Reduce Holiday Stress
The holidays are an exciting time of year, but bring with them lots of stress. We hope that this list of tips helps you reduce your holiday stress!
Below are suggestions from our wellness office in Mississauga on how to have the best holiday season by reducing your holiday stress. There are lots of suggestions from our naturopathic doctors and chiropractors. Connect to our team of natural health care professionals to apply these approaches to your holidays!
A Naturopathic Holiday Survival Kit
Dr. Wyse presented suggestions & resources so that we can enjoy & delight in the (sometimes anxiety-ridden) holiday season! Here are the slides from the presentation on reducing holiday stress!
Holidays are a Time to Celebrate the light
Food during the holidays
Over the holiday we can savour and celebrate being nourished. Sometimes we overindulge over the holidays and if we are going to choose a time to do so – this is the time.
Just be aware of your limits and remember moderation.
Nourishment during the holidays
In order to truly feel nourished, choose foods that are full of vitality. Foods with the highest vitality are commonly those that are grown closest (local) to us without the use of pesticides (organic). Emphasize warm foods including soups & stews, root vegetables, beans, miso & seaweed, garlic & ginger.
Some examples of vital foods in the winter include:
- Bone broth & soup stock
Soup stocks made from organic bones are an important source of bone strengthening nutrients and minerals. Soup stocks are also very beneficial for healing the gut.
Soak & Sprout grains, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds
Soaking and sprouting increases the vitality of foods, enhances digestion and nutrient availability.
- Fermented Foods
Pickles, sauerkraut, miso, organic apple cider vinegar
Digestive Support during the holidays
Oftentimes during the holidays we can get “off our kibble” and our digestive systems can get off track. To assist in keeping ourselves healthy and regular we may include the following in our holiday kit:
- Digestive Enzymes
- Greens powder
- Flax seeds or Magnesium citrate
- Warming Aromatic herbs for tea: Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Cardamom
Common symptoms of Overindulgence include:
-Enjoy bitters before meals & carminative teas or digestives after meals.
-Keep digestive enzymes in you bag. They may be used in a pinch especially for those with food sensitivities.
-Ginger as a tea or as candied ginger in your bag.
-Ginger is also a useful herb for travel sickness.
Heartburn & Acid Reflux
-Bitters or apple cider vinegar in water before meals as a preventative.
-Filipendulla ulmaria (Meadowsweet), Matricaria chamomila (Chamomile), Glycerrhiza glabra (Licorice)
Bloating & Gas
-Enjoy carminative herbs: ginger, clove, fennel, cardamom teas. -Massage belly.
-Incorporate ground flax seeds into meals.
-Drink aloe vera juice or take Magnesium citrate before bed.
-Keep the liver functioning optimally by drinking warm water with lemon on waking.
-Peppermint tea pr peppermint EO massaged around the head can be cooling.
-Keep hydrated, drink plenty of water. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Uva ursi tea), Unsweetened cranberry juice, probiotics, D-mannose
Sluggishness & Lethargy
-Try to avoid reaching for coffee. Get outside for some fresh air & exercise. Adaptogens like Panax quinquefolius (N. American ginseng)
Immune System Support
- Cook with Shiatake mushroom
- Make Chaga tea (Inonotus obliquus)
Antioxidant, Betulinic acid
- Involved in digestion & metabolism including carbohydrate digestion and phosphorous metabolism
- Essential for general growth and proper development of the reproductive organs and prostate gland function
- Prevents acne and controls the function of the oil glands.
- Aids in synthesis of protein & collagen formation, promotes a healthy immune system, aids in wound healing and allows for enhanced vision, taste & smell
- A component of insulin and many vital enzymes
Signