The holidays are amazing aren’t they?!
- Delicious food!
- Dinners with family!
- Spending time with friends!
- Festivities and exciting events all over the place!
There are so many amazing gifts that come with the holidays – the gift of time, of love, of joy, of spirit. And happiness!
Unfortunately the holidays aren’t always joy and happiness. They can also be incredibly stressful. Planning and attending ALL of the events, organizing gifts for friends and family, decorating inside your house AND outside your house… it can be a lot!
Fortunately there are some actions you can take to support your body through the holiday stress.
Five ways you can manage holiday stress
1. Manage your blood sugar to manage your stress response.
We’re going to be surrounded by sugar – in desserts like squares, truffles, chocolate, cookies, candy canes and more. While refined sugar isn’t something you should completely avoid – as I believe it’s healthy for your soul to really be in these moments. But know that the more refined sugar and refined carbohydrates we eat, the more out of balance our blood sugar will be, and the more our energy levels will spike and crash.
To stabilize your blood sugar, be sure to reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates and desserts you eat, and make sure you’re consuming a healthy fat and protein with each meal. If you’re feeling snackish, grab a few almonds instead of a couple cookies. Your blood sugar levels will be much more balanced throughout the day and you’ll experience fewer cravings. In this state, you’ll be better able to adapt to the craziness of the holidays and any stress you may encounter.
2. If you have food intolerances or sensitivities, consider bringing your own dish to a party.
With so many holiday parties and get-togethers, it can be stressful if you have particular food intolerances or sensitivities. What if the host of the party doesn’t have any food you can eat? What if you’re hungry and there are no options?
Instead of worrying about it, bring your own dish! You’ll be able to control all of the ingredients, and you’ll know that these foods haven’t come into contact with whatever ingredients you’re concerned about. Bonus: the person hosting the party will probably LOVE you for bringing something, since they’ve likely spent their whole day cooking in the kitchen!
3. Be mindful of alcohol.
That’s not to say you can’t responsibly enjoy a few drinks, but again – be mindful about what you’re drinking. Know that alcohol taxes your liver. If you drink alcohol, your liver process the alcohol before it processes anything else. This means any other toxins in your body – hormones, and other liver functions.
Alcohol also breaks down into sugar. We know that sugar is inflammatory in the body, and it can drain the body of essential vitamins and minerals. While we shouldn’t let this scare us from enjoying ourselves, be mindful about how much sugar you’ve been exposed to. If you have indulged, support your body in the way that it needs. These indulgences will simply add more stress to the body, so be aware of how you’re taking care of yourself.
4. Support your body with adrenal-nourishing nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C and B-complex vitamins.
Let’s start with magnesium. Magnesium is easily depleted from our system from sugar and refined carbohydrates. Over 60% of Canadians are already magnesium deficient, and then over the holidays we’re eating so much more desserts, chocolate and sweets than we might otherwise have in our lives! Supplementation with magnesium helps calm our bodies and support our nervous system in relaxing. This helps our body better manage stress.
Vitamin C is critical in creating cortisol, our stress hormone. Vitamin C supplementation is amazing to support the body in stress management, but it’s also great as an antioxidant to help fight free radicals and inflammation. We often see excess inflammation in those who are stressed, and even worse, sugar adds inflammation to the body.
The B-complex vitamins are incredibly key for supporting cortisol production but also energy production! They’re so critical for your stress hormones and managing your energy, and they’re one of my go-to’s for adrenal nourishing supplementation.
By supporting our body with these nutrients, we may be better able to handle stressful situations. We’ve given out body the raw materials that it needs in order to manage an appropriate stress response.
5. Get sufficient amount of sleep.
Your circadian rhythm is your natural sleep cycle. Your body wants to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every single day. Sufficient sleep supports your hormones, it allows for your body to clean up the metabolic waste from a day’s work, and it’s key for your body to reset itself. When we’re stressed out, our bodies actually need more sleep to offset that stress and help the body cope.
To improve your sleep, try to go to bed at the same time every night. Your body wants to stay in that circadian rhythm which helps keeping you sleeping well. Reduce exposure to screens or any blue light and EMF radiation about an hour before bed, so that your body creates the melatonin that you naturally should, in order to sleep. With better sleep comes better moods, and a better general disposition. You’ll be able to better manage any stress that comes your way over the holiday season.
So there you have it – five ways to manage stress over the holidays! Enjoy the food, enjoy the time with family, really allow yourself to enjoy and not feel guilty for indulging. Guilt doesn’t do anyone any favours, and it will definitely make your stress worse.
Instead, be mindful. If you’ve had a lot of sugar or dessert, be sure to support your body in the way you need. Support your body with nutrient-dense meals, supplementation, sleep and lots and lots of water. Your body already knows how to process these things, but with a little help you can get back to balanced even quicker.