Balancing Holiday Stress for a Healthy New Year
The holiday season is well underway and now more than ever is a great time to focus on health. This time of the year may bring on feelings of increased pressure, both physically, due to the seasonal change, but also emotionally as holidays can exacerbate discord. These imbalances are often referred to as “stress.” Stress can go by many names and present as various symptoms. An imbalance between the good and bad types of stress can influence health outcomes like sleep quality, weight, and the ability of the body to defend itself from infections. There are many natural ways to support a healthy balance of stress and keep the body in harmony with the changing seasons.
Healthy Stress in Annapolis
One way we support a healthy stress response is with adaptogens. These are plants and their compounds that “cause a non-specific response, ie an increase in resistance to several stress factors, including physical, chemical and biological factors (Brekhman, 1969).” That means, plants pass on their ability to cope with stress. Plants like ginseng or schisandra berry, that grow wild on hillsides or in extreme temperatures must build their stress response to survive the growing conditions and thrive. When humans consume these plants over time, the resiliency to stress is passed on. This resiliency (xenohormesis) has been shown to support the humans consuming the plants both emotionally and physically. This can present as improved sleep quality, increased sense of calm, decreased fatigue or burnout, as well as healthy immune function. Typically taking a few days to a few weeks for full impact, the effects are mild, but noticeable with consistent intake.
Consistency is also key in other forms of stress management. Many individuals find the holidays throw off their regular rhythms. This could mean sleep, exercise, or eating patterns that typically support health become erratic which can create more feelings of stress or imbalance. Sometimes “food guilt” or “catching up on sleep” are areas of concern after the commencement of the holiday season. Preparing in advance and being mindful can support a season of feeling more relaxed and in control. This may take the form of declining events or modifying food intake to ensure that emotional and physical well-being are taken into consideration. Instead of feeling guilt or exhaustion, practice self-care and forgiveness. Being aware of patterns and habits, without judgment can help support long term health goals and realign the patterns of daily life again. This year, make sure to set an intention for proper sleep, hydration, and nutrition to help maintain healthy stress levels through the holidays.
Adaptogens, mindfulness, and consistent habits
Adaptogens, mindfulness, and consistent habits can support a less stressful holiday season. If you are interested in trying adaptogens visit our website’s marketplace and review our recommended products. For more help learning how to support a healthy, stress-free holiday call our office to get more information on our services and testing.