All I have to do is hear the word holiday or look at the calendar to see how close the holiday's are and my heart starts to race. So much to get done! I put so much pressure on myself to make things perfect that it is hard not to get stressed out. Plus, I work full-time with a really long commute so that doesn't help the situation. From meal-planning, to parties, to decorating the house, and shopping for gifts, how will it all get done?
But stressing about the holidays is actually really bad for your health. And it makes the time when things should be enjoyable dreaded. Stress affects the body in ways you may not notice right away. In fact, when stress is a constant part of your life it can lead to disease. Our bodies want to be healthy and will fight their hardest against the affects of stress.
Physical signs of stress can be a racing heart, insomnia, feeling sad, low energy and frequent colds. Your body will try to fight these stresses by constantly attacking the areas that are stressed. If your heart is racing, the cardiovascular system will try to slow it down. If you are feeling sad, your body will send energy to the cells to overcome the sadness. When your body is working this hard to combat stress, it becomes fatigued. When your body is fatigued, it cannot effectively fight for you to be healthy and stay healthy.
So what can you do to support your body to help fight stress? Here is what you can do to beat holiday stress:
1) Get moving. Our bodies want to be active to help generate energy at a cellular level. We were never meant to sit at a desk 8 to 10 hours (or more) a day. We were never meant to sit in cars in traffic for hours on end. We were never meant to live sedentary lives in front of computers or TV's. We were meant to move. This doesn't mean going to a fitness club or taking expensive exercise classes. You can if you want but moving your body can be as simple as taking a 30 minute walk or bike ride. You get fresh air and your body gets energy to fight stress. Already have a workout routine? Don't let the holiday's derail your routine. Now is the time to stick to your workout schedule. If you haven't been exercising in awhile, make sure to check with your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to exercise. There are also a lot of free workout classes on YouTube. Find one that is interesting to you and try it!
Zumba Dancer Workout for Beginners
Beginner Fat Burning Workout Morning Workout
32 Minute Home Cardio Workout with No Equipment
2) Eat organic and eat mostly plants. Organic food is higher in nutrients which means you will feel full faster and longer. Eating mostly plants does not mean you have to become a vegetarian or vegan. Try having a meatless dinner once a week. Another favorite trick of mine is to avoid rice or pasta as a side dish. Serve two veggies instead. This will help you get a lot of great vitamins, minerals and nutrients such as chlorophyll into your body. Your body will thank you for this by taking all those nutrients and generating energy at the cellular level. Your cells will fight for you to be healthy and stay healthy. Not sure how to make a meatless meal? Below are some easy recipes to try:
Roasted Cauliflower Enchilada's from Gimme Some Oven
Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joe's from Stacy Homemaker
Crustless Spinach Cheese Pie from Low Carb Yum
Vegan Jambalaya from The Stingy Vegan
3) Take vitamins and supplements. While eating organic helps you avoid chemicals and pesticides which causes your body to be fatigued, you can't get enough vitamins and nutrients from food alone. This is where taking additional supplements will help your body get the key nutrients they need. The supplements to consider taking are:
Vitamin D 1,000 IU. I like Kirkland Signature, the Costco private label brand.
Probiotic 3-5 Billion CFUs (colony forming units) consisting of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. These are the most common strains in our body. The Whole Foods brand 365 is a good supplement to take.
CoQ10 200-600mg. I like TruNature, the Costco private label brand.
Quercitin 500mg, take 30 minutes before eating. It helps to reduce histamine reactions in the body.
Ashwaghanda, 1/2 tsp daily, I like TerraSoul
Collagen Powder, 2 scoops daily, I like Physician's Choice
As with any new routine, make sure to check with your doctor as you consider adding supplements to your routine. This will ensure if you are taking medications or have a health condition, that you won't be taking anything that may not work for your body.
4) Take time for yourself. During the holiday's is really the time you need to allocate time for yourself. I know this is really hard to do! Taking care of others and working hard to make the holiday's great memories is exhausting. So schedule "me time" and do something that makes "me time" special for you. Maybe try deep breathing for 5 minutes or take a yoga class or take a hot bath or go for a walk or take some time to read. Whatever makes you rejuvenated and relaxed, now is the time to really focus on you. It will make your holiday's even better!
I hope this post will help you enjoy a holiday season that is less stressful. It may be hard to forget to do the above so write yourself a reminder and place it somewhere you will see it everyday. Post it to the refrigerator, write it as a daily reminder on your calendar, or put the list by your bedside so you see it when you wake up or go to sleep everyday.
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