No matter how much we prepare for the holiday season, there is always some added stress. We often have many more commitments and responsibilities, and we are interacting more with family and friends. These commitments and responsibilities can be energizing or depleting, so there can be both good stress and bad stress. The trick is recognizing when stress is bad for us?
If you are experiencing difficulty resting and sleeping, you’re having digestive difficulties or catching many colds, or you’re finding that your patience is running thin, then there is a good chance that the stress is getting to you.
Bad stress can wreak havoc on your immune system, leaving you feeling sick and tired. Slow down and take some steps to make sure that the stress of this holiday season doesn’t get you down. Here are some of my best tips for dealing with the bad holiday stress that can damage your health.
I love to keep moving and I have a very busy mind, so meditation is challenging for me, to say the least. However, I do believe meditation/contemplation/prayer is important for health, wellness, and spiritual nutrition. I have dabbled in different ways to incorporate meditation, with varying degrees of success. I like guided meditations (there are many sources online, and my current favorite is this one with Deepak Chopra). It really helps my stress level when, for at least a small part of every day, I remember to breathe, be grateful, and connect with something grander than my own small world.
2. Move Around & Get Some Fresh Air
Of all the things that I ask of my clients, exercise is often the most challenging. Many folks feel that if they are not in a class or at the gym, it doesn’t count. They might self-sabotage by not moving their bodies at all. It is quite normal to “not feel like exercising.” But you will find that if you make yourself go to the gym or practice yoga or do whatever you do for exercise even when you don’t want, it will change your mood and you will be glad you do. If all you do is a 15-minute walk around the block a couple of times, you’ll feel better. Exercise reduces stress and can change your mood for the better. So if the holiday stress is getting intense, stop whatever you’re doing and go for a quick walk. The cold,s fresh air can also change your mood.
3. Keep Your Gut Healthy
Gut health is vital to the immune system. When winter comes and we are inside constantly and exposed to more germs, it’s even more important to pay attention to our guts. There’s nothing worse than having sickness ruin your holiday plans. To the degree possible, you should limit sweets, simple carbs (including white flour), and alcohol. Increase vegetables, healthy carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Eating more vegetables can actually decrease your sweet cravings. Here’s another effective preventative treatment: include bitters and probiotic supplements as part of your plan to support your gut over the holidays. You can find my favorite bitters in our herbal apothecary and probiotics are sold now at most health food stores; I get Bio-Kult Probiotic Multi-Strain Formula from Amazon.
Keep caffeine intake down, avoid screens before bedtime, and keep your bedroom dark and quiet. Exercise and fresh air will help you sleep better, as will a healthy diet. Also, consider stopping eating or drinking after seven or eight at night to fast for 12 hours while you sleep.
5. Focus on What’s Important
Enjoy the love and time spent with family and friends! Remember to focus on their best qualities and be grateful that they are part of your life. If you’re still feeling stressed, you can try this Joy Tonic, which offers a fast-acting herbal stress support.