Over the years I have found that I can see in my patients eyes whether or not they are the kind of person that looks forward to the holidays or dread them. It’s not that they don’t like the season, or that they don’t appreciate holiday music in October, its simply that their schedule which already seems like its bursting at the seams, needs to somehow accommodate all the holiday activities. Children’s parties, work parties, school parties, acts of community service, decorating, shopping, all need to be incorporated into an already bustling life! How on earth is that going to happen?
For those of you who find all the extra hustle invigorating, thank you for filling in the gaps for those who find it more challenging. And for those who tend to shy away from any unnecessary activities during the last quarter of the year, know that there is help! Oftentimes, we are at the end of the first semester of school, all the year end work, reports, and quotas are due, the demands on our time are at a premium, and we just aren’t getting enough personal time. I call it RUNNING FROM THE BEAR.
The body does not know the difference between you actually running from a bear or you struggling to meet a deadline, or getting into a really big argument with a co-worker or friend for that matter.
The stress on the adrenal glands and bones, (yes, new research has shown that the skeletal system plays a role in releasing a hormone in response to stress) affects your ability to get deep sleep, have a healthy digestive system, maintain healthy blood pressure, focus on the task at hand, maintain a healthy immune system, and keep your cool during crucial decision making times.
So how do we support the body during this holiday season and convince it we are not really running from the bear? One way is to have a list of things we would like to accomplish during the week, and break it down to a daily list according to priority and deadline. By doing this we are more likely to avoid the anxiety of looming deadlines, we may feel more in control of the tasks at hand, and we will have given some forethought to the week so as to reduce the likelihood of surprises (which is really another word for added stress). If you don’t have a list at any other time of the year, this 2 month period is a good time to start.
Other great ways for reducing holiday stress are:
- Get plenty of sleep, ideally 7 to 8 hours per day, not per week!
- Eat healthy food, avoid deep fried stuff, sugar laden snacks, alcohol in excess.
- Listen to your body, if it says rest, then rest, if it says breathe, then breathe!
- Practice a daily meditation; focus on the positive things in your life.
Sometimes we need a little extra help besides our lifestyle hacks. While we may be doing everything we know to do, what if we still deal with mild anxiety, or insomnia, or an inability to focus on the tasks at hand. Maybe our blood pressure is creeping up for no apparent reason other than a little stress, (is that really a thing, a little stress?) Food is medicine, you’ve heard me say that often, and the most concentrated foods I know of are the whole food Standard Process and MediHerb supplements. By using concentrated whole food supplements and herbs instead of synthetic chemicals we are feeding the body what it needs to keep on going, even when we might be abusing it just a little!
Some examples of what you might need to feed your body through this stressful time are things like:
- Omega 3 fatty acids like Tuna or Cod Liver Oil, these act as anti inflammatory support.
- You can make sure your liver is doing a good job of metabolizing fats and reducing your likelihood of getting a fatty liver by taking a detox product like Livaplex or Milk Thistle.
- You can take Ginkgo for natural blood thinning and short term memory support. *Drink green tea to reduce oxidative stress instead of the caffeine rush of coffee.
- And most of all you can take some adrenal gland support in the form of Drenamin (food for the adrenal glands) or adaptogenic herbs such as Adrenal Complex or Ashwaganda Complex.
- You can drink chamomile tea for calming any time of the day and smell rosemary if your brain is feeling a little unfocused.
Taking care of yourself during these busy months is more important than any of the tasks you need to accomplish, because you are more valuable than any task!
Dr. Virginia S. Irby D.C.,DABCO, ACN
2371 Iron Point Rd. Ste. 130
Folsom, CA 95630