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Christmas Fun Facts!

With Christmas right around the corner (8 days – eek!) we thought we’d share our favorite holiday fun facts from Factinate!

  1. Did you know… The first artificial tree Christmas Tree wasn’t a tree at all. It was created out of goose feathers that were dyed green!
  2. One of the reasons we leave milk and cookies for Santa is because Dutch children would leave food and drink out for St. Nicholas on his feast day.
  3. Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer was almost named Rollo or Reginald.
  4. Santa’s iconic red suit wasn’t always red. Prior to the 1930’s it was often pictured as white, green, and blue. Thomas Nast depicted Santa with a red coat in the late 19th century, and this inspired illustrator Haddon Sundblom in 1931 when he was tasked with creating advertisements for Coca-Cola. He depicted Santa as the red-suited, white haired, and rosy-cheeked man that we all know and love today.
  5. “Silent Night” is the most recorded Christmas song in history, with over 733 different versions copyrighted since 1978.
  6. The highest grossing Christmas movie of all time is “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”, the Jim Carrey version.
  7. One of the most popular times of the year for break-ups according to Facebook stats is the last two weeks leading up to Christmas! Maybe it’s the stress of the season. Interestingly, Christmas Day is the least common day to end a relationship (whewf!)
  8. Spiders are common Christmas tree decorations in Poland because, according to a legend, a spider wove the blanket for baby Jesus.
  9. Due to an incredibly successful marketing campaign, KFC became the best-selling restaurant for Christmas dinner throughout Japan. In Japan today, you must order your meal two months in advance if you want finger-lickin-good chicken on December 25!
  10. The Christmas tree became popular in 1846, after Prince Albert brought it to England when he married Queen Victoria. The two were sketched in front of a Christmas tree and the tradition became popular.

Reduce Stress and Provide Inner Calm

We all face stress in our day to day lives, from small annoyances like traffic jams, to major concerns like health problems. Regardless of the cause, stress can flood your body with hormones. This can increase heart rate, breathing, and tense muscles. The “Stress Response” is a normal bodily reaction to uncomfortable and threatening situations, honed in our history to help us survive threats like animal attacks or floods. In present day, we rarely face these threats, but challenging situations in daily life can still set off the stress response. We’ve provided some healthy ways to respond to stress, based on the “Relaxation Response.”

The Relaxation Response technique was first developed in the 1970’s at Harvard Medical School by Cardiologist, Dr. Herbert Benson. This response is the opposite of the stress response. It’s a state of profound rest that can be elicited in a number of different ways. With regular practice, you create a well of calm to dip into as the need arises.

  1. Breath Focus – In this simple yet powerful technique, you take long, slow, deep breaths (also known as abdominal or belly breathing). As you breathe, you gently disengage your mind from distracting thoughts and sensations.

    2. Body Scan – This technique blends breath focus with progressive muscle relaxation. After a few minutes of deep breathing, you focus on one part of the body or group of muscles at a time and mentally releasing any physical tension you feel there. A body scan can help boost your awareness of the mind-body connection.

    3. Guided Imagery – For this technique, you conjure up soothing scenes, places, or experiences in your mind to help you relax and focus. You can find free apps and online recordings of calming scenes – just make sure to choose imagery you find soothing and that has personal significance.

    4. Mindfulness Meditation – This practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and bringing your minds attention to the present moment without drifting into concerns about the past or the future. This form of meditation has enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years. Research suggests it may be helpful for people with anxiety, depression, and pain.

    5. Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong – These three ancient arts combine rhythmic breathing with a series of postures or flowing movements. The physical aspects of these practices offer a mental focus that can help distract you from racing thoughts. They can also enhance your flexibility and balance.

    6. Repetitive Mantras – For this technique, you silently repeat a short mantra or phrase while practicing breath focus. Some examples of repetitive mantras include, “I am enough”, “All is well”, or “Be still.”

Rather than choosing just one technique, experts recommend sampling several to see which one works best for you. Try to practice for at least 20 minutes a day, although even just a few minutes can help. The longer and the more often you practice these relaxation techniques, the greater the benefits and the more you can reduce stress.


Information sourced from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/six-relaxation-techniques-to-reduce-stress

Mindfulness Tips

Make mindfulness a part of your everyday life with these simple tips & tricks!

  1. Increase your awareness. Engaging your senses can help you become more aware, which will also help you on your path to mindfulness. You can do this by giving yourself a hug, playing with a pet, smelling a flower, or taking a relaxing bath. If your mind and body feel really out of line, then choose to do something bigger such as swimming, going for a nature walk, or even touching something extremely cold to give yourself a jolt back into your body and out of your head.
  2. Make gratitude a part of your daily routine. Turn your Instagram feed into a visual gratitude diary, create a gratitude jar, or make a list of 10 things you are grateful for each morning (or night.) Practicing gratitude keeps you aware of what is making you happy and/or what you’re grateful for in that moment, which supports the idea of being present.
  3. Take 10 minutes to do nothing. Andy Puddicombe, meditation and mindfulness expert, explains the present moment as, “Not being lost in thought, not being distracted, not being overwhelmed by difficult emotions but instead learning how to be in the here and now; how to be mindful, how to be present. I think the present moment is so underrated. It sounds so ordinary and yet we spend so little time in the present moment that it’s anything but ordinary.” Give your brain a 10 minute timeout so you can refresh your mind and keep it working at its best.
  4. Check out the Headspace app, created by Andy Puddicombe. The app allows you to work mindfulness into your everyday life. Watch this short video for more information on Headspace. https://youtu.be/kEpOF7vUymc
  5. Watch the world go by. There’s something pleasant about people-watching; sitting in a cafe, watching people go by, imagining who they are, their hobbies, or what they do for a living. Taking time out of your day to people-watch is an activity rooted in mindfulness. You are taking a step outside of yourself to observe other people in that exact moment in time.
  6. Take control of your thoughts. Mindfulness means appreciating each second and giving yourself entirely to the exact moment you’re currently in. Experience each moment and enjoy it.

Information sourced from: https://www.bustle.com/articles/113549-7-tips-to-practice-mindfulness-reasons-why-you-should