In this guest post, Naturopathic Doctor Angela Hunt shares 5 great ways to keep stress out of your holiday celebrations! To get more great content from health experts make sure to sign up for our e-newsletter here.
Post-holiday season, usually around mid-January, I have patients coming into my clinic showing signs of extreme fatigue and exhaustion. They sigh, “The holidays just wiped me out and I have no energy left”. Their immune systems are weak, they have gained a few extra pounds and barely have enough stamina to put the holiday decorations away. Sound familiar? Avoid a holiday melt-down this year by following these simple pro-active suggestions.
1. Stay away from refined sugar. From grandma’s baked goods to the office Christmas party spread, refined sugar is sprinkled all over the holiday season. Candy canes, shortbread cookies, gingerbread houses – it’s not surprisingly most of us increase our sugar intake during this time. Excessive sugar consumption can overwhelm our liver, causing it to convert sugar into fat and increasing one's risk for diabetes, heart diseases and some cancers. Remember that one teaspoon of sugar is 4g and our daily intake shouldn’t be more than 24-36g/day. Most store-bought medium hot chocolates with marshmallows has 30g of sugar… just saying.
2. Stay active. Integrate physical activities as part of the holiday festivities this year. Make it a whole family affair by bundling up and going out for nature walks, cross country skiing, skating or sledding. Don’t let the snow and cold keep you inside, just 30 minutes of activity can have a multitude of health benefits.
3. Vitamin D.Fatigue, restless sleep, lowered immunity and poor concentration have all been linked to lower vitamin D levels. During the dark winter months our vitamin D levels can decrease, just in time for the holidays. Make sure you are keeping your levels in a healthy range by taking 2000-3000IU a day.
4. Instead of giving presents, be PRESENT. We can fantasize about what we want this “perfect” season to be. By building up this ideal “holiday picture” with everything from the beautiful tree and gourmet dinner to the roaring fire, we set up unrealistic expectations that can be impossible to meet. Exerting all of our energy trying to reach unattainable goals leaves us feeling disappointed and tired, with little energy left for our families. Instead, focus on spending time with those you love and leave the “picture perfect” holidays to hallmark.
5. Mighty stress busting plants – adaptogens: A phenomenal class of herbs that have been shown to modulate stress, reduce cortisol (stress hormone) and improve energy levels. Since we all interact differently to stress, finding the right adaptogen that works for you is important. Some of my favourites are Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, Ginsengs and Astragalus. Always check with your health care provider before trying new botanical medicines.
The most precious gift you can give this season is your time. Worry less about material things, holiday menus and the perfect light display. Joy is found in those we care about and the moments we spend with them. Happy Holidays!
By Dr. Angela Hunt ND @Sign up here!Don't forget, if you like this post get more like it straight to your inbox!