Healthy Holiday Tips for a Stress-Less Season
Surefire strategies to reduce holiday stress, avoid weight gain and increase energy!
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’s a game plan to stay on track and avoid holiday weight gain:
- Don’t skip a nourishing protein-rich breakfast. For an on-the-go option that will keep you full for up to four hours, blend up a smoothie with pea and rice protein like Fat Flush Body Protein.
- Nibble guacamole or avocado wedges before a party to balance blood sugar and take the lid off cravings.
- Go for the nuts on the hors d’oeuvres table so you can fill up on smart fats first instead of sugar, refined carbs and dairy!
- At meals, eat protein first to shut off the brain’s hunger mechanism, followed by salads and veggies second, and small portions of carbs third.
- Splurge selectively, but don’t be afraid to shave off a bit of crust or whipped cream for huge calorie reduction!
Avoid Booze Blunders at Holiday Parties
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:
- Avoid highly caloric and sugar-laden sweet, fruity or creamy drinks and mixers.
- For a pure and healthy cocktail, try grain-free vodka with sparkling water and lime.
- Enjoy wine in small amounts, but don’t overdo. The high sugar content can lead to a yeast-feeding frenzy.
- At a holiday party it’s easy to drink more than you realize, so alternate drinks with a non-alcoholic beverage like sparkling water.
- Get your gut back in balance and avoid yeast overgrowth from fermented beverages with a probiotic like Flora-Key for a decrease in belly bloat and cravings.
Reduce Holiday Stress for Stronger Immunity
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:
- Keep calm and fortify your system against holiday stress by supplementing with magnesium. As the calming mineral, magnesium will relax your body, mind and muscles.
- Shorten your to-do list and set realistic expectations for yourself to keep a positive outlook. A Carnegie Mellon study showed that people with high positive emotion scores produce enough cytokine protein to help recruit other immune cells to fight off infections.
- Eat stress-reducing foods like avocados, almonds, raw carrots, leafy greens and pistachios.
- Boost energy and support your fatigued adrenal glands with Adrenal Formula.
- Optimize your immunity by supplementing with vitamin C, vitamin B complex and vitamin D3 and eating leafy greens loaded with flu-fighting phytonutrients.
Concentrate on Hydration
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 tips to maintain energy and keep your skin looking radiant all season long:
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of filtered water daily.
- Prepare your daily water intake in the morning and take it along so you’ll drink often.
- Limit coffee, tea and sodas which pull water from the body and can dehydrate.
Be a Stickler for R & R
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:
- Make time for sleep by “scheduling” a good night’s sleep into your day—just like you’d plan for a meal or social activity.
- Eat your last meal at least two hours before bedtime since metabolizing food can disrupt sleep.
- Unplug at least one hour before bed and turn off all blue-light emitting devices like cell phones, TVs and tablets.
- Turn in by 10 pm—sleep before midnight is proven to be the most regenerative!
- If you have trouble following asleep or sleeping through the night, try supplementing with 3mg of time-released melatonin to re-calibrate your body’s natural rhythm.
Get a Clear Head to Handle Holiday Stress
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:
- Honor your limits and say no, even to good things that could overtax and discourage you.
- Examine your expectations and stop trying to be perfect.
- Focus not so much on material things, but what really matters in life.
- Tend to the happiness and welfare of others and see how sadness melts away.
- Beat the holiday blues with Ultra H-3, the renowned anti-aging formula from Romania that helps to balance the brain for a better sense of wellbeing and enhanced mental clarity.
- Add omega-3s to your daily diet from flaxseed oil, fish oil, chia seeds or walnuts. A Finnish study showed that depression is linked to deficiency of these so-essential fatty acids.
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.