According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of holiday is: a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done. Well, we all know too well, there’s plenty of work involved in preparing for the holidays. Take the stress of shopping, deadlines, putting in extra hours at work, over-indulging, over extending the credit card, and an amped up social schedule. Add all that to the rest of the stress that’s been accumulating over time, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for burnout.
Stress is an unavoidable part of our daily lives. A certain amount of stress is actually necessary for our survival; however, the amount of stress most people are under these days is causing more harm than good and can have serious health implications.
- 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress.
- 75%-90% of all medical visits are in some way related to stress.
What is Stress?
Stress greatly impacts one’s health; it speeds up the aging process and leaves us feeling fatigued and lacking motivation. It is also linked to a wide variety of health issues including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Anxiety & Depression
Stress, no matter where it is coming from, disrupts your body’s internal balance, known as homeostasis. There are two different categories of stress: acute (short term) and chronic (long term).
Acute stress occurs when, for example, you have to slam on the breaks in the car, someone scares you or you are running late.
Chronic stress is long lasting and is linked to serious side effects. Examples of chronic stress are taking care of a sick parent, feeling unhappy in your home life, enduring a long illness or a drawn out divorce.
Unfortunately, we seem to live in a world where acute stressful moments begin to string themselves together and we end up living in a state of chronic state of stress.
When you feel stressed, your brain is affected. Your autonomic nervous system cannot tell the difference between physical and emotional stress, therefore, it reacts the same by secreting adrenaline & cortisol. Adrenaline keeps you alert by increasing your heart rate, blood pressure and quickly mobilizes energy reserves. Cortisol works more slowly and helps to replenish energy supplies and readies immune system to handle any threat.
Here are my top tips to help you manage your stress this holiday season:
- Eat nutrient rich diet. Eat only the highest quality foods and stay away from junk and processed foods.
- Delegate some of the holiday chores, household and childcare responsibilities to other family members.
- Avoiding sugar and white flour products. Ironically, these are the foods that many stressed out people love to eat. Eating them in excess leads to hypoglycemic symptoms (blood sugar highs and lows), which only aggravates your stress even more.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, which are stimulants.
- Manage your stress – through moderate exercise, yoga, time for yourself, prayer and learning to balance your work and home life. Make time for laughter and lots of it!
- Getting adequate rest. Sleep in a room that is as dark and quiet as possible.
- Avoiding pollution, chemical, and pesticide exposure as much as possible.
- Replacing unpleasant, worrying and limiting thoughts with loving and positive thoughts. We can be our own worst enemy in this department. Our kindness extends to others quite freely and yet we tend to forget to be kind to ourselves.
- Surrounding yourself with positive, loving people.
- Spend fifteen minutes a day doing something that brings you joy.
- Speak with your friendly nutritionist (aka me) who can guide you and make recommendations for dietary changes and nutritional supplements specific to your needs.
- Be realistic in your expectations of yourself as well as others. We tend to get a little crazy trying to make everything perfect – just the right gift for others, a beautifully set table, magazine ready food presentation, and the list goes on. It is okay to let these things go. Your family wants you – they want to laugh with you and create memories with you.
Need more tips & tricks for thriving during the holidays? Download my free guide below!