Going All-In on the Holiday Spirit
When both sides of the family live within 30 minutes of one another, it makes the holiday season much more relaxed and easy. I’m grateful to have nearly all the people that matter most to me nearby. When Christmas comes around, we can easily gather and catch up without anyone having to get on a plane or orchestrate complicated holiday plans.
From decorating the common hallway of our apartment to helping search for the perfect
toys and gifts for the kids, I totally invest myself in the Christmas celebrations. But I’ve already received the best gift of all this holiday season. We recently found out that my wife and I are expecting twins! My wife’s been through a lot with previous pregnancies, but we’re hopeful and excited to welcome the newest members of our family next May. On that note, I’d like to extend a sincere merry Christmas and happy holidays to all my readers. Here’s hoping you get the chance to crack a few jokes with your loved ones and experience a little bit of that vital holiday wonder. —Dr. Michael Russo
with the other side of the family. I’m surprised we’re even able to eat at all after the first night! Though, one of the best parts of Christmas is the morning we have to ourselves. After returning from the Feast of the Seven Fishes and getting all the presents set just right, I’ll finally get to bed at some ungodly hour, like 4:30 a.m. Of course, my 6-year-old daughter will come shuffling in an hour later, asking if we can start the present extravaganza. And while I’m exhausted that morning, it’s nothing coffee can’t fix, not to mention the contagious enthusiasm of my two children. That’s what makes the Christmas season truly special. There’s just nothing like seeing the kids enraptured in the spirit of the season, thrilled beyond belief.
With my big Italian family and my wife’s large clan, you can bet that anytime either side gets together, it’s a serious event. For years, the traditions have been alternating. One family gets us and the kids for the Christmas-Eve feast, while we join the other for the Christmas-Day festivities. This year, it looks like we’ll be with the in-laws on Christmas Eve, digging into a huge variety of foods. Whether we’re there or with my own family, we celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a classic Italian Catholic tradition that incorporates a ludicrous amount of seafood into the typical Christmas Eve meal. Inevitably, seven fishes turn into 10 or 12 fishes, but I’ve never heard anyone complaining. All in all, it ends up being a three-hour ordeal, the true definition of a feast. The following evening, we do it all again
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Gift Wrap Alternatives
There’s something magical about seeing a stack of presents wrapped in bright, multicolored paper. However, that enchanting scene quickly evaporates a few hours later when all those wads of wrapping paper and plastic bows are chucked unceremoniously into the garbage. What if we told you there are countless ways you can still enjoy wrapping and unwrapping presents, without all the waste? Here are a few creative gift wrap alternatives to consider this holiday season. Brown Paper Bags With the holiday season comes holiday shopping, and if you opt out of plastic grocery bags, you’re sure to have a surplus of brown paper bags in the pantry. Drop a present into the bag, tape it shut, and you’re good to go. Add some simple lace or a ribbon for an old-timey feel or get creative with stamps and hand-drawn artwork. This wrap job lets your imagination run wild. Old Maps and Calendars These days, pretty much every phone has a built-in GPS, so you probably won’t need the map from your 1999 road trip anytime soon. If you still have an old map, why not use that for wrapping? The unusual designs guarantee your gifts will be one of a kind. And don’t worry if there are notes scrawled across the paper. Old events or directions will add some unique flair to the presents. Furoshiki Fabric is an excellent substitute for wrapping paper. You can use a scarf to create two gifts in one or pull out scraps of fabric from old projects. The traditional Patient Success Story “Before coming for therapy, I had trouble twisting and bending because of the pain I would get in the middle right side of my back. They quickly identified and treatedmy pain correctly. I felt relief in a short time after my first visit. All personnel are very kind and knowledgeable. My experience at NJIB has been great!”
Japanese practice of furoshiki is all about wrapping goods in fabric. Described as “functional fabric origami,” you’d be amazed at how a few well-placed folds can turn your gift into a work of art. Learn how to wrap anything, from boxes to bottles, at ceas.ku.edu/ furoshiki-instructional-videos. You don’t have to follow the same gift wrap habits year after year. After the effort you put into finding just the right present, you should be able to make your gift wrap just as special. Find a method that’s uniquely you and get started!
