The holiday season - a joy for many - can cause a great deal of stress for others.
Too many activities and commitments can leave us feeling burnt out and exhausted with little time for ourselves.
Overindulging in food and drink can make us feel sluggish and bloated.
Americans also have a tendency to over-spend and this can follow us into the new year and cause lasting financial pressure.
As if that weren’t enough, add in crowds, cooking, cleaning, entertaining, holiday shopping along with feeling obligated to attend events all lead to “festive stress”.
For others who are spending the holidays alone or missing a special person, there is added emotional stress.
In this month’s article, we are going to look at strategies to help ease stress and get you through the holidays healthier.
- Holiday Stress -
The American Psychological Association reports 1 in 4 Americans experience “extreme stress” during the holiday season. If you are feeling stressed out, you are not alone. Here are 8 ways you can ease this stress:
A high-intensity workout may be just what you need to boost your mood. Exercise boosts levels of potent brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Movement-based exercises, such as yoga and tai-chi, may be particularly beneficial in warding off stress.
Getting outside and taking a walk or hike is helpful.
2. Mediation and Deep Breath
There is no better time to start a mindfulness practice, which helps us better cope during times of stress. There are some great meditation apps like Calm or simply play some relaxing music and focus on taking deep breaths.
Lack of rest exaggerates the stress we feel. Lack of quality sleep elevates cortisol levels, physiological markers of stress. It’s best to sleep in complete darkness and avoid electronics one hour before bed.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a role in facilitating serotonin production, a brain hormone associated with mood elevation. In many places during the winter, it can be challenging to get enough natural sun exposure to produce enough vitamin D to ward off stress.
Vitamin D can also help bolster and regulate the immune system.
We recommend supplementing D when you cannot regularly get enough sun exposure.
5. Tend to your gut
We often overindulge in food during the holidays. My weakness is chocolate! It’s okay to treat ourselves but keeping our gut health in mind will help us feel our best.
Fermented foods are the best source of natural probiotics. We have an article on how to make your own delicious gut healthy sauerkraut here.
If you don’t consistently eat fermented foods, we recommend this probiotic:
6. Essential Oils
Essential oils can help induce a sense of calm and relaxation. Lavender is especially effective because its compound called linalool may produce a relaxation effect similar to anti-anxiety drugs. Try adding some lavender to your diffuser or a few drops in a warm bath.
7. Stress-Reducing Supplements
Features the 3 Rs: Rhapontium, Rhodiola Rosea and Rhodiola Crenulata. It contains the optimum blend to promote oxygen utilization, mental acuity, endurance, and healthy fat metabolism.
8. Overindulging in alcoholic beverages
If you overindulge in alcohol, activated charcoal may significantly improve how you are feeling. Charcoal is able to absorb liquid wastes before they can be absorbed into the body.
If the holidays are bringing more stress than joy, it’s time to cut back. Focus on gratitude and spending time with the people who mean the most to you.
Freeing up your time and energy for the activities that matter most to you will help increase your happiness. The simplest activities - board games and time with family - often have the biggest impact.
If you have questions about any of the supplements, click reply or call our office.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.
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We have at least another month of social distancing. I know many of us are struggling with the disruptions to our lives.
If you are feeling disjointed, here are a few strategies to help you cope during these trying times:
Forty-seven percent of Americans report experiencing higher levels of anxiety than the prior year.
The human brain is wired to experience anxiety when it signals something is not right and can help us avoid a dangerous situation. But persistent anxiety that disrupts our lives can signal an anxiety disorder. One-third of adults will grapple with this at some point in their lives.
When we experience anxiety, the brain signals to our gut we are under stress and a combination of hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol are released. This can affect us in different ways. Common reactions to anxiety are heart palpitations, knots in the stomach or dizziness and light-headedness.
While encountering a saber tooth tiger may not be a problem these days, there are many less-lethal stressors that affect us today.
Winter is the time for rest. In many places, the land becomes barren, frozen and appears dead. Trees shed their leaves. Animals hibernate or spend more time in their dens and burrows. Birds migrate to warmer places.
But all is not dead, it’s simply hidden. Winter is the time when living things rest and replenish.
How can we better rest and replenish ourselves to cultivate what will bloom in the spring?