Five Ways to Reduce Stress Before the Holiday

Posted Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Enjoy some heavenly peace this holiday season.

Poor, maligned Ebenezer Scrooge voiced what most of us feel on occasion – that the holidays are a lot of humbug. Underneath the joyful trappings, many of us dread the responsibilities and family pressures associated with pivotal holidays, when we seem to be expected to manufacture family feeling and seasonal magic like we’re the ones flying around the world on a big red sleigh. If the pressures of the season are getting you down, reduce stress by following these five simple wellness techniques.

1. Focus on being present in the moment.

When we are looking forward to the holiday, the combination of stress and anticipation quickly cause us to lose sight of the present. Take time each day to center yourself. Some people find meditation helpful, but if that doesn’t appeal to you try sitting quietly with a book or a cup of coffee instead. As you prepare for the holiday, focus on what you are experiencing now, like the simple act of wrapping presents. When you fully experience the moment you are in, you can also momentarily forget your to-do list.

2. Don’t try to do everything perfectly.

Holidays are a bad time for perfectionists. They may set their normally high standards even higher, in part because of idealized memories of past holidays, but also because they try to meet the expectations of children and other loved ones. It’s hard to think about disappointing ourselves or the people with whom we’re close. Still, you will do better if you repeat this mantra: there is no such thing as the perfect Christmas. As nearly every Christmas movie will tell you, Christmas is perfect because of its imperfections. Enjoy what happens and let go of the ideal. It’s better for everyone.

3. Spend time taking care of your body.

Santa by night, employee by day, and hostess every weekend, we are all getting a little less sleep. On top of that, sugary sweets and alcoholic drinks surround us at every turn. Make a few healthy choices, like having more crudités than cookies and increasing your water intake to compensate for the extra cocktails. If you can, go for a run or book a massage, and reconnect with your healthy body. It’s tempting to put off good choices for the New Year. Don’t. A few changes now will make a big difference in your stress levels.

4. Avoid holiday arguments with family.

Emotions run high around the holidays. You may not be able to avoid every tense conversation, but it’s possible to handle difficult people with courtesy. When Aunt Jean asks when you’re planning to start a family, smile and tell her you are more comfortable keeping such personal information private. Don’t fume silently over unfairly-distributed responsibilities. Kindly but clearly tell your brother that it would be a big help if he took over washing the dishes so you can finish mashing the potatoes. And when crazy Uncle Ed starts talking politics, leave the room as fast as you can.

5. Don’t try to do everything yourself.

Some things you need to do, some things you want to do, and some things you just end up doing because nobody else offered. Be an advocate for yourself this year. Take a look at everything that you’ve committed to do over the holidays, and think about whether you could ask somebody else to help with one of the tasks on your list. Oftentimes people are glad to help, particularly if you are hosting or organizing the family holiday this year. And if you aren’t able to take on that task and no one else is willing to help out, it’s probably not all that important.

Remember there are often professionals who are available to help too. Modernistic’s team of highly rated carpet, hardwood, and tile cleaners can make your house sparkle while you spend a few moments sitting by the Christmas tree. You deserve to enjoy the season while someone else works for a while. Use our easy online scheduling tool to book your appointment today.

Serving Grand Ledge, Michigan for 40 years.

How to Host Guests With Allergies This Holiday

Posted Monday, November 28th, 2016

Six ways to be considerate of guests with allergies

We all want to be good hosts to our guests. While it might be impressive to fold everyone an origami reindeer, what’s really going to make you a star this season is accommodating your guests’ allergies. It only takes a bit of knowledge and preparation to make this holiday merry and safe for everyone.

1. We’re going to get a Christmas tree (and then wash it).

Pine needles can trigger many different kinds of allergic reactions. The most obvious allergen they carry is pine pollen, as well as various molds, which grow as the trees sit outside. Also, a few people are allergic to the chemical sprays used in farming, or the terpene oils produced by coniferous trees. Trimming the tree isn’t much fun if it leaves people congested with red eyes and a rash.

If you prefer natural greenery, gently spray and wipe the branches with a diluted bleach and water solution before you bring the greenery inside. This should remove any molds, pollen, or pesticides. Since bleach will dull the bright colors of ribbon and artificial flowers, only use water on decorated wreaths and garlands. Christmas trees are often too large to wash entirely by hand. Instead wipe the trunk, the likeliest place for mold, with a bleach and water solution. Then spray it down with a garden hose.

2. Be alert to possible centerpiece catastrophes.

Floral centerpieces can be a real problem for guest with allergies and can also bring on an asthma attack. However, it’s the fragrance, not the pollen, that starts your guests wheezing and sniffing. This kind of reaction is not always a true allergy – just an uncomfortable response to a scent that can irritate the lining of your nose and throat. For an easy fix, you can substitute less strongly scented flowers. Ask your florist to make an arrangement with seasonal but unscented blooms, like holly, or amaryllis.

3. Avoid room fresheners, candles, and potpourri.

Like flowers, the strong scents in candles, room fresheners, and potpourri can inflame the sensitive airways of people with asthma. Some paraffin wax candles may even release carcinogenic chemicals when they burn, according to research done at South Carolina State University. Stick to soybean and beeswax candles, and if the scent it particularly strong, blow them out before guests arrive. Avoid room fresheners and potpourri altogether. And, if you want something for ambiance, burn unscented candles at the table.

4. You may bring more than the ornaments up from the basement.

The places we tend to store our holiday decorations, like attics, garages, and basements, all are prime breeding grounds for mold. When possible, unpack the boxes in a well-ventilated space. Wipe ornaments and artificial plants and greenery with a damp rag sprayed with a color-safe cleaning solution. A small amount of white vinegar mixed with distilled water, or a store-bought green cleaner, should kill any mold spores clinging to last year’s poinsettias.

5. Keep your figgy-pudding free of possible allergens.

It can be difficult to accommodate guests with food allergies, but these can be very serious, even life-threatening. A considerate host will communicate clearly with people ahead of time. Ask your friends to tell you about any allergies, and check whether your planned menu will accommodate their dietary restrictions. If you absolutely can’t avoid serving something that contains an ingredient one of your guests can’t have, set up separate serving areas to avoid cross-contamination, and clearly label the different dishes.

6. Have your air-ducts cleaned before turning on your furnace for the first time.

The weather is turning colder in Michigan, and we may be cranking up the heat to keep our guests warm. However, several months of dander, dust, and mold may have accumulated in our air-ducts since we last turned on the furnace. If your guests are allergic to pets, dustmites, or mildew, they may soon be sneezing and coughing their way through not-so-silent nights. Think about having your air-ducts cleaned before your holiday guests arrive.

Modernistic will have your indoor air clean and allergen-free in no time at all, so that you and your family can have a happy and healthy holiday. Contact us today!

Serving Wyoming, Michigan for 40 years.