HAVE YOU TRIED Physical Therapy for Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where either the body does not produce enough insulin, or the cells in the body do not react normally to insulin. When either of these conditions occurs, it causes levels of glucose in the blood to become too high, which can lead to health problems. Physical activity and exercise are important and effective in lowering high blood-glucose levels, and physical therapists can help people with diabetes improve or avoid related problems. They can also teach sedentary people how to increase their daily physical activity in safe, effective, and enjoyable ways. Individuals with diabetes are at risk of complications like heart disease, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, eye disease, kidney disease, nervous system disease, peripheral vascular disease, skin issues, cell death, amputations, and premature death. Once someone has been diagnosed by a physician, a physical therapist can evaluate their symptoms and the physical problems associated with the condition and provide individual, specialized treatments. Physical therapy for diabetes is meant to help those with the disease participate in safe, effective exercise programs to improve their ability to move, perform daily tasks, reduce pain, and lower blood-glucose levels. After a physical therapist reviews an individual’s blood-glucose record and examines them for skin wounds, the therapist will then
conduct an assessment of the individual’s strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance.
The physical therapist will then choose specific activities, treatments, exercises, and stretches to help restore normal movement, strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, coordination, pain levels, and healthy blood glucose levels. The therapist will also discuss activity goals and prescribe at-home exercises to speed up recovery. Diabetes is a condition with many serious complications. However, physical therapy can reduce those complications while simultaneously improving physical fitness and lowering blood glucose levels. Talk to your physical therapist about diabetes treatment today. Thai Spaghetti Squash
With Peanut Sauce
HAVE A LAUGH!
Peanut sauce: •
• • • • • •
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk ¾ cup unsweetened peanut butter ¼ cup coconut sugar 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons white vinegar 2 teaspoons sesame oil 2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 garlic clove, minced ¼ cup chopped parsley
• • • • •
2 tablespoons crushed peanuts
Preheat oven to 350 F. Half squash and scoop out seeds. Drizzle inside of squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place squash on baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes. Let cool. Using a fork, scrape out spaghetti squash strands. Place sauce ingredients in saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat
and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, parsley, and ¼ of the peanut sauce and combine. Add spaghetti squash and crushed peanuts. Stir to combine until heated through, about 2 minutes. Once served, drizzle with more peanut sauce. Recipe courtesy of InTheKitchenWithKath.com. 3 www.NJIB.com 5. 6.
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INSIDE This Issue
Christmas Celebrations With the Russos
StopWasting Gift Wrap!
Patient Success Story
Physical Therapy for Diabetes Treatment
Thai Spaghetti Squash With Peanut Sauce
Go KonMari on Your Calendar
Is Your Calendar
Step 2: JoyTest Do these commitments bring you joy? Are they part of your ideal life?When you look at“Lunch date with Margot”from last week, are you reminded of her unfriendly comments about your waiter and her negative attitude toward your renovation ideas? Consider each commitment and its impact on your joy. Of course, not all commitments will live up to the joy standard. Youmay not love your annual check-up, but it is important for your health. When you encounter non-negotiable items like these, consider the long-term impact they have on your well-being. Step 3: Discard Put an end to commitments that are not bringing you joy. This might mean having tough conversations with clients or friends. No one said the KonMari Method is easy. Decluttering entails getting rid of items that do not pass the joy test. Step 4: Apply! Follow through. Cancel commitments and long- standing obligations that are not benefiting your life. Have the difficult conversation. Apply the joy test as new commitments come up. By considering each commitment and its impact on your life, you will make room for those that bring you joy. To readmore about the KonMari Method, check out Kondo’s“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”and its companion book,“Spark Joy.”
In her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,”Marie Kondo gave us a transformative method for decluttering our homes. Based on feng shui principles and Kondo’s own study of organization, the KonMari Method has led thousands of devotees to new heights of tidiness. Kondo instructs participants to assess each of their possessions, item by item, category by category, and then dispose of those that do not provide joy. It’s touted as a simple, though not easy, guide to long-term organization. What would happen if this approach were applied to your calendar? Entrepreneur Christina Wallace calls her 10-month experiment in doing so an “unqualified success.”Most of us could benefit from trimming our jampacked schedules. Those various calendars synced to our phone, each emitting noisy reminders about the upcoming hour’s plans, aren’t exactly harbingers of harmony. Get a jump-start on your organization resolution by applying the KonMari Method to your calendar. Step 1: Assess First, envision the life you want to lead. Next, assess all the items listed on your calendar within a two-month period. Organize each commitment according to categories — social, work-related, doctor’s appointments, etc. Be thorough. Including each commitment, no matter how minor, is the key to this process.
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