Nourish - 7 Ways to Nip Holiday Stress in the Bud and Help Support a Healthy Stress Response
The holidays are a time to share and celebrate with family and friends, and during this festive time of year, stress levels can rise significantly. When this stress builds up, all of the body’s systems can become affected, especially when we’re pushing and pulling ourselves through stressful situations and seasonal obligations.
Ultimately this can leave us feeling constantly over-stressed, overwhelmed and unhappy.
Not quite the festive spirit we’re looking for!
While the added responsibilities, obligations, expectations and general festive activities will of course bring with some extra day-to-day stress, there are many ways to help support a healthy response to it.
There is no magic pill for preventing stress or dealing with it, but there are many ways we can tackle it.
My personal favourite is by incorporating a holistic approach to help support you on multiple levels. This will ensure you’ll be able to weather the holiday storms, tackle the tasks ahead and enjoy the season.
No. 1 – Prioritize Your Sleep
Sleep directly impacts every system in your body and if you are sleep deprived, your body will not be able to function optimally. This includes how well you are able to handle stress, and how you recover from it.
Without a good night’s rest, you can’t realistically expect your body to accomplish each and every task to its full ability.
In order to set yourself up for the potentially stressful times, it’s very important that you get your rest. Adequate sleep helps to support the adrenal glands and the immune system, both of which you’ll naturally rely on during this festive time of year.
Turn off t.v and mobile phone screens, grab yourself a good book, sip a calming bedtime tea and ease yourself into a good night’s sleep. Getting yourself into a good night time routine will be a saviour for you.
If you just power on through, you’ll likely find yourself over-stressed, cranky and reactive to situations you’d otherwise sail through. See my previous blog on sleep here.
No. 2 – Prioritise Daily Self-Care and You-Time
The most important time to practice self-care and take a timeout is when you find you’re too busy and too stressed to take the time. This is when you really need it.
It’s important to take time for yourself and relax your body and your mind, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. This extra time to check in with yourself, take a deep breath and a step back from what’s going on can change the way you react to a situation, and ultimately the way you handle it.
Take for example the cat breaking a tree ornament. If you’re stressing out and running from job to job or place to place, you may find your reaction to a situation like this throws you into a frenzy. With a little perspective, and when you’re not in an overly stressed, highly reactive state, you’ll be able to see this isn’t worth your time or energy to get overly stressed about.
For the health of your entire body, I encourage you to find something brings you joy and aids you in some kind of relaxation. As a reward for keeping your peace, you’ll find you’ll likely be able to handle situations better and with more ease, sleep better, and even fight off illness easier.
Here are a few ways to add daily self-care into your life:
– Add magnesium-rich Epsom salts to a bath (or foot bath if you are without a bath) or rub magnesium oil into the soles of your feet. Magnesium is well known to aid in muscle relaxing, sleep improvement, mood boosting and overall relaxation.
– Make time to read that book you’ve had on your ‘to read’ list, or use this time to start that knitting/painting/drawing project you’ve wanted to do for so long but never ‘had’ the time.
– Take the time out to drink a calming tea or medicinal mushroom brew.
– Try listening to soothing music, whether at home, at work, in the car or on the bus.
– How about learning the power of no and learning to prioritise yourself and turn down invitations that interfere with your ability to maintain balance?
It’s better to invest your time and energy in things that bring you joy, rather than having your energy zapped and time wasted for the sake of not wanting to say no.
Choose wisely and you’ll find you’re able to enjoy each event, rather than feeling wiped out and stretched in too many directions.
Taking time for self-care is one of the most rewarding things you can do to reduce stress on your emotional and physical well-being, especially during this time of year.
If you think you don’t have time, schedule this time into your day like any other important task so it doesn’t get overlooked. Make the time. You can’t pour from an empty cup after all.
No. 3 – Exercise Daily
Exercise is great at reducing stress and improving our mood, and so I encourage you to boost that circulation by finding a form of activity that you enjoy, whether it be walking, jogging, yoga, swimming, dancing, hitting the gym, knocking out a home-YouTube video or joining a team sport, and do it regularly.
You’ll release those wonderful feel-good endorphins, boost your wellbeing and mood, improve blood flow to your whole body, and unwind from the stresses of life. You’ll be grateful for the energy release and mind-clearing effects it brings.
An extra bonus is if you can get some fresh air and sunshine in there too. Try a coastal walk, forest walk, outside jog or simply play outside with the kids or the dog. Anything to get you out and about is a plus.
No. 4 – Tend To Your Gut
Ensure you’re tending to your gut health with fermented foods, prebiotics, and probiotics. After all, a happy gut is one of the first steps to a happy and healthy body. If you want abundant energy to get all those tasks accomplished, to be in a good mood for all those parties and be accompanied by glowing skin, then your digestive system must be tended to regularly.
Plus, if you want to be able to digest all those extra festive foods, a healthy gut is a good place to start!
Try boosting your levels with probiotic-rich foods like fermenting veggies like sauerkraut (see my blog here on the benefits of fermented veggies), kimchi, pickles, yoghurt, kefir, tempeh etc. or supplementing with high-quality supplements like Udo’s Super 8.
For more info on the difference between prebiotics and probiotics, see my blog here.
No. 5 – Keep Your Blood Sugars Balanced and Eat Wholesome Foods
You might be tempted to chug back mugs and mugs of coffee and throw in a muffin or two to keep going, but I strongly urge you to take an alternative route, which offers far more health and energy benefiting option, especially over the long term.
Chugging back the caffeine and sugar will cause a blood sugar imbalance and the outcome? Well, how about a nice dose of insatiable hunger, cravings, moodiness, irritability, poor concentration, grogginess, tiredness and weight gain?
Not quite what you were after no? I didn’t think so.
Instead, can I interest you in the feelings of being awake, energised, clear-headed, productive, happy, have cravings under control, and the ability to sleep well? Ithought that might sound more appealing 🙂
For advice on how to keep your energy and blood sugar levels balanced, have an eyeball over my previous blog here.
No. 6 – Take Adaptogenic Herbs
Adaptogens are herbs or botanical substances that help to balance the body’s physiological systems (such as the adrenals and nervous system) to better adapt to internal and external stressors. These can include environmental toxins and pollution, stress, poor sleeping habits, insomnia, anxiety, extreme nervousness or depression to name a few.
These adaptogens calm and nourish the adrenal glands and support all the processes that are controlled by the adrenals — from blood sugar and immune system regulation to hormones and blood pressure.
Adaptogenic herbs help build up the body’s strength and resilience against stress and are a great way to help support your body from the inside.
Have a read over my previous blogs covering just some of the adaptogens available:
What’s the Scoop on: Reishi Mushrooms
What’s the Scoop on: Chaga Mushroom
What’s the Scoop on: Maca
What’s The Scoop On: Ashwagandha
Other adaptogenic herbs to look into include Rhodiola and holy basil.
You can take them separately or combine them. Because we’re all unique, I would encourage you to experiment with what makes you feel best.
No. 7 – Practice Mindfulness / Meditation
Meditation has wonderfully positive effects on the brain and can help to dramatically reduce stress, anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate, as well as promote productivity, improve focus and encourage deeper relaxation and restful sleep.
To help keep yourself stress-free over the holiday period, I strongly recommend you taking an eyeball over my previous two blogs on mediation and try to add this practice into your daily routine.
I hope these tips help you to stay calm and nip that holiday stress in the bud once and for all 🙂
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*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication