The holiday stresses are very real, whether it is from house guests and holiday cards to office parties and year end reports. If you are not paying attention to the stresses, it can really catch up to you. In order to recover from the season, I recommend these 5 natural stress relief techniques to help you manage your post-holiday stress before it gets out of control.
My first priority for dealing with post holiday stress is sleep. With so many activities throughout the holidays, we tend to burn the candle at both ends, while sacrificing sleep. When you do not get enough sleep, you will feel irritable and be in a foul mood. Studies show that sleep deprivation can induce stress, reduce impulse control, cause weight gain and decrease your immune system’s ability to ward off illnesses. In one sleep study, when sleep was restricted to four hours a night over the course of six, consecutive nights, the body’s ability to metabolize glucose fell by one third. This would mean that it is easier to put on weight when you are sleep deprived. Other sleep studies discovered those who have only 4 to 6 hours of sleep over 14 consecutive nights would suffer impaired alertness and decreased cognitive performance. Lastly, studies have revealed that sleep can negatively impact the immune system, while increasing pain and inflammation within the body.
The second priority is to make time for you. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of extra tasks and hassles that come with the holidays. As such, you should make it a priority to take a little time for yourself to sit quietly, relax and recharge. You can try a simple breathing exercise or even a simple 5-minute meditation. Some people do say that this is a waste of time – I believe that taking brief time outs can make you more effective and efficient at your tasks as you are not as frazzled as you normally would be. There are other ways to help your body and mind release tension, and this includes listening to your favourite music, or just stretching tense muscles in your body.
The third option to relieve stress is to get your body moving. Exercise has always been known as a natural stress reliever. Research shows that physical activity offers a wide range of benefits, from increasing your endorphins, reducing your tension, boosting your immune system and stimulating your metabolism. However, exercise does not have to be the ‘dreaded gym workout.’ Ideally, it would be great to find something you enjoy doing and stick with it – perhaps it could be to take a walk through the forest with a good friend; it could be snowshoeing in the mountains; it could be joining a new cycle fit class or yoga class. Any of these activities to get your body moving will help you reduce the January stress.
I truly believe in tip number 4 – to give your immune system a boost with a Vitamin Intravenous drip. It is pretty common to get sick during or right after the holidays and nothing makes managing stress and anxiety worse than getting sick. You want to make sure your holiday health is as heathy as can be by ensuring your immune system is ready to fight off anything that comes your way. During the holidays, your digestive tract had trouble getting the important vitamins and minerals your body needs. An intravenous vitamin drip delivers concentrated nutrients directly into your blood stream. These nutrients can help reduce stress, boost your mood, improve sleep quality and stimulate the immune system to ward off a cold and flu
Lastly, there are supplements I believe you should take supplements to help tie you through the stress. There are a few favourite supplements I like using for stress. The first supplement is a B complex. B vitamins help the body produce energy, elevate mood and create healthy hormones – overall, it helps support mental health. The second supplement is Magnesium – it is used in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Magnesium is important for the contraction and relaxation of muscles, for energy production and for proper nerve function. I believe that many people do not get adequate amounts of Magnesium in their diet, and they should use it as a supplement during times of stress. The third supplement would be herbal supplements for stress, such as Rhodiola and Astragalus. They help the body “adapt” to both internal and external stresses as well as anxiety - it also helps promote mental clarity, fights fatigue, provide energy and helps with overall well being. The last supplement would be the use of topical essential oils to be used in a warm bath. Examples of essential oils for relieving stress would be lavender, patchouli, geranium and Roman chamomile.
And there you have it – my top 5 recommended natural stress relief techniques I suggest to patients to help manage your post holiday stress before it gets out of control. I hope this article gives you some practical strategies and natural healing techniques to help you find peace and joy in this year’s holiday season.
Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram, N.D.