5 Tips for Beating Holiday Pressure

It’s November 28th!  Only a few days until December and less than a month until Christmas. Is anyone starting to feel the pressure building? I am! I have my first holiday party to attend this weekend and am hosting a little neighbourhood cocktail party next weekend. Then there’s gift buying and getting the house cleaned and decorated. And, by Murphy’s Law, work always gets even busier at this time of year, exactly when I’d like it to wind down a little.

I thought it appropriate to talk about some ways to destress naturally and feel more energized over the holiday season.

holiday pressure

Here they are:

  1. Stay away from the sugary treats! We are surrounded by Christmas cookies, candy, chocolate and treats over the month of December so this is a tough one. But here’s what sugar does to your body: it raises your blood sugar, which then forces insulin to release in a higher than normal dose. You feel an energy high and then the crash. If you don’t eat again right away, your adrenal glands kick in with a rush of cortisol to get your blood sugar up again – your body is always trying to maintain a constant level. After a lot of sugar intake, it ends up on this rollercoaster of blood sugar ups and downs, causing energy highs and lows and mood swings. It also taxes your adrenal glands, which are supposed to help you manage the stress response.   So limit your treats and opt for the fruit tray instead.
  2. Eat a protein-rich breakfast – if you can just get your day started on the right foot, I promise you’ll feel better for the rest of the day. Getting some free-range organic eggs or a protein shake first thing in the morning will go far in helping you to maintain energy levels and reduce cravings for those sugary treats I mention above.
  3. Cut down on the caffeine and alcohol – caffeine and alcohol have similar effects as sugar on the body. Even if you don’t use any sugar in your coffee, it raises blood sugar, which is what causes the energy high. And then, similar to the process I described above, insulin kicks in to bring levels down, and the cortisol goes up. Opt for green tea (less caffeine), sparkling water, herbal teas or fresh pressed juice.
  4. Get the right kind of exercise – we often feel like getting out for a heavy cardio session after a night of overindulgence. But guess what heavy cardio does? Raises cortisol! The key to feeling less stressed is maintaining low levels of cortisol. December might be the time to try some yoga or take a gentle walk in the snow. This will not only bring cortisol levels down, it will ease your mind and reconnect you with your body.
  5. Try some essential oils – citrus oils, such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit are invigorating when you need that caffeine fix. Lavender has the opposite effect and can be used when feeling frazzled or before going to bed to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. doTERRA brand carries some wonderful blends of essential oils that relax and ground you or invigorate and refocus. A drop rubbed into the soles of the feet or the back of the neck can work wonders for alleviating stress.

Many of us turn to more coffee, extra glasses of wine and Advil to get through the hectic holidays and then end up feeling tired, cranky, sick and relieved when the holidays are over. Try these tips to ease the pressure naturally and feel better right through to the New Year!

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