Congratulations to the winner from Day 5 of the 12 Days of Christmas: Chany Breen

It’s a widespread problem. Nearly a quarter of Americans reported feeling “extreme stress” come holiday time, according to a poll by the American Psychological Association. Holiday stress statistics show that up to 69 percent of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time,” 69 percent are stressed by perceiving a “lack of money,” and 51 percent are stressed out about the “pressure to give or get gifts.” (Allinonehealth)

It is so significant that 45% of those surveyed would rather just skip Christmas altogether. So how do we get back in balance and relieve some of this extra stress on our lives? According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many benefits of just simply laughing.

Short-term benefits
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:

  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Contest: In today’s contest share a funny story.  What helps you lighten up your day?

Prize: $10.00 Starbucks Card 

Our friend Tracy DeGraaf is a comedian and author. She is a mom of five boys and a breast cancer survivor. If you want some good clean funny stories visit her Facebook Page “Life Happens- So Laugh Anyway.”

Peppermint Fudge Balls

Chocolate and peppermint seem to be a leading couple of the Christmas candy season and for good reason! It is a delicious combination!

1 cup almond butter
1 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup coconut flour
A few drops of Candy Cane Stevia depending on sweetness preference
1/16 tsp pink Himalayan salt

Over medium heat, melt coconut oil and mix in almond butter. Add dried ingredients and stir until well-combined. Taste test to determine if an additional sweetener is needed depending on your preferences.

Pour mixture into a bowl and transfer to the freezer to solidify, approximately 60-90 minutes, depending on the temperature of your freezer. Remove from the freezer and form into balls. Place formed balls on a flat tray (sprinkle with cocoa powder, if desired) and freeze for about 15-20 minutes.

If you use a mold, just allow the balls to solidify in the freezer (about 2-3 hours).