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Thanksgiving and the winter holidays bring the seasonal beauty of nature, creative offerings from friends, festive celebrations and the comfort of family. We are best suited to deeply enjoy the good things of the season when we feel our best and can maintain good energy and a consistent state of wellness.
Life experience has taught us that holiday stress can also mean financial worries, emotional challenges and crushing fatigue. Despite unexpected events beyond our control, with good information and thoughtful planning, we can successfully navigate this most “wonderful time of the year” for a healthy holiday!
So, let’s start with the food and calorie challenges that pervade the holiday party season with tantalizing temptations. Non-stop revelry from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve is a psychological inducement to break every rule for healthy holiday eating and weight management. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are our healthy holiday eating tips to help you stay on track and avoid holiday weight gain:
Overindulging during the holidays isn’t hard to do. But, the morning-after hangover is only the beginning of the drink-induced holiday stress every organ and system in the body endures. Fermented alcohol turns to sugar in the blood and systemic imbalance follows, especially after overindulgence. Women metabolize alcohol at half the rate that men do. Here are important tips to drink responsibly amidst holiday stress:
The holiday season coincides with the winter cold and flu season. The physical and emotional stress so prevalent this time of year can lower immunity when you need it most. An overabundance of the major stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline eventually take a toll on the body. Follow these guidelines to reduce holiday stress and its toxic ramifications, which include heart abnormalities, skin conditions, digestive disorders and viruses:
Staying hydrated can easily be overlooked, especially during lengthy holiday shopping excursions and airplane travel. Every cell, tissue and organ in the body depends upon water to function properly. Water keeps the heart beating, maintains body temperature, lubricates the joints and removes waste. Water is especially vital for the brain which is comprised of 75% water. Studies show that even 2% dehydration can degrade cognitive functions, motor skills, alertness, memory and mood. Adequate water is also critical for avoiding fatigue and unwanted weight gain, especially during the holidays! Use these hydration tips to maintain energy and keep your skin looking radiant all season long:
Holiday shopping, entertaining, traveling, hosting visitors, along with regular chores add up to a hectic pace. Many people become dangerously sleep-deprived during the holidays. A truly well-rested and refreshed body in the morning is a key to having more fun, motivation and energy to combast holiday stress. Try these simple tips to stack more ZZZs:
Many people report emotional numbness, loneliness or depression during the holidays. A percentage of these complaints may be due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which stems from lack of sunlight during short winter days. SAD can be treated by long walks during daylight hours or exposure to a light box for about 30 minutes a day. Supplementing with 1000-2000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily is also crucial when sunlight is minimal.
Depression is a common symptom of low thyroid and other hormonal imbalances. If your low moods are accompanied by fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, unexplained weight gain, migraines, muscle and joint pain, PMS or hot flashes, it could be time to search for underlying hormonal causes. Here are other time-honored techniques for staving off the holiday blues:
Holiday season imperatives can seem overwhelming, but small changes in how we handle challenges can make a big difference in handling holiday stress. Taking time each day to relax and meditate will soothe and nurture the soul. Heeding our inner voice can calm us and affirm our birthright to spiritual, emotional and mental well-being, no matter how frantic the world around us. Balancing the way we care for our bodies and the way we organize our minds towards the positive and hopeful can ensure that we thrive during the holidays as well as all other seasons of the year.