DEC 23, 2018 5:30 PM PST

Happy holidays?

It's great to get into the holiday spirit, but there's no way around it: some things about the holidays are just not healthy - for us or for the planet. 

Did you know that between Thanksgiving and New Year's, people in the US throw away 25% more trash than during the rest of the year? And in the UK, people use enough wrapping paper to go around the circumference of the Earth nine whole times! Not to mention all of the consumerism that the holidays bring - I mean, do the kids really need all those toys (or do you really need all those new sweaters?)?

But the holidays can be hard on our bodies as well as on the planet. Heart specialists call this happy time of year the Merry Christmas Coronary or Happy New Year Heart Attack because there are consistently one third more coronary deaths recorded in December and January than throughout the rest of the year. The reasons for these fatalities are likely related to unhealthy eating, excessive alcohol intake and high levels of stress. (Now, that doesn't sound like a family gathering at all, does it?) In fact, weight gain and DUIs also increase during the holly jolly season. High expectations to enjoy one's self as well as a heightened sense of loss from missing loved ones, not to mention the few hours of sunlight that the Northern hemisphere receives, can all put excessive pressure on the holiday season too, making it a somewhat stressful time. 

So, bottom line? Don't stress about the holidays - just remember it's all about spreading kindness and gratitude in whatever ways you can. 

About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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