Manage Your Stress This Holiday Season

Christmas holiday stress. Stressed woman shopping for gifts hold

According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of holiday is: a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.  Well, we all know too well, there’s plenty of work involved in preparing for the holidays.  Take the stress of shopping, deadlines, putting in extra hours at work, over-indulging, over extending the credit card, and the mother-in-law visiting.  Add all that to the rest of the stress that’s been accumulating over time, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for burnout.

Stress is an unavoidable part of our daily lives. A certain amount of stress is actually necessary for our survival; however, the amount of stress most people are under these days is causing more harm than good and can have serious health implications.

  • 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress.
  • 75%-90% of all medical visits are in some way related to stress.

Stress can really impact your health. Not only can it speed up the aging process but it can also leave you feeling exhausted and demotivated. It is also linked to a wide variety of health issues including:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Anxiety & Depression

Stress, no matter where it is coming from, disrupts your body’s internal balance, known as homeostasis. There are two different categories of stress: acute (short term) and chronic (long term). Acute stress occurs when, for example, you have to slam on the breaks in the car, someone scares you or you are running late.

Chronic stress is long lasting and is linked to serious side effects. Examples of chronic stress are taking care of a sick parent, feeling unhappy in your home life, enduring a long illness or a drawn out divorce.

When you feel stressed, your brain is affected. Your autonomic nervous system cannot tell the difference between physical and emotional stress, therefore, it reacts the same by secreting adrenaline & cortisol. Adrenaline keeps you alert by increasing your heart rate, blood pressure and quickly mobilizes energy reserves and cortisol works more slowly, helps to replenish energy supplies and readies immune system to handle any threat.

Our stress levels can often rise at this time of year for many reasons included financial and family issues. Here are my top tips to help you manage your stress this holiday season:

  1. Eat nutrient rich diet. Eat only the highest quality foods and stay away from junk and processed foods.
  2. Delegate some of the holiday chores, household and childcare responsibilities to other family members.
  3. Avoiding sugar and white flour products. Ironically, these are the foods that many stressed out people love to eat. Eating them in excess leads to hypoglycaemic symptoms (blood sugar highs and lows), which only aggravates your stress even more.
  4. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, which are stimulants, instead sit down, relax with a nice cup of homemade chai tea (recipe below)
  5. Manage your stress – through moderate exercise, meditation, yoga, time for yourself, and learning to balance your work and home life;
  6. Getting adequate rest.  Sleep in a room that is as dark and quiet as possible.
  7. Avoiding pollution, chemical, and pesticide exposure as much as possible.
  8. Replacing unpleasant, worrying and limiting thoughts with loving and liberating thoughts.
  9. Surrounding yourself with positive, loving people.
  10. Spend fifteen minutes a day doing something that brings you joy.
  11. Speak with your friendly nutritionist (aka me 🙂 ) who can guide you and make recommendations for dietary changes and nutritional supplements specific to your needs.

Chai Tea Recipe

6 cups water

3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

2 cinnamon sticks

1 ½ tsp anise seed

1 tbsp black peppercorns

60 cardamom pods

20 whole cloves

1 tsp coriander

12 black tea bags

½ cup raw honey

1 tablespoon molasses

1 ½ tbsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1.Pour the water into a large saucepan and turn on the heat to high. Add the ginger, cinnamon sticks, anise seed, peppercorn, cardamom pods, cloves and coriander. Bring this mixture to a boil and then simmer over medium heat for 20-30 minutes.

2.Remove from heat and add the honey, molasses, vanilla and lemon juice. Give a little stir andadd the tea bags. Let steep for about 10 minutes.

3.Pour the chai tea through a fine sieve or mesh into a large glass container with a pouring spout.Once the mixture has been strained, pour into 16 oz glass jars. You can keep the concentrate forabout a week in the fridge or in the freezer for a few months.

4.When you are ready for a cup of this tasty goodness, add the concentrate to milk of your choicein a ratio of 1:1 and enjoy! If you are using almond, coconut or rice milk, make sure you areusing the unsweetened version. Depending on your taste buds, you can play with the ratios toget a taste that you like best. Enjoy!


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