Dr. Brenda’s Guide to Reducing Holiday Stress and Staying Healthy

15 November 2018
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While the bells are jingling and the gifts are being purchased, many people tend to hold an underlying stress throughout the festive season.

The increased stress load throughout the holidays can affect:

Your overall health
Your mental health
Your skin
Your stomach
Your sleep
Your Wallet (You know it’s true)

Stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes (the white blood cells that help fight off infection). The lower your lymphocyte level, the more at risk you are for viruses, including the common cold and cold sores. High stress levels can also cause depression and anxiety, leading to higher levels of inflammation. In the long-term, sustained, high levels of inflammation point to an overworked, over-tired immune system that can’t properly protect you. While the holidays are only a brief period of time, the body quickly jumps into this state of panic and can fall deep into the rabbit hole of feeling off.

Your kids will be out on winter break from school soon, family gatherings are on the calendar, the gift list is a mile long, forget trying to get enough food in the house to feed everyone. Somehow, it all falls on you to pull everything off without a hiccup. Perfect decorations, polished china, fluffy bows, and a tree worthy of a magazine cover – despite your sanity flying out of the window.

Take a breath.

You can do this – without the extreme stress.

Dr. Brenda’s Holiday Happiness Guide

Keeping yourself mentally balanced will help you work through stressors as they are presented to you. A mind at peace will be able to more clearly problem solve and enjoy the process.

If you are not one who enjoys the holidays due to the stress, consider removing the largest stressors from your plans. Cancel family plans, give giftcards instead of packages, curl up in PJ’s and order your meal to be delivered – and eat on paper plates. You will stay sane, happy, and healthier than forcing yourself to follow through with your typical holiday expectations.

Plan Ahead

Anything you can do weeks in advanced? Get it done. You want to already have the majority of your list crossed off before the rush of the season arrives.

Turn on Music or Podcasts

Have sounds in the background that keep your mind on positive things.

See Your Chiropractor

Being adjusted regularly can help reduce your stress levels.

Exercise

Find 20-30 minutes each day to burn extra calories, even if that means squatting while basting the turkey. Your exercise endorphins will help you stay happy.

Turn Off the Screens

Smart phones, TVs, pads, etc. all trigger the brain to feel inflamed, fatigued, and disrupted. Limit your exposure.

Utilize Services

You can have groceries delivered. You can order gifts online. You can schedule your calendar via voice command. Use these features to make your life easier.

Take Your Supplements

Keep your immune system ready to do battle by keeping on your regular supplement schedule, possibly increasing vitamin D and probiotics.

Laugh Often

Laugh with your loved ones throughout the day. Do silly things without holding back.

Rest

Try to get more sleep, but if that is not possible, just give yourself a timeout to regroup and refocus – or completely take your mind off of everything.

Have a Budget and a Plan

Most holiday stress revolves around finances and extended family. Take the time to put a budget in place and stick to it as best as you can. Hunt for gift deals, but don’t feel pressured to over-purchase.

When all else fails, walk away for 10 minutes. You can disappear into a bathroom, take a walk around the block with your dog, FaceTime your best friend across the country, or meditate. You always need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.