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How to Beat Seasonal Stress

By: Dr. Coral Arvon, PhD. LMFT, LCSW and Dr. Sam Sugar MD FACP

Before you fall victim to the dark and dreary chill of winter, plan ahead to prevent the countless seasonal stresses and maintain your cool all winter long.  Sam Sugar,  Director of Sleep Services and Coral Arvon, Director of Behavioral Health from the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, FL, have provided tips for managing the most common winter stresses – from sleep deprivation to money management.  According to a Columbia University study, a surprising 14.3% Americans suffer from Mild to Extreme Seasonal Affective Disorder, mainly affecting women (80%) so, before the holiday rush and end of the year craziness sets in, follow these tips so winter doesn’t become the season of your discontent.

 Step around Stress: Not all stresses are bad.  However, chronic and repetitive stress can have increasingly negative effects on your mental and physical health and lead to larger problems, such as Heart Disease.  Whenever possible, step around unnecessarily stressful circumstances.  If tardiness stresses you, leave plenty of time to get where you are going. If you know spending time with a certain person causes you stress or anxiety, try cutting back on the amount of time you spend with him or her.  When you cannot avoid stressful circumstances, the best way to step around stress is to learn how to respond and react without getting worked up.

Become Emotionally Nourishing: Your outlook on life is closely tied to your physical health.  Emotionally nourishing people inspire a feast of joy in those around them, so find the ingredients that make you emotionally enriched – love, humor, optimism, friendship, etc – and focus on that, especially when stress comes knocking on your door.  Just as stress, anger, and social isolation accelerate heart disease, affection, optimism, and enjoyment of life retard it. We can help avoid heart disease by surrounding ourselves with humorous, friendly, loving people, and by coloring our own emotions in the same way.

Start Small: Do something healthy for yourself.  It could be taking the stairs once a day instead of the elevator, or eating an apple for snack instead of a candy bar once a week.  Stretch periodically, roll you head, trade shoulder rubs with a coworker – these small treats will give you a much deserved break and an extra burst of energy.  It may not feel like a huge stress-buster, but small steps lead to bigger ones, and starting with small is the best way to achieve long-term Zen and happiness.

 Dr. Coral Arvon, PhD. LMFT, LCSW

Director of Behavioral Health & Wellness

Dr. Arvon has worked with thousands of guests at the Pritikin Center offering one on one sessions to find out the psychological aspects of their eating habits. Dr. Avon has earned a PhD in Psychology, a Masters degree in both Marriage and Family Therapy and clinical Social Work. She graduated from Boston University, Varry University and Columbia Pacific University. She is a sex therapist, Imago therapist, EMDR therapy, Cognitive Behavioral therapist and addictions specialist having advance training in all mentioned.

Dr. Sam J. Sugar

Director of Sleep Services

Dr. Sam Sugar MD FACP, began practicing medicine more than 30 years ago after being awarded his M.D. degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago. After a distinguished medical training career, including being Chief Resident at Northwestern University, he went on to become a long-standing member of the faculty of the Feinberg Medical School at Northwestern University as well as Rush University Medical Center, all in Chicago. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a Member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.  He also created Glenbrook Medical Associates, a multispecialty group practice, as well as PAGE, an independent practice association which ultimately grew to bring affordable healthcare tens of thousands of patients in the North Shore of Chicago.   He is currently the Director of the Sleep Disorders program, MedCheck Polypharmacy program and Executive Examinations at the Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa in Doral, Florida.

About the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa:

Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa is a brand new, 650-acre fully renovated private wellness spa and weight loss health program. Complete with exceptional fitness trainers, award winning chefs, nutritionists and renowned spa treatments. The center boosts tons of experts from health to nutrition and fitness to spa and wellness. People from all over the world travel to Pritikin to get their health back on track and get their bodies back in shape. For more information, please visit www.pritikin.com.



Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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