Stop Holiday Stress

by Beth Howard

Stop Holiday Stress

Keeping the jangled nerves to a minimum is easier than you think:

* Limit your appearances. Of course, everybody wants to see the baby, but save yourself the aggravation and go only to events you really want to attend.

* Eat to relax. Baby weight or not, this is not the time to start a diet. Instead, stock up on a few mood-boosting snacks such as string cheese, dry-roasted nuts, dried fruit, and whole grains like popcorn and whole-wheat pitas and wraps. All of these foods can give you long-lasting energy and increase your levels of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin.

* Stop and smell the tree. Practicing a little mindfulness can go a long way in keeping you calm. "It's being in the moment instead of in your head," says Patricia Martin Arcari, Ph.D., director of the Calm Mother, Happy Child Program at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Take a second to feel the sunlight on your face or to notice how your baby is mesmerized by the snow. "It's the little things that make this such a special time of year."