With the holidays right around the corner there are parties to attend, meals to cook, gifts to buy and halls to deck. All of these wonderful details can lead to an abundance of stress during November and December, which, without proper management, can lead to an increase in colds, sleep deprivation and fatigue.
The body is made to handle short bursts of stress, such as Cavemen who ran from a dinosaur or had to kill their dinner. The longer, sustained stress that is very common in our face-paced society has a tendency to wear out the small adrenal glands that supply the body with the necessary hormones to manage stress appropriately.
When the adrenals are working during high stress they make an increased amount of cortisol which, over time, can produce symptoms of anxiety, difficulty sleeping and weight gain. After longer periods of stress the adrenal glands become weak and have difficulty keeping up with the demand of higher amounts of cortisol. In this case the body can have signs of decrease in energy, depressed moods and hair loss or thinning.
There are simple ways to prevent stress from having an adverse effect on your body. Here are some tips to help manage stress:
- Do NOT change your exercise routine. Moderate (not too intense) exercise helps relieve stress and is often what falls by the way side with stress. Exercise 5 days per week for 30 minutes for optimal stress release
- Eat 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. These foods are anti-inflammatory and will help decrease the overall amount of stress that on your body
- Breathe. Simple, but amazingly effective. Breathe in 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breathe out 4 seconds. Repeat 4 times in one setting, 4 times per day
- Take time to rest. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. If you have difficult falling or staying asleep talk to your health care provider for natural remedies to help with these symptoms.
- Set limits to how much you can take on in your life, creating boundaries around what would cause too much stress
- Decrease the amount of alcohol and caffeine in your diet as these can contribute to internal stress