Take care of your basic needs for a better holiday

Whether you’re in treatment, recovery, or feeling good, shaking up your routine in December makes it hard to take care of your basic needs. Even the cheeriest of us all can turn into Grinches when those fundamentals are ignored.

MD Anderson wants us to monitor H.A.L.T, or hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness; four areas that determine whether we have a happy and healthy holiday season.

Make sure you schedule three meals a day featuring whole foods. This will keep you full longer and help curb some cravings when you’re examining the buffet table. If you’re going to be out running errands, pack a snack to avoid picking up nutritionally void foods at check out counters.

Be realistic about the season and you’ll be a lot happier. Everyone has a busy social schedule and a to do list as long as their arm. See who you can, take some time to smell the cookies baking in the oven, and worry less about making Christmas and spend more time enjoying it. Consider making new traditions if yours are becoming a burden.

If you’re feeling left out of seasonal socializing or not getting the face time you need, consider helping someone else out. There will be dinners looking for servers, toy drives looking for volunteers, and your neighbour might need some help wrapping their gifts. Make a long distance call to a friend or relative you haven’t spoken with in a while. You’ll get to hear some new stories and you’ll contribute to the festive cheer by spreading a little love around.

Finally, if you’re tired, sleep. If someone offers to make dinner so you don’t have to, let them. Don’t try to be a hero right now and only push as far as you can go. Everyone who loves you will understand and you can always help them out next time. And if you find yourself at a really great party when it’s time to go to bed, go home anyway. That night can be recreated at a later date.

We hope you all have a joyous holiday season and a happy new year. We look forward to seeing you in 2011!