Holiday stress is a unique beast. It can churn up feelings of anxiety, irritability and even helplessness at a time when peace and joy are the “reasons for the season”. Our everyday stressors continue to exist alongside additional pressures of getting from place to place and everything done “in time” for the holidays, potentially building up tension. Other factors such as family dynamics and financial strains don’t help the situation.
Under normal circumstances, stress acts as a natural response to our environment, keeping us safe from perceived dangers, and acts as a great motivator at healthy levels. However, in excess and over time its effects can take a toll.
Increased blood pressure, muscle tension, elevated blood sugar levels, disrupted sleep and decreased digestive secretions are the physiological expressions of our “fight or flight” responses, which cumulate in health issues after periods of chronic or highly acute stress. A wholesome, varied diet, quality sleep and plenty of activity is the trifecta of lifestyle factors that help us cultivate effective coping mechanisms, but there are times when things fall out of balance, and a little extra help is needed. The holiday season is one of these times, and while many of us are prone to higher levels of stress throughout emotional and busy season, there are ways to help mitigate the damage and keep a joyous outlook
Nourish Your Body
Nourishing the body is a powerful defense against elevated stress levels, and a daily dose of greens is one of your best allies in preventing these levels from getting out of control. There are profound effects of plant-based nutrition on both physical and mental wellbeing, resulting in the creation of a functional food that harnesses the benefits of a nutrient rich, varied, colorful plant based diet. This supports natural detoxification, energy levels, a healthy pH balance, antioxidant action, and efficient digestion, equipping your body with the nourishment it needs to successfully manage stress.
Reduce Stress and Boost Gut Health
Stress can also often trigger digestive upset, which doesn’t jive with the social nature of the season, and left unchecked can quickly change from uncomfortable to harmful.
At the end of busy days, nothing is more restorative than a good night’s sleep. But first you have to get there, and winding down and shutting off a tense internal dialogue is easier said than done. Be proactive by limiting caffeine intake during the day and avoiding alcohol closer to bedtime. Unplug from email and web surfing at least an hour before retiring and designate the bedroom as a sleep-only zone.
Aside from taking care of your body’s needs through nutrition and supplements, there are some other tactics that can help you take care of yourself and manage stress this holiday season:
- Write down what you want to achieve over the holidays, a visual reminder can help you stay on track, set positive and realistic goals, and give you a healthy sense of accomplishment when you check them off!
- Harness the power of “no”. Do what you can, and expend your energy on what gives you the greatest emotional return on investment. Be okay with saying no to a few things to maintain your cool.
- Take it outside. Try to make exercise outdoors part of your holiday activity schedule, preferably on sunny days so you reap the natural Vitamin D and serotonin generating benefits of the sunlight.
- You can have it, just not all of it. There may be schedule conflicts, but commit to one event instead of dividing your attentions. Whichever one you choose to attend will be a blast if you are fully present. This goes for indulgences as well. Have some sweets, a cocktail, a few dips into the cheesy fondue pot. Practicing moderation will give you the experience without the regrets.
Know your limits to experience unlimited joy this year, and reach for products that help you to balance your health when stress begins overwhelm you to achieve your best self. Safe, natural, research-proven ingredients all wrapped up in effective products.