Surviving Holiday Stress

Reserve some private time with your loved one to rekindle the romance.

Reserve some private time to rekindle your romance.

Becky Luigart-Stayner

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The whirlwind of everyday life can sweep you and your beloved into a frenzy if you're not careful.

Take a cue from Charles Dale, the busy chef of the Renaissance and Rustique Bistro restaurants in Aspen, Colorado. He makes a point to take time out from his schedule when times get hectic to enjoy an indulgent one-on-one meal with his beloved. "When my wife and I first met, it was actually just before the holidays," Dale says. "On Christmas Eve, I showed up at her house with foie gras, caviar, and a bottle of Chateau Suduiraut. For us, that is a memory of romance that we like to repeat, so we do, every year."

Everyone may not be able to afford such extravagance, but a quiet meal with your loved one is about time spent together, not expense. You could even stage your romantic rendezvous with takeout if the atmosphere is right.

Rachel Ashwell, whose Shabby Chic book series and TV program (on cable's Style network) show ordinary people how to create extraordinary rooms on a budget, knows the importance of setting the right scene. "It's nice to carve out a time for gentle things, rather than just rushing around," she says.

Her recipe for romance? "Turn off the telephone. Turn off all distractions. Put nice music on in the background.

"Candles, subtle scents, and comfort―keep those things, and they make it easier for romance to take place," Ashwell suggests.

Table for Two: The Health Benefits
Regardless of what you eat, a romantic dinner might actually be good for your health. According to recent study results published in Consumer Reports on Health, enjoying quiet time with your spouse or partner can lower blood pressure. The study, conducted by the State University of New York-Oswego and the University of Pittsburgh, found that the security of a long-term relationship sends a safety signal that tells the body to relax. Participants' blood pressure was significantly lowered during social interaction with their partners, as opposed to other social interactions or no interaction at all.

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