The holidays are here again! At this time of year, many people get overwhelmed by the stress of all there is to do, and that can take its toll emotionally and physically. So how do you maintain some semblance of sanity this season?
Well , first of all, remember that stress is stress and that it has the same physical effects on the body, no matter what time of year it is. Use the same strategies that are beneficial to you in managing stress at other times of the year. The caveat being that the increased demands on your time can make it harder to take care of yourself. Just remember, you’ll be healthier and happier this holiday season if you make relaxation a priority!
Make time to exercise. Yoga or a similar type activity would be great for most people as it both gets the body moving and directs focus to the breath, which can effectively deal with a lot of holiday stress. The bonus too is that it can be done indoors, so bad weather does not have to be a factor.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you drink plenty of water. Due to the heat, indoor air can be very dry in the winter. This can dry out the mucous membranes of the nasal passages and sinuses. One of the main functions of the mucous membranes is to trap foreign material, including bacteria and viruses, in the air we breathe and prevent it from getting into the lungs. So by keeping the mucous membranes moist and functioning properly, they can better do their job of helping to prevent you from getting sick.
Nourish your nerves with proper nutrition. B vitamins and minerals like calcium and magnesium help relax nerves and muscles and counteract the effects of stress. So don’t forget to eat plenty of veggies in between those holiday cookies, cakes and pies. Also bear in mind that B vitamins are used to digest and assimilate all that sugar, but are not replaced by it. So eating too much sugar can deplete B vitamins in the body and make us more susceptible to the affects of stress.
Stress can inhibit immune system function, so at this time of year, using immune boosting herbs like echinacea or astragalus can be helpful. Just don’t forget to consult with your doctor or health care provider first! Some herbs can interact with medications you may be already taking.
Make time for some bodywork- get a massage, have acupuncture done, or get adjusted. These can help relax the body and take stress off the nervous system.
And lastly, don’t forget to make time for the things that truly bring you joy- time with friends or family, a hike in the snow, maybe even time spent with a pet.
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