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Start the New Year Stress Free

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

With the start of another New Year and a long weekend ahead we have an extra few days of relaxation and reflection before “really” beginning 2009. The “down time” after the holidays is important for everyone and the best way to start the New Year is being well rested and less stressed.

I envision 2009 starting off stressful enough due to the economy, job loss or salary cuts for many parents and all of the ensuing issues that brings. So this is a year to commit to ways to reduce stress, before it even starts. There are certain things we cannot control, but we can all improve our stress levels by doing things that have been proven to be stress reducers. This includes healthy eating, good bedtime routines and exercise. For some people, these things are already their routine, but for most of us we can improve in any one, or maybe all of these areas.

This is not only for parents but also for kids, as stress in children is also on the rise. Ask any pediatrician and they will probably agree that they see more kids today with anxiety manifesting as headaches, sleep disturbances, stomach aches, and adolescents who complain of chronic fatigue. The best medicine for this is teaching relaxation and stress reduction as a routine part of family life. Less medication and more meditation may be the best prescription that a doctor can give you.

A new routine in the day may be family morning meditation or evening yoga and deep breathing exercises. Be creative and start the year with a plan. As we all begin 2009 let’s commit to time spent on family stress reduction.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again soon.

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