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Staying Stress-Free This Spring Long Weekend

Happy Easter! Happy Passover! Happy Spring! Here are a few Wellness Tips to keep you stress-free over the holidays.

For those of us diagnosed with a Myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) and dealing with symptoms of severe exhaustion and fatigue, family gatherings can be a source of great stress and anxiety. But it doesn't have to be; whether you are hosting or travelling to family and friends, here are a few simple things to keep your stress and energy levels in check.

  1. Plan ahead. Make your grocery lists beforehand, and don't fret about everything being perfect. Consider a potluck invite, and remember, if you are preparing meals, try incorporating a Mediterranean-style menu, fish, and have lots of veggies, fruit and healthy fats. Avoid foods that can trigger symptoms, such as spicy or acidic foods. If you are attending dinners, brunches, or services, it's ok to bail out early. Listen to your body.

  2. Speak your truth. Talk to your family members about your condition and how it affects you. Let them know what you can and cannot do. Remember to be honest with yourself; if you don't feel up to it, it's ok to say so. Speak up and ask for help when you need it.

  3. Take a pause. It's essential to take breaks when you need them. Find a quiet place to sit and rest, or get some fresh air with a short walk outside, which will get your blood flow going. Try and maintain your exercise routine.

  4. Practice soft belly breathing. Sit in a comfortable position on the floor or in a chair. Close your eyes, and take a few long deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Connect with your body.

  5. Keep hydrated. Dehydration can cause fatigue and make you feel worse. Though the onset of the holidays might make you want to reach for a glass of wine or two, or three, depending on who you are gathering with, wink - consider declining this temptation and not drinking alcohol and stick with your habit of ensuring you drink plenty of water throughout the day.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."– Buddha

Most important, be kind to yourself. Self-compassion is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. Remember, caring for yourself is not selfish; your family members or friends should understand and support your needs.

The return of spring, Easter and Passover is not only a time of awakenings, reflection and gathering together, but they remind us to find true gratitude, compassion, forgiveness and empathy for each other and ourselves!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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