The holiday season is supposed to be a time of festivities visiting with friends and family and ringing in the New Year. Yet for many of us, holiday cheer can dissolve into holiday stress. Long distance traveling, family get-togethers, extra shopping and social obligations can eventually wear the mind and body down. During this chaotic time, to top it all off, it is not uncommon to overindulge in food and drink to help soothe emotional stress. That’s why most of us feel worse either during or after the holiday season. Does this all sound too familiar?
Follow these simple tips to keep you healthy and in the holiday spirit:
- It’s ok to indulge – in MODERATION! You don’t have to completely deprive yourself of all the holiday treats this year, just plan wisely. For example, if you know that there is a party coming up over the weekend, concentrate on eating cleanly the week leading up.
- Get enough zzzzz’s. Not enough sleep will increase the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol. When your cortisol is elevated, you can bet you’ll gain weight, feel unbalanced, and be an easy target for viruses and bacteria.
- Keep your digestive system happy J. Take your digestive enzymes and probiotics before overindulging at that holiday party.
- Avoid excess alcohol. Alcohol can make you feel good temporarily, but it actually acts as a depressant and alters mood and judgment. Alcohol is also high in calories and very low in nutrients.
- Limit caffeine. Eggnog, pumpkin and gingerbread lattes are in every coffee shop and of course are way too tempting during the holiday season. They also contain huge amounts of caffeine and sugar, which can over stimulate the central nervous system and cause our blood sugar levels to crash later on.
- Relax and Breathe. Treat yourself to a massage once a month. Practice deep breathing exercises. Learn to say no once in awhile and take time for yourself whether it’s reading a book, taking a walk or practicing yoga or meditation.
- Keep up with your EXERCISE! During stress, exercise can alter your body chemistry to calm and soothe upset nerves. Even though the holiday season can be a difficult time to keep up an exercise routine, try working out first thing in the morning or plan family activities such as walking or ice skating.
- Be diligent with your Immune Boosters! This time of the year include: Vitamin C, Echinacea, Astragalus, Vitamin D and B Vitamins as part of your daily routine to help keep your immune system strong enough to ward off unwanted bugs.
Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!