Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How to Cope with Loneliness During the Holiday Season

Health and Wellness Associates

How to Cope with Loneliness During the Holiday Season


Tips to make your holidays brighter when you feel alone

Christmas evokes images of green and red for many. But for those suffering from loneliness, the holiday blues are also a very real thing.

Loneliness is common during the holidays. When we feel there is an expectation is to experience extreme joy or happiness, feelings of sadness and loneliness can strike even harder.

Whether you’re feeling alone or you want to be there for those around you, understanding what causes loneliness, as well as how to minimize it, can make your holidays much more joyful.

Understanding loneliness

Feeling lonely doesn’t mean you don’t have friends, family or loved ones who care. In fact, it’s very possible to feel lonely while having a loving support system in tow.

Some studies have called loneliness a disease, and others have called it a “hidden killer” of the elderly. While there are many studies on loneliness, there is no exact definition.

Loneliness is a subjective feeling. It can refer to a state of solitude, as well as the perception of feeling alone. While loneliness is a universal human emotion, it amplifies is different ways. Lonely people often dread the holidays, because of the perception that everyone around them is experiencing human connection in a way that they are not.

Examples of groups that tend to experience this more than others include those who are recently single, divorced or widowed, those who live far from family, and those who stay emotionally distant from others. Studies have shown that adults under age 30 tend to experience significantly higher levels of loneliness than other age groups, though those ages 80 and older can experience high levels as well.

How to beat loneliness during the holidays

One thing that is agreed upon is that there are ways to overcome loneliness. However, because these ways tend to involve emotional risk, many are slow to adopt them. Whether you’re feeling alone or you are in solitude, here are some tips to use this holiday season:

Tips to overcome loneliness when you feel alone

  • Practice self-care. While you may be thinking about giving gifts to others this season, don’t hesitate to give yourself the gift of a spa treatment, invest in a hobby, or other activities that will get you to socialize and enjoy the season. Taking your focus off feeling alone can help curb the feeling.
  • Choose the right people to surround yourself with. When you’re lonely, it may be tempting to call up your friend who loves to co-commiserate. But because loneliness is contagious, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. Choose to surround yourself with positive people.
  • Pursue gratitude. Whether you prefer journaling, meditation or prayer, taking the time to write or say what you’re thankful for can shift your attention away from what you don’t have, and spotlight what you do have. Always remember that thankfulness is a choice.

Tips to overcome loneliness when you are alone

  • Be vulnerable. If you’re waiting for your neighbor to be the first to say hello, take the risk and say hi first. Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while, or learn more about that person you always take a fitness class next to. Remembering that we’re all seeking human connection can take the pressure off the situation.
  • Give back. Helping others who have less than we do often reminds us of all we have to be thankful for. Bonus: you may meet some volunteers who have similar interests to you, and are open to helping others.
  • Release your expectations. In the age of social media, it’s easy to think the holidays are supposed to look as perfect as a Christmas card. Rethinking your expectations can stop you from playing the comparison game, at which point you may realize you have plenty to be thankful for.


Stepping out of your comfort zone is never convenient or easy, but it may be just the thing you need this holiday season.

Health and Wellness Associates

Dr Mark Williams



Foods, Uncategorized

Holiday Green Bean Casserole





1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained

1 small onion, chopped

1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained

6 tablespoons butter, divided

1/4 cup all-purpose flour ( I use coconut flour)

1 cup 2% milk ( I use less than ½ c)

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Dash salt

1 package (16 ounces) frozen French-style green beans, thawed

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese ( Philadelphia cream cheese is good)

1 cup crushed French-fried onions



Preheat oven to 350°. In a small skillet, saute water chestnuts, onion and mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender; set aside.

In large skillet, melt remaining butter; stir in flour until smooth. Stir in milk, broth, soy sauce, pepper sauce and salt. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in green beans and cheese.

Spoon half of the bean mixture into a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Layer with water chestnut mixture and remaining bean mixture.

Bake, uncovered, 45 minutes. Top with French-fried onions. Bake 5 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 8 servings.



3/4 cup: 218 calories, 15g fat (8g saturated fat), 35mg cholesterol, 392mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 3g fiber), 5g protein.


