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  December Health News
  December is Stress Awareness Month
  • Dealing with Holiday Stress
  • 5 Minute Stress Busters
  • Don’t Toy with Safety
  • Dr. Oz Videos: Don't Stress About Your Health!
  • Source4Women: Smart Strategies to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence
  • December Dare: Enter to win a $400 massage gift card or a $400 Amazon gift card!   
  • Monthly Health Tip
  • Monthly Recipe
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holiday stress

Dealing with Holiday Stress

Holidays may bring joy to some people, but for others they can mean a time of stress. We sometimes expect too much from the holiday season. It isn’t always full of warm relationships, exciting activity and an abundance of presents, good food and cheer. We can pay a high price trying to achieve holiday joy. Our energy and money may become exhausted. Then, stress levels begin to rise. Do your holidays turn out to be disappointing because stress gets the best of you? These tips may help you change some old holiday habits:


Spend sensibly

  • Don’t shop impulsively. Follow a budget.
  • Limit your gift giving to those closest to you.
  • Make homemade gifts, such as cookies or crafts.
  • Give coupons for your services, such as baby-sitting or yard work.


Eat, drink and be smart

  • When shopping, bring along fruit to snack on. Avoid high-calorie fast foods.
  • Prepare nutritious, low-fat meals. This can balance out the inevitable holiday goodies.
  • Keep meals simple so you don’t spend all your time and energy in the kitchen.
  • If you decide to drink alcohol, limit yourself to a moderate amount. Don’t drink and drive.


It’s a family affair

  • Don’t try to solve a year’s worth of family problems during one holiday get-together.
  • You can’t please everyone, so don’t try.
  • If visits are stressful, keep them short whenever possible.
  • If it’s too stressful to attend family holiday events, plan to visit another time.


Take care of yourself

  • Get enough sleep. The holidays can be exhausting.
  • Exercise for an energy boost — to burn extra calories and keep stress in check.
  • Don’t skip meals when you’re on the run.
  • Set realistic expectations for the holidays.
  • Leave the guilt behind.


Focus on meaning

  • Remind yourself of the cultural or spiritual meaning of the holidays.
  • Value the time you spend with friends and loved ones.
  • Decide what you enjoy doing most this time of year. Then do it!
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quit smoking

5 Minute Stress Busters

Feeling frazzled? Try these quick ways to tap some calming energy.

It's certainly a hectic and harried time of year. But if you're like many people, that describes your average day, as well. You've got places to be, people to see and a to-do list a mile long. Really, who has time to relax?

You're on the go, go, go. But while you're at it, stress can be zapping your energy. And over time that strain can take a greater toll. It can contribute to burnout and a host of health problems, including anxiety, depression and high blood pressure.

So when you feel the tension building, take a few minutes and slow it down. You'll feel better right away — and you'll be caring for your long-term peace of mind and health, too.

Five quick fixes
You can take yourself from keyed-up to calmer with any of these steps:

1. Take a deep breath — or 10. Sit quietly, breathe deeply and exhale slowly — and try to let go of your worries.

2. Step out. If you can get away, take a short, brisk walk to clear your head.

3. Go to your happy place. Close your eyes — and imagine a favorite serene setting.

4. Tune out the tension. Take a few minutes to listen to some calming music. Or maybe rocking out is more your style. An up-tempo song — and some air guitar or pencil drumming — may do the trick for you.

5. Focus on the upside. When you're feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to think about all the blessings in your life, including your own good qualities. Are you stressed over a particular difficult situation? Try to picture at least one positive solution — and what steps you would take to make that happen.

An investment in a happier you…
Remember, healthy habits also fight stress. When you regularly eat right, exercise and get enough sleep, it helps your body and spirit stay strong and resilient.


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safe toys

Don’t Toy with Safety

Shopping for kids? Be a savvy shopper for all the boys and girls on your list.


A model castle fit for a king and a doll buggy that's ready to roll — for kids, toys are all about the fun factor. But each year, toys injure thousands of children.  So, on your next trip to the land of toys, keep these safety essentials in mind.

Read all about it — and heed the label
Toys often come with warnings. For example, the label on an item with small parts might warn, "Not recommended for children younger than 3 years." Take these cautions to heart — especially those regarding age.

An at-home tip: Be sure older children keep their playthings out of reach of younger siblings.

