UNI offers tips for Happy Holidays

In addition to getting ready for finals week and fall commencement, University of Northern Iowa students, faculty and staff will also have the stress of holiday shopping and trying to stay fit with the myriad of holiday goodies.

UNI offers a few services and tips to help make this time of year stress-free and healthy!

Holiday tips
UNI's Reclaim Your Holidays has creative gift ideas and alternatives to holiday shopping.

Dealing with Holiday Stress
"With the constant holiday advertising, the stress around shopping and gift giving can be overwhelming," says David Towle, director of UNI's Counseling Center. "The good news is that a happy holiday is about spending time in a way that is meaningful to you, and not about extravagant gifts and celebrations. Stress around money and spending can be managed in a healthy way by refocusing on what's important during the holiday season."

The American Psychological Association and the Iowa Psychological Association suggest some strategies to help manage holiday stress:

Reframe – Refocus the holiday season on spending time with loved ones by creating a realistic budget for gifts and reminding others that the holidays aren't about expensive gifts.
Volunteer – Make the primary focal point of the holiday about helping others in need.
Be active – No matter where you live or the weather, looking for opportunities to be active will help manage your stress.
Take time for yourself – Taking care of yourself helps you to take better care of others in your life.
Seek support – Talk about stress related to money and the holidays with your friends and family whom you trust.

UNI's Counseling Center is also a resource that can be used during the times school is in session.

Alternatives to Holiday Shopping
UNI's Reclaim Your Holidays program has tips on fun gifts for the holidays without having to break the bank. For creative gift ideas, visit www.uni.edu/ceee/hometown/reclaim-your-holidays/creativegiftideas.

Tips for a Healthy Holiday
UNI's Lisa Krausman, Department of Residence administrative dietitian, and Joan Thompson, health educator, share nutrition tips to keep the weight off this holiday season.

• Take your time eating. Make sure you savor the flavors and taste the items you decide to eat.
• Don't skip meals. If you know you'll be eating more at a holiday gathering, eat some small, lower-calorie meals or snacks for your other meals.
• Use smaller plates and utensils, that way you can't fill them as full!
• Make a plan for eating, just as you do for holiday shopping.
• Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
• Start some new holiday traditions that don't involve food.