Catching up with Karyn

Six Days Until Christmas: Holidays Parties Got Your Pooped?

I'll be the first to admit it: while I have many great skills, present wrapping really isn't one of them. There's the paper, there's the present, there's the bow, there's the tape, there's the tag, there's me: that's at least one too many moving parts for this to end well.

The situation gets even worse when I rush. And it seems like at this time of year, I'm always rushing. One of the reasons I'm rushing is it seems like every night, there's a holiday party.

(I know: first world problems!)

I love parties, and I love my friends, and so when my friends have a party, I want to go. However, if I'm trying to keep stress levels manageable, sometimes I have to be realistic and say "As much as I'd love to, I just can't tonight."

Holiday parties tend to descend all at once. Don’t feel obligated. Go to those you really want to attend and regret the rest.Can’t think of a good excuse? Don’t give one.If it’s a true friend, she won’t need one and if it’s not a...

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7 Days Till Christmas! What Are We Going To Do?

At this point in the Christmas Countdown, I'd like to stop and say "AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH! One week until Christmas! What are we going to do?"

There's a reason for that. And the reason is that no matter how good your stress management skills may be, there is going to be a time where they just going to work. We fight stress, and frankly, sometimes stress wins.

Have you ever had the experience of knowing you were just stressed out to the max? That you knew, with absolute certainty, that while you could easily handle everything that was going on in life right that minute, the addition of any additional bit of pressure to your life would push you right over the edge?

That is the moment your child will discover he is virulently allergic to fruitcake - having 'sampled' some he found in the box of last year's holiday decorations. You can imagine the mess. We're talking ho-ho-oh no vomit here - a sight which sends your Very Helpful Mother-in-Law into overdrive, with...

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8 Days Until Christmas: What Happens When You're Out of Money?

Spending money can be exhilarating. Paying the credit cards can be devastating. Think through what you're spending on holiday gifts before you spend it. What feels great in December can feel really not so great in January...and February...and March.

The fact is that sometimes we just can't afford to buy everything we want to buy. Accepting that is actually much less stress inducing than spending ourselves into incredible debt. Spending big is not your only holiday option.

Try providing gifts of service instead the traditional wrapped present. The price is right, you won’t have to wait in line, and the giver and receiver will both enjoy it more. Examples of service gifts: an evening of babysitting - the parents you know will love a night out (or a chance for some serious napping!) Shovel somebody's snow, or play chauffeur for a day for someone who doesn't drive.

Try providing gifts of sentiment. A heart-felt note telling someone how much you appreciate them will be more...

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9 Days Until Christmas: Do You Really Have To Decorate the Doghouse?

The holiday police will not arrest you for not having all your decorations up. Remember less can be more. If you spend less time putting decorations up you’ll have more time to sit back and enjoy.

I know, I know. This goes counter to all of the conventional wisdom you've heard. We're supposed to Decorate All The Things. There are even TV shows now like The Great Christmas Light Fight, where families compete to see who can create the brightest decorations - and the biggest light bill!

But I'm here to suggest to you that maybe what we need this holiday season is not more fighting - even good natured fights! - but less. Let someone else have the victory. You can opt out, conserving your energy and focusing on those things that you find more meaningful.

Besides, think about it this way: the fewer decorations you put up, the fewer you have to take down after the holidays. Pick your very, very favorites and display them. You'll find you get all of the joy -and a lot less holiday...

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10 Days Until Christmas: Beat the Holiday Card Stress Tip

Do you really need to send all those holiday cards? Be honest. Many folks on your list are too busy to read your card and won’t remember a week later if you sent one or not. Clean out your holiday database by at least 25%. Here's a tip to make it simple: if when looking at your list of names, you have no idea who the person actually is, chances are you don't need to send them a card.

Struggling with the fact you haven't sent a card to Aunt Rhoda? Here's a nifty fact: Aunt Rhoda will (we all hope!) still be here after the holidays. A card from you - with or without Santa but definitely featuring a hand-written note about how you're thinking of her! - will still be welcome in January, February, or at any time of year. There's no time that people *dislike* being cherished and thought about!

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Our Amazing Brains: Packed with the Power to Transform Our Lives

One of the greatest gifts any of us has ever been given resides within our skulls. Throughout history, the brain has been very mysterious and poorly understood. We've known that the brain is very important, but the direct connection brain health has on our everyday happiness hasn't been very clear.

Dr. Daniel Amen has been doing ground breaking work, tying together the latest neurological research with the challenges we all face in living our best possible lives. His work is a game changer. From him, we can learn that when we say we have problems with ADD, addiction, depression, our marriage, or even our weight, there's really something going on inside our brains.

Vibrantly You: Improving Your Brain Health Improves Your Life

As a nurse, I know how critical diagnosing the true cause of any health concern is. What's even more exciting is using that knowledge to create healing and better health. That's why I'm very excited about Dr. Amen's Brain Fit Life program.

We have the power to...

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One Size Does NOT Fit All: 6 Low Tech Tips to Express Your Appreciation

After my piece on Grati-tweets and Grati-texts, I received an outpouring of emails, texts, and tweets from folks expressing their appreciation of me—wow! It felt great! One loyal reader, Deborah, told me how she’d sent a grati-text to a mentor who lived in another state. The mentor texted back how timely her message was. She’d had a difficult and emotional day and thanked her profusely for her thoughtfulness.

On the flip side, I received this response from a dear friend: “Dearest Karyn, I just wanted to let you know that I believe in the power of gratitude, certainly in the power of laughter and optimism, and HATED your suggestions!”

She went on to explain that she was not just low-tech, but NO-tech. She didn’t open e-cards, refused to text and had no social media accounts—not one!

I LOVED her note! (It’s so awesome when your audience makes your segue for you!) And because one size does NOT fit all, here are 6 tips for showing your...

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Laughter is Better than Trans-Fats!

Well, this morning, the FDA has come out and announced that - even though it seems inconceivable that such a thing could be true! - foods rich in trans-fats, which constitute a good portion of the most awesome food groups - fast and fried - might not, in fact, be good for you. Eliminating these foods from our collective food supply is said to be a lifesaving move, one that will have a positive impact on the rates of heart disease and hypertension we're seeing across the nation.

But I have to say, there may be a problem with this plan. Those trans-fat loaded foods are many people's favorite comfort foods. When we're down, when we're having a rough day, it's not inconceivable that there's comfort to be found in the familiar flavors of a cheeseburger and fries. If that's no longer an option, what can you do to lift your spirits instead?

Laughter is an ideal alternative: it's completely calorie (and trans-fat!) free. Sure, it won't help to laugh when you're hungry. You'll still want to...

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Using Humor to Manage Your Diabetes: Building Laughter into Your Routine

Every day, Amanda goes for a walk near her San Diego home. The thirty-two year old has Type 2 diabetes, and regular exercise helps her keep healthy. "I can't say I go anywhere in particular," she said. "I just head for the beach and start walking." Along the way, she listens to audiobooks. "Only funny stuff," Amanda's quick to point out. "Right now, I'm listening to David Sedaris' latest book. Walking makes me feel good, laughing makes me feel good, so I figured why not combine the two?"

Amanda may be on to something. Humor has a vital role to play in helping people with diabetes live happier, healthier lives. Laughing regularly improves the mood and has been found to contribute toward a more positive mindset. There are also very real, very physical benefits to laughter. Enjoying humor lowers the blood pressure, improves circulation, and can even help minimizing post-meal blood sugar spikes.

Laughing regularly is an easy, fun, free way to improve your health. But sometimes those...

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Why The World Needs Nurses

Thanks to Molly Miller for this terrific contribution. Please share!

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