Health and Wellness Associates





Lifestyle, Uncategorized

The Holidays: When You Loose A Loved One


When most people hear the word loss, they think of death, but it can also mean that your heart has been broken because someone or something you deeply cherish in your life has been lost. It is inevitable that at one point during your life you will experience a loss, but with some planning, you can get through the difficult time with grace and balance. There is no loss that you can’t recover from. “You can love, lose and survive. You can fall to your knees and cry in pain. You can feel a horrible, crippling emptiness, yet recover and fill yourself up again. We all seem to survive it,”

Be Patient with Yourself

Give yourself time to accept what has happened. There is no schedule for when you should feel certain emotions, or be over others. “Choose to stand up for you and the rest of your life, and choose to move on,” says . You don’t have to figure out how you’re going to get through the rest of your life. Just focus on staying in the game and moving forward now. It is normal to cry and be depressed, but you need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. “You have to continue carrying on with your life, because going MIA from your routine and support from friends and family will only magnify the grief you feel,” . “Regardless of the specific loss you are going through, expect that the day will come that you will begin to see hope again. You can survive. You do have the strength to get through this.”

Adjust Your Expectations

Accept that your emotions are a natural part of the grieving process. “Experiencing death, divorce or other loss that makes you feel rejected and alone isn’t a life sentence of grief,” . “You will emerge. But don’t put generic expectations on yourself and don’t let others do so either.” You will feel an array of emotions. Remember that grief from any loss is not a linear process. You will begin to move on in your own time; just be sure to move forward before you totally lose your way.

Accept What You Cannot Change

One of the most frequent struggles you may face when you lose someone is a sense of being out of control ” not being able to control when someone leaves you. “Even though we can’t even almost have that control, we are not victims ” or at least we don’t have to be,” . “There is a point in this process where you can and must choose to take a stand for how you are going to react to this hard hit.” You must actively, consciously choose to focus on what you can change, and accept what you can’t change. “This means mentally, emotionally and spiritually accepting the reality of your loss and letting go of a past that you cannot bring back.”


Find Strength in Others

Although it may feel like you’re all alone in your experience, try talking to someone who has experienced a similar loss or someone whose presence is a source of comfort. “Sometimes a compassionate person may be a great help, even though they have not been through a similar loss,” . “The very fact that they haven’t been down that road may bring some much-needed objectivity to your dark hour.”

Don’t Get Stuck

“It’s easy to get stuck in this negative experience and all the emotions of it,” . Don’t get stuck in anger or bitterness. “Do what you need to do to help you get unstuck.” This can be different for everyone. You may find help in taking up a new hobby, getting counseling or talking to your doctor about treatment options like antidepressants. “Grief may cause you to be biochemically unbalanced, and medication may be the short-term jump-start that you need to move forward.” Another way to move forward is to focus on all the reasons you need to return to being the person you were before the loss. Beware: if you’ve had an addiction in the past, make sure you don’t turn to that narcotic as a source of soothing.

Recognize that Time is Infinite

“There’s wisdom in that old saying about living every day as though it were your last,” . That doesn’t mean you should go out and be reckless, but rather recognize that the unexpected can happen to you. Nurture the relationships with the ones you love. “You have to see time as a currency that you need to spend now, not wait for a day that may never come.” You are not here forever, and neither is anybody you love.

Create Value from This Experience

Take the time to ask yourself what you’ve learned from going through this experience. “There is value in all experiences; it just may take a closer look or a little time to see what it is,” .

Think about How You Will Prepare for Your Own Death

It is hard to have a family discussion about death, but it is a necessity. Be sure to have the talk with other family members when it is a calm time. Prepare financially for your exit from this world, and prepare your children for life when you’re gone. For example, you can make videos for your kids, sharing your advice about life, and what your hopes and dreams are for them.

Celebrate Life

“It’s a tragic injustice if all you do is focus on the day you lost your loved one, or their illness, accident or death,” . Not only is it painful, it doesn’t help you heal or move on. “You can and need to mourn their passing, but don’t do that to the exclusion of celebrating their life.” Remember, life doesn’t stop just because that person is not alive. Ask yourself if your loved one would really want you to stop your life because they’re no longer alive.

