectancy as someone who’s never smoked.”

And no matter what your age, your health improves every day you’re not smoking. It’s never too late to quit.

When it comes to tobacco-use, there are no hypotheticals. Smoking cigarettes causes cancer, heart disease, lung disease and stroke. As an academic medical center, we are constantly searching for treatments and cures for disease, and we are just as passionately committed to disease prevention. To that end, Emory has implemented our own tobacco-free policy to promote and support the health of our patients, families, staff and community. As of September 1, 2012, the Emory family—including the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and Emory Healthcare—is a tobacco-free organization.

We ask that on November 15, 2012, you join us. We ask that you commit to quitting; commit to your health; commit to a better life.

If you have suggestions to share with our readers that have helped you or a loved one quit, please share them in the comments below. For more information and support resources related to quitting and the Great American Smokeout, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.

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