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Healthy You Challenge #36

Welcome to the official start to the Christmas season and our last month of Healthy You Challenges! Here is your challenge for this week:

Look at your holiday ‘to do’ list. Choose one thing that causes you tremendous stress. Either: a) cross it off your list, or b) find a way to limit the level and expectation at which you engage in that activity.


We call it “The most wonderful time of the year.” And it is! At least it can be. But let’s face it. Oftentimes, the joy of the Christmas season gets squashed by its demands–or at least, the demands our American culture has placed upon it: shopping, decorating, baking, cards, parties, multiple family events…ugh! Add into that mess a chronic pain condition, and you could be mixing yourself a toxic cocktail of holiday blues.

If you are looking at this holiday season with anxiety rather than hopeful anticipation, then this challenge is for you. Here are some practical ways to lessen your stress–as well as the chances of a chronic pain catastrophe–and rediscover that childhood joy of the season:

  • Buy your baked goods rather than bake them
  • Do a bulk of your shopping online…in your pj’s and fuzzy socks.
  • Forget decorating your entire house, or stringing mounds of lights. Choose a few well-placed decorations to display and call it good. Remember: what goes up, must come down!
  • Choose to only do the bare-minimum when it comes to house cleaning this month.
  • Give up another regular chore for the month.
  • Don’t send Christmas cards this year. It’s okay. Really.
  • If multiple family events wear you down and cause your pain to flair, then limit the number you attend. If this is not possible, then limit the amount of time you spend at each event. Take what you need to be comfortable while you are there (eg: a back pillow, foot rest, neck support pillow).

Many years ago, a pastor offered his congregation a similar challenge at the beginning of the Advent season. He told his congregants that just as they give up something for Lent, he wanted them to give up something for Advent. Only this “giving up” was to be something that was stealing the joy and true meaning of Christmas from them.

This is wise advice. We challenge you to do the same.

Make it a great week…and a great beginning to a blessed holiday season!

  • Team BRPM