Health

Halloween – A Holiday We All Can Agree On

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It’s my opinion that my home state of Utah is the epicenter of Halloween celebrations. People here go crazy over Halloween. This year I’ve personally seen complete houses turned into graveyards, or yards with a ghoulish pirate theme. I’ve seen pictures of costume parties with people dressed in costumes that would put movie special affect professionals to shame. I think there are more houses decorated for Halloween than there are for Christmas. It is truly a holiday that is enjoyed by everyone regardless of political affiliation. It seems there are some things that rise above the chasm of differences that inflict our country and has the power to bring us together.

In Utah, for the first time in many years, there is a close race for a Senate seat. The incumbent, Mike Lee, has found himself in a real battle with the independent challenger Evan McMullin. The ads and campaign rhetoric have revealed a real animosity between followers of both Senate hopefuls. Yet, among all this divisiveness, there are neighboring houses, one with signs showing their allegiance to Mike Lee, the other with signs in support of Evan McMullin, that teamed up for a two-house common themed Halloween decoration that was spectacular. They obviously found a way to put their political differences aside and do something together that they both obviously enjoyed and agreed on.

There are some things that we do agree on that might help us see that Congress can actually work together. Over 71% of Americans agree that we should quit throwing off our circadian rhythms and stop changing our clocks twice a year. Over the years, in my public policy career, I’ve searched for a way to stop this crazy twice-yearly madness. The Senate passed a bill by a unanimous voice vote that would stop this unpopular tradition and the House is set to take it up. It looks like it really is possible to set aside our differences to pass some commonsense legislation that will benefit us all. I can only hope the House and the President jump on board this popular, bipartisan legislation.

I bring this up because we are just over a week away from voting in the midterm elections. While the ads and rhetoric tend to rise to an almost unbearable decibel level,  the fact remains that the most important thing we can do is . . . VOTE. While I like to think that my blog and your advocacy voice are powerful, the real power is in your vote. It’s truly the most powerful way that seniors can speak out.

Ok, I’ll climb off my stump and get to another important thing about Halloween, the chance to get together with your family and enjoy the day, and night. Tonight is the first Halloween for two years that many of us feel like we can get out and enjoy it with our kids, and for most of us, our grandkids. I know from the amount of candy my friends are buying they are expecting a great turnout. The schoolteachers must be expecting a huge celebration given that many of the schools have a teacher workday with no school for students on the day after Halloween. The teachers aren’t dumb and they know they don’t want to try and teach a bunch of sugared-up kids who haven’t had a good night’s sleep, so maybe that’s why they gave them a day to recover. The fact of the matter is we love to be with our grandkids when they get dressed up for Halloween. It seems to me that Christmas is the only other holiday that rivals the excitement we see in our grandkids’ eyes. It’s also true that it’s really great that we get to go home, and we don’t have to face the tired kids the next day.

Halloween has come to signal the start of the holiday season. It seems to be the first step toward Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. It is a hectic time and filled with much food, which often brings on that holiday weight gain. I thought now is a good time to offer some great advice I found from SilverSneakers about how to avoid holiday weight gain.

  1. Prioritize Sleep for Stronger Willpower – Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night, because it will help you make better food choices
  2. Create a Daily Eating Plan – Planning always helps keep me focused.
  3. Pre-Game with Vegetables and Tea – The extra fiber and tea will keep you from arriving hungry.
  4. Eat and Enjoy – Go ahead and enjoy those once-a-year holiday treats but eat slowly and savor it.” Simple trick: Always move away from the food. Instead of standing over the chips and dip while talking to your friend, put a handful of chips and a tablespoon of dip on your plate and find a spot to continue your conversation. Bonus: It’ll be easier to catch up with your friend if you don’t have to keep moving out of the way for others.
  5. Keep Liquid Calories in Check – It’s certainly possible to have fun without alcohol, but if you do choose to drink, remember that alcohol has calories too. Steer clear of cocktails with many ingredients that can really pack a lot of calories. Instead, choose a five-ounce glass of wine or a 12-ounce bottle of light beer, which counts as one serving of alcohol.

One other thing to remember as we start this holiday season, the holidays aren’t always the happiest time for some of us. Holidays can bring loneliness and depression. Take some time to think about someone who would benefit from a visit or an invitation to a party.

I hope your Halloween is safe and brings you and your family smiles and laughter.

Best, Thair

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