How to have a healthy holiday: The key is balance​

There’s nothing wrong with a cookie or a glass of eggnog at the holidays, says Debra Haire-Joshu, PhD, director of the Center for Obesity Prevention and Policy Research and the Center for Diabetes Translation Research at Washington University in St. Louis and associate dean for research at the Brown School. The key, Haire-Joshu says, is balance.

Christmas culture wars are nothing new, experts say

Tis the season for perennial battles between true believers and atheists, between mass marketers and the devout souls who worry about blatant commercialization of “the holiday season.”  While it may seem like it’s getting worse then ever, learning more about the facts behind these arguments might help all of us understand one another a bit better, suggest legal and religious history experts at Washington University in St. Louis.

Religious holiday displays – three wise men and a heap of legal troubles

The upcoming holiday season brings with it the annual gaze upon religious displays — and the legal issues that come with them. “The Supreme Court’s approach to public religious displays under the Establishment Clause has been less than clear,” says John Inazu, JD, expert on religion and the constitution and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis.“Some commentators have described it as the ‘three plastic animals rule’ –a Christian nativity scene on public property passes muster if it is accompanied by a sufficient combination of Rudolph, Frosty, and their friends.” Inazu says that future litigation will likely press against this line-drawing, but even apparent victories for religious liberty may come at a significant cost.

Dr. Hipp’s simple tip for reducing holiday stress and tackling resolutions — spend time in a park

The holiday season, while fun, can be draining. When you add the pressure of New Year’s resolutions, stress levels can rise. Environmental health expert J. Aaron Hipp, Ph.D., says that simply getting out of the house and going to a local park has the potential to lower stress and increase focus.”Parks allow us to physically and psychologically get away from stressful environments,” says Hipp, assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis. “Spending time in a park is a restorative activity that can recharge your batteries. A resolution to take advantage of local parks can contribute to a healthy, green year. Plus, a walk in the park can help you relax and refocus on New Year’s resolutions that may already have been broken.”

Holiday giving season complicated by shifting norms on gratuities, psychologist suggests

Photo by Mary Butkus / WUSTL PhotoStudy finds that the larger the bill, the smaller the tip percentage.As Americans are stuggling to make ends meet with rising gas and food costs, they are grappling more than ever with what’s appropriate when it comes to rewarding service providers with tips, gifts and other token gratuities, suggests Leonard Green, Ph.D., a psychology professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis who studies tipping behavior. Video available.

Nutritionist offers tips to make it through the New Year without putting on pounds

It’s possible to keep your diet intact during the holidays.The holiday season, with all its sweet temptations, will be here before you know it. However, all those holiday parties and office gatherings laden with scrumptious food and drink don’t have to mean the end of your weight loss plan. It’s still possible to enjoy the bounty and not feel deprived of your favorite holiday dishes, says Connie Diekman, director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. Video available.

Holiday giving season complicated by shifting norms on gratuities, psychologist suggests

Photo by Mary Butkus / WUSTL PhotoStudy finds that the larger the bill, the smaller the tip percentage.With the holiday season upon us, Americans are grappling more than ever with what’s appropriate when it comes to rewarding service providers with tips, gifts and other token gratuities, suggests Leonard Green, a psychology professor in Arts & Sciences who studies tipping behavior at Washington University in St. Louis. Video available.

Nutritionist offers tips to make it through the New Year without putting on pounds

It’s possible to keep your diet intact during the holidays.The holiday season, with all its sweet temptations, is in full swing. However, all those holiday parties and office gatherings laden with scrumptious food and drink don’t have to mean the end of your weight loss plan. It’s still possible to enjoy the bounty and not feel deprived of your favorite holiday dishes, says Connie Diekman, director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. Video available.

For those in grief, psychologist offers strategies to make it through the season

Photo by Susan SternerFinding comfort while grieving.The parties, family gatherings, gift exchanges and other activities of the holiday season can provide a much-needed distraction from the events of the world. But for those who have lost a loved one, the holidays are often less a distraction and more a reminder of loss. A psychologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis says for those who are grieving, a “normal” holiday season may not be possible, but there are strategies that can be used to help things go more smoothly.

Dynamic pricing in retail can boost bottom line

The right pricing strategy can keep the cash register full.Determining the right pricing strategy can make or break the overall profitability of a firm, especially during the all-important December holiday season. One such strategy, dynamic pricing, long practiced in the airline and hotel industries, is showing promise and profitability in the world of retail. When applied to products sold over a short sales season — new toys, skiwear, and the like — dynamic pricing can boost profits for a firm, say two professors of the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis.
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