Holidays are a time for spending time with family and friends, spreading joy and giving back to the community. But sometimes the season can also bring tension, worry or anxiety about holiday expectations and obligations. Start practicing these healthy habits that can help minimize holiday stress–and keep them up throughout the year!
The Basics: Sleep, eat, exercise, repeat
Reserve enough time for sleeping. Without adequate sleep, our perception of stress is blown out of proportion. Keep lavender spray by your bed to promote a relaxing environment, or even add a couple drops of lavender essential oil under your pillow at night.
Try to fuel yourself with healthful foods, rather than grabbing the carb-heavy, sugar-filled foods that we often gravitate towards in times of stress. Nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables provide the building blocks for the important neurotransmitters and hormones we need to deal with stress.
Don’t forget to continue your regular exercise routine. Exercise produces endorphins that ward off negative feelings while keeping us mentally centered and grounded.
Breathe in, breathe out
When you find yourself getting worked up, try to focus on your breathing. Inhale for 5 seconds, followed by a 5-second exhale, and repeat. The goal is not to bring more oxygen in, but to slow your breathing.
For added benefit, consider using an essential oil diffuser filled with lavender, rose or clary sage. These are especially helpful while practicing breathing exercises or meditation at home.
Take your vitamins
If you’re not already taking a B-complex, consider starting one. In times of stress, B vitamins are often depleted, so replenishing your body’s resources is important. There are even B-complex formulas specifically designed to help you deal with stress.
Another supplement to try: magnesium. Whether consumed in a powder or capsule form, magnesium helps us to calm down and release the tension stored in our muscles. Drink a warm cup of magnesium “tea” at night for the added benefit of a good night’s sleep!
Lastly, vitamin D is a great way to support energy production, immune and bone health, and help prevent seasonal-related mood issues.
Utilize support herbs
Adaptogenic herbs can help your body adapt to stress, and support positive responses to stressors. Some adaptogens include ashwaghandha, rhodiola, holy basil and maca. Purchase these herbs in capsule, tincture or tea forms, as a single herb or a combination product.
If stress has you feeling excessively worried and anxious, reach for nervine herbs. These work with your central nervous system to calm you down and restore emotional balance. Look for nervines such as lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap and chamomile.
As always, certain medications may interact with some herbs. Make sure to check with a health care professional before beginning a new product with potential interactions.
Stop in to the Madison Park Pharmaca and check out products that can help you deal with the stress of the holiday season and throughout the year. Our helpful staff can direct you to the items that work best for your individual needs. Happy holidays!