“The past is over, and the future hasn’t happened yet. Adopt an attitude that says, ‘The only time is now: I need to live in the moment,’

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Articles : Dr. McGraw

312-972-WELL ( 9355)

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Keeping Healthy Through the Holidays

christmas bufferr

The Christmas holidays commonly cause a flare of allergies for the following reasons:
1. Food is abundant. There is a tendency to drink more milk and eat more chocolate, sugar, corn (in the form of corn syrup or dextrose), and wheat products. If you have no symptoms, or if your symptoms are relieved with your present allergy extract, you need not be concerned. If you have an allergy extract to treat these foods, check to be sure that the extract doses are correct. After avoiding these in all forms for 4 days, add these specific foods back into your diet, one at a time, at a four day interval. You can do one food in the morning and one in the afternoon. Does your extract prevent the symptoms?
Remember, asthma, hives or colitis, in particular, can suddenly appear – or reappear if certain foods are a problem. Colitis may not appear for 8 – 48 hours after eating a problem food, but hives are usually evident 15 minutes to one hour after ingesting something that is allergenic.
2. Eggnog can be a major problem. No form of egg has more potential for causing trouble than raw egg white, so eggnog can cause many symptoms, particularly in children who have asthma or eczema. Store-prepared eggnog can contain additives. Read labels carefully. If you are unsure if egg causes a reaction, put drop on skin and see if that spot becomes red in 15 minutes. If it does not you can put a drop on tongue. Check pulse, check breathing and check muscle strength if you know how to do this. Do not do any egg exposure if you already know egg causes a visit to the emergency room.
3. Be extremely cautious about nuts. Remember that if your child is allergic to peanuts and takes a walnut from a dish of mixed nuts that contains peanuts, there could be enough peanut on the walnut it touched to cause someone to have a violent reaction. Keep your allergy meds handy over the holidays. Have both antihistamines and asthma meds on hand.
4. Churches can cause allergies due to incense, candles, decorations, and the odors of mothballs and perfume, as well as from possible years of molds and dust in the air. Malls, restaurants and lavatories also cause many problems due to Christmas trees, fragrances and other chemical odors.
5. Generally, Christmas presents do not cause much difficulty, except for scented personal items, toys made of soft, smelly plastic which exudes chemical odors, or polyester clothing, which contains the chemical formaldehyde.
6. Natural Christmas trees can cause major problems. Some children become ill just walking into a field where they grow because of the pine odor, or from molds growing on the trees and vegetation. There is no pollen at this time of year. If Christmas trees are a problem, call your allergy doctor. You might need to be checked for pine terpines and molds. Even if you avoid real pine trees at home, your child can be exposed to trees and real Christmas greenery at school, church, malls, etc. So – caution. You can’t totally avoid pine at this time of the year.
7. In addition, some Christmas trees are sprayed with toxic chemicals, herbicides and pesticides. Leukemia has been found in excess in some communities where Christmas trees are grown for a cash crop. In the Appalachian Mountains, the incidence of cancer is nine times the number expected in a population of 36,000. They are trying to decrease the amount of chemicals used on trees in that area to see if there is less cancer.
If chemically treated trees are brought into your home, your house will be contaminated with these same chemicals. An Austin air purifier (480-905-9195) might help a lot because this one can eliminate some 3000 chemical odors..
8. Artificial trees sometimes have an odor because they are synthetic and made from chemicals. They also can be dusty and moldy from storage and these can cause symptoms. If you use any color or odor sprays on a natural or artificial tree, the chemical odors can definitely cause symptoms. Check the chemical to be used in the typical manner.
9. Christmas tree ornaments are often dusty, old and moldy. Simply going into the attic or basement to obtain them certainly can cause allergies.
10. Traveling and visiting can cause a recurrence of allergies. If you visit a relative’s home, and your child immediately becomes sick because of perfume, tobacco, dust, pets, molds, etc., it would be very wise to leave immediately and go to a hotel providing it causes less difficulty . Take your air purifier with you if you are spending the night at someone’s home.
The stress and strain of Christmas, along with lack of sleep and excitement related to the holidays, can certainly make all of us more prone to infections and allergies. Some extra D3 and magnesium (500 mg) might also help. Try ACS ( An improved form of colloidal silver) for all sorts of infection. Buy Oscillococcinum at the drug store – it’s very effective and inexpensive. For food or chemical reactions, 1-2 tsp of baking soda in a half glass of water can often help in 15 minutes.
Hope the above will help you have a have a most delightful, healthy and heart -warming holiday. It is a great time of the year for sharing , showing you truly care and being with those you love the most.
Health and Wellness Associates
Doris Rapp , M.D.