Count on quality
Before you buy, consider a toy's construction and durability. For example, are there small pieces that might come loose? Will it break easily — and if so, will there be sharp edges?

An at-home tip: Regularly check for damage. Discard any broken items.

Be wary of common hazards
These items can be particularly dangerous — and should be kept away from children:

  • Deflated balloons and pieces of popped balloons — more children suffocate on these than on any other toy.
  • Small magnets and button batteries — these can be very harmful if swallowed.
  • Anything with long strings or cords — these can get caught around children's necks and strangle them.


An at-home tip: Never hang items with long strings or ribbons from cribs or playpens.

Inspire and delight!
Ready to shop for fun and safe playthings? Take a look at the “age-by-age guide to toys" for gift ideas.


A quick age-by-age guide to toys

So just what will tickle your child's fancy? Here are some ideas for age-appropriate selections.


Age 0-1 year 1-3 years 3-5 years 5-9 years 9-14 years
Toy Ideas Toys to touch and squeeze Push and pull toys Non-toxic art supplies Arts & crafts kits Board games
Squeaky toys Large and soft blocks, interlocking blocks Toys for imaginary play, such as play food, dress-up clothing and dolls Puppets, miniature dolls and action figures Sports equipment along with the appropriate safety gear
Soft dolls and stuffed animals Nesting cups and toys for sand and water play Outdoor toys, such as tricycles – with helmets Jump ropes Musical instruments
A love of reading: of course, storybooks always make great gifts. And fun and engaging reads are available for children of all ages.


Quick tip:  Check your list twice ... for recalls!

Find out if any of your child's toys have been recalled for safety issues — such as unsafe lead levels, choking risks or other hazards. Visit www.cpsc.gov , and click on "Recalls." Be especially cautious with items purchased secondhand, for instance, at a garage sale or thrift store.


Sources: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families; Safe Kids USA 


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Better Health with Dr. Oz: Don't Stress About Your Health!

Check out the video library on the Better Health with Dr. Oz section of the uhc.com website! In these short videos, best-selling author and host of The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Mehmet Oz, provides practical, easy-to-follow advice on a variety of health topics.


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Source4Women Online Seminar
Smart Strategies to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence

Arleen Fitzgerald, L.I.C.S.W., Behavioral Health Consultant
December 9, 2014
12:30 p.m. ET, 11:30 a.m. CT



Everyone admires a person with a high IQ. It opens doors to good schools, great scholarships and fun jobs. Many people believe emotional intelligence - having good people or life skills - is just as important as a high IQ when it comes to living a healthy and happy life. Join us for our seminar on emotional intelligence to learn how to recognize, manage and improve your emotions.

To register for an upcoming Source4Women seminar, visit www.source4women.com and click on "Online Seminars & Events." All seminars are recorded and archived for viewing after the live seminar date.

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December Dare: Take a Walk Outside!


Share a photo of your favorite place to relax, answer our healthy lifestyle questions or participate in our fitness challenge!  Prize: a $400 massage gift card or a $400 Amazon gift card!      

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cold weather health

Health Tip

Almost everyone experiences some sort of stress on a regular basis.  Whether it’s driving in traffic, arguing with a loved one, or having too much to do, life can be pretty stressful.  With all of the hustle and bustle of this time of year, the holidays can add even more stress to our lives.


  • Take a time-out and a few deep breaths anytime you begin to feel stressed 
  • Plan ahead and delegate some of your responsibilities to others
  • Practice saying “no” to things that are not as important to you 
  • Reach out to people for help or just to talk
  • Keep an upbeat attitude and focus on the good things in your life
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December Healthy Recipe:
Roasted Butternut Squash
with Toasted Walnuts

Makes 6 servings



  • 2 large butternut squash (about 3-4 pounds total)
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste



  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Skin, seed and cube squash, place in large mixing bowl.
  • Toss squash with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and onions.
  • Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet or sheet pan.
  • Roast vegetables until tender and golden brown, about 25-30 minutes, stirring to promote even cooking.
  • Remove from oven, toss with walnuts, sage, salt and pepper.


Nutritional information per serving
Calories: 175;

Calories from fat: 95;

Fat: 11g;

Saturated Fat: 1g;
Cholesterol: 0mg;

Sodium: 104mg;

Carbohydrate: 19g;
Fiber: 3g;

Sugars: 9g;

Protein: 3g


Source: Source4Women.com

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