The holiday season brings a plethora of good things - spending time with family you haven’t seen in a while, seeing the utter happiness on your kids’ faces when they see the first snowfall or open a present, a chance to refocus your spiritual life, and so on. But, inevitably, this season does bring with it one negative thing - STRESS. Now, many of us handle stress well in our day-to-day lives, but as we all know, the holiday season is anything but day-to-day. Cooking huge meals, dealing with the hustle and bustle of busy stores and battling coldweather issues are just a few of the situations that throw us off our routine and create stress this time of year. Stress is harmful to our bodies and to our immune system - and we all know how important our immune system is! Stress can contribute to all six of the pathways that lead to sickness, so it is vital to counteract it. And it’s not something that you can just deal with - you must alleviate it before it has a chance to have negative effects on your health. With your health in mind, we’ve come up with some ways for you to keep stress at a minimum this holiday season - or at least some ways to fend it off when stress creeps up on you.
- Take a Break - We all have a million things to do before the holidays, and one of them is to relax. This seems like it should go without saying, but most people forget that it’s ok to stop and sit down for a minute. If you feel stressed, tired or overwhelmed, it’s your body telling you it’s time for relief. Give it the relief it needs.
- Take Your Vitamin C - At Beyond Health, we preach about Vitamin C in almost every topic - BECAUSE IT IS THAT IMPORTANT! And it’s no different with stress - Vitamin C helps combat the negative effects of stress, and it will help you keep your immune system up. As we’ve said, you have a million things to do, and it could be easy to lose track of taking supplements, but your body will thank you. Be intentional about getting your Vitamin C! A minimum of 4,000- 6,000 mg per day is recommended, and more if you have any chronic health problems.
- Get Your Nutrients! - GIVE YOUR BODY THE NUTRIENTS IT NEEDS! Keep your immune system up, and counter stress! Some of the best things to take are Vitamin C, B-12, a multi containing other B vitamins, magnesium and zinc. Load up on these nutrients and watch stress dissipate.
- Make a List (Check it Twice) - Keeping yourself organized is one of the top ways to stop stress before it even starts. Take some time and write out lists, household duties, budgets, travel plans, etc., and give yourself a timeline. If you break things down into a day-by-day schedule, it will be less overwhelming and be much more realistic to accomplish. Plus, if you give yourself a schedule to be done with things early, you can have more time to enjoy with your family, friends, or more time to relax by yourself!
- Drink Green Tea - There are few things greater than sitting on your patio on a cool fall morning drinking a hot cup of tea - it just starts your day off right...and stressfree! Additionally, green tea is so beneficial for your body, providing you with antioxidants, even more so than serving of a spinach, broccoli, carrots or strawberries! While green tea is beneficial, keep in mind that most of the green tea on the market is low in antioxidants and high in toxic fluoride.
- Exercise - Have you ever had a bad day, then you hit the gym and all of the sudden, the issues you had seem a little smaller and more manageable? Yeah, that’s endorphins speaking, and your body releases them during exercise. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in your body, and what’s better to tackle stress than positivity? If you think you don’t have time, get in quick bits here and there. Go for a 10 minute walk, rebound for 5 minutes, walk the dog an extra 10 minutes, etc. There is no need to be in the gym for hours, especially when your schedule is jam-packed as it is.
- Take Extra B-12 - Running a little low on energy? Take some B-12 to ramp up your levels. Not only will B-12 increase your energy, but it is also known to boost your mood. Combine B-12 with those endorphins you’ll be releasing when you exercise, and you’ll be ready to take on the world...and the stress of being in a shopping mall during the month of December. However, taking the right kind of B12 is critical.
- Be Thankful - Perhaps the most important of all of our tips, remembering what this season is about is one sure way to help you counter the stress that it brings. Whether it’s family time, religious meaning or the natural beauty of the earth during this season, remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, and soon you’ll be much more willing to deal with it all.