December 2012

"How to De-Stress for the Holidays"

by Debi Quirk MSN, RN, Patient Advocate

The harried season! Expectations! Relatives! Clogged airports! Tempting foods! Overspending! Catalogue avalanches! How one responds to stress depends on supportive family and friends, stress management techniques, and your genetic makeup. Many people experience stress when they feel they have no control over a situation.

It is well known that one’s physical and mental well-being cannot stay in a state of stressed arousal without consequences. These include a compromised cardiovascular function, chronic emotional tension, accidents and errors, nutritional deficits, digestive disorders, sleep deprivation, and the inability to slow down. It is well documented that disease and illness are associated with stress.

There are many ways you can give yourself a short reprieve from stress during the holiday season.

  • Breathe. Breathe in and breathe out. The process of deep breathing can trigger the relaxation response.
  • Stretch. Movement helps free energy blockages in the body.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Avoid stimulating activities, caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Maintain healthy eating habits. Don’t skip meals or over-indulge.
  • Relax. Find something pleasurable and relaxing to do every day.
  • Exercise. This is one of the best stress relievers that you can do. The benefits of regular cardiovascular exercise are numerous.
  • Set realistic goals. Enjoy your home and guests; don’t feel you need to win the “Holiday Home Designer Award.”
  • Give yourself affirmations during the day. Find comfort in knowing that you are changing negative thought processes.
  • Pray or meditate. This provides help and guidance throughout the day.
  • Get Outdoors. Go out and enjoy what winter has to offer in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Take time for yourself. Entertaining and socializing are important during the holidays, but also be sure to take some time out for yourself.

If you have a few moments to help a neighbor, relative, or someone you know, giving of yourself is the greatest gift of all. In order to give of yourself this holiday season, you must first be able to love and give to yourself.

Happy Holidays!


"The Hidden Costs of Raising the Medicare Age" by Julie Rovner for NPR.

"U.S. Diabetes Prevalence Soars" by Kristina Flore, MedPage Today staff writer.


December 2012 Events:

Free helmet giveaway for young skiers and snow boarders is December 1.

Healing Arts Open House is December 1st.

World AIDS Day is December 1st.

Access to Healthcare - City Club Event is December 3rd.

World AIDS Day Documentary: "How to Survive a Plague" is showing December 3rd.

International Volunteer Day is December 5th.

Women in the World Event is December 7th.

Greenlake Pathway of Lights is December 8th.

Human Rights Day is December 10th.

Reducing Cancer Disparities & Promoting Health Equity Among Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Population workshop is December 18th.

Winter Solstice is December 21st.

Recipe of the Month

Turkey Mole Soup

Here's a heart healthy low-sodium, low-cholesterol, good fiber and anti-oxidant meal that gets a lot of attention in my home during the winter months.

Soy protein can replace the turkey for a vegetarian diet.

2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup onion finely chopped
1 small red or orange bell pepper thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 ½ pounds ground turkey meat (white meat)
1/3 cup bottled roasted mole
1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
1 (19 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can, no-salt added, diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chiles, mild or medium---to your liking
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 ½ tablespoons chili powder
*1 wedge of Mexican chocolate (Ibarra's) for richer flavor
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into narrow strips

Heat oil in a heavy stainless steel pan or Dutch oven. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Brown for about 5 minutes. Add the turkey and separate with a fork. Cook on low until pinkness is gone.

Warm broth in a separate bowl or pan and add to it the mole, blend with a whisk.

Add mole mixture, beans, tomatoes, chiles and spices to the turkey mixture. Turn up heat to a low boil, add chocolate, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tortilla strips on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown (just a few minutes).

Stir soup to blend. Place into large soup bowls. Top with tortilla strips, freshen with parsley or cilantro. Or add some low fat cheddar cheese or low fat sour cream. Serves 6.