I think many of us have to think really long and hard to envision a more persistently stressful time of year than the holidays. Our already hectic daily schedules suddenly swell to include another layer of expectations and deadlines. Easing the self-induced pressure on ourselves is important because the connection between stress and illness is very real.
Researchers continue to attest that people who live in a constant state of stress are more susceptible to illnesses, disorders to the digestive tract and immune system, and diseases like anxiety, depression and insomnia. Stress can also cause noticeable physical changes, like premature wrinkling, graying and weight gain.
Learning how to manage stress and educating ourselves on how to remain in a calm
and relaxed state is essential to our long-term health and survival. During the
holidays, stress is higher than at any other time of the year, but with some practical
tools we can minimize the stress that accompanies them. Here are some methods that
I’m hoping will help alleviate the stress and may even allow you to enjoy the holidays
more than you thought possible.
TIPS TO PREVENT HOLIDAY STRESS:
* Take a Vitamin D Supplement: Sunlight is our best source of Vitamin D. But during
this time of year when the days are shorter, most of us spend peak sunlight hours
at work. Consequently, our Vitamin D levels during the winter months are deficient. Because
Vitamin D levels are linked to melatonin levels, which affect your appetite, alertness,
and mood, taking a Vitamin D supplement can be particularly beneficial.
* Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No” to Extra Obligations: Plan ahead and set your priorities.
Two holiday parties in one weekend didn’t seem like too much when your cubicle
neighbor more or less guilted you into “stopping by” his party, but now the unexpected commitment
has created more misery than merriment. Don’t feel obligated to attend every function
you’re asked to attend.
* Don’t Abandon Healthy Habits: Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all.
Overindulgence will only add to your stress and guilt. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical
activity. And, remember, everything in moderation.
* Put Yourself On The List: Remember to take time for yourself. Try an activity
like yoga, which reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and
restoring inner calm. Spending time alone doing things you enjoy doing may refresh
you enough to tackle the rest of the things on your list.
Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent
elevated stress during the holidays. With a little planning and some proactive
thinking, you too can indulge in comfort and joy! Stop by the pharmacy to talk to us about
holiday wellness strategies to address your specific needs.