Pumpkin Pie Dessert Nachos


  • Cinnamon Pie Crust Chips Ingredients:
  • 1 cup and 2 tbsp almond flour, where to buy this
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup butter, melted or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 ½ tbsp sweetener of choice: coconut sugar (paleo,) or for low carb use 1 ¼ tbsp erythritol, I used this one.
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, for sprinkling on the top of chips
  • 1 ½ tbsp sweetener of choice for sprinkling on the top of chips: coconut sugar, or erythritol for low carb
  • Pumpkin Pie Dip Ingredients:
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened, pumpkin should be the only ingredient)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened full fat canned coconut milk, or heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp sweetener of choice: coconut sugar (paleo) or for low carb use erythritol, like this one
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp sweetener of choice: coconut sugar (paleo), or for low carb use erythritol
  • 2 tbsp butter, or coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream or coconut milk
  • ⅛ tsp molasses
  • ⅛ tsp vanilla extract
  • Garnish:
  • 2 tbsp whipped cream or coconut cream, optionally sweetened with a couple drops honey or liquid stevia to taste.
  • ½ tbsp. chopped nuts * optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl combine: 1 cup and two tbsp. almond flour, 1 egg, ¼ cup melted butter or coconut oil, 1 ½ tbsp. granular sweetener of choice. Mix thoroughly together to form dough.
  2. Spoon dough onto a large piece of parchment paper and put 2nd piece of parchment on top of dough, *see photo above. Press dough flat between the papers and roll with rolling pin or use hands to press and spread out dough. Making sure not to roll out dough too thin.
  3. Once dough is spread out, pull top parchment paper off, and place bottom paper with dough onto baking sheet. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut pie crust into shapes (square, or triangle shapes work well), see photo*.
  4. In a small bowl combine: 1 ½ tbsp granular sweetener of choice, and ½ tsp cinnamon. Mix together thoroughly. Sprinkle cinnamon and sweetener mixture over the top of the pie crust chips. Bake for 12 minutes or until chips start browning at edges. Remove from oven and cool.
  5. In a medium bowl combine all the pumpkin pie dip ingredients. Mix together or whisk together thoroughly. Set aside.
  6. In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine all the caramel sauce ingredients except for the vanilla extract (it is added later). Melt and combine ingredients in sauce pan. Once all is combined and melted, bring to a boil on medium for 2 minutes and the then remove from heat. Let sauce cool for a couple minutes and then add the vanilla extract and mix it in. Let sauce cool and thicken for a few minutes.
  7. Place pumpkin dip in a serving bowl on a large platter. Drizzle pumpkin dip with caramel sauce. Top with whipped cream or coconut cream. Place cinnamon pie crust chips on the platter surrounding the dip. Serve and enjoy dipping.


Nutritional Data for Low Carb Version (using Swerve erythritol as sweetener of choice): Servings: 5, Serving size: 1 out of 5 portions (exact number amount depends on how large you cut the chips), Cal: 354, Carbs: 9 g / Net Carbs: 5.2 g, Fiber: 3.8 g, Fat: 30 g, Protein: 8 g, Sodium: 189 mg, Sugar: 2 g Nutritional Data for Paleo version (using coconut sugar as sweetener of choice): Servings: 5, Cal: 376, Carbs: 16 g / Net Carbs: 12.2 g, Fiber: 3.8 g, Fat: 30 g, Protein: 8 g, sodium: 190 mg, Sugar: 9 g *all nutritional data are estimates based on the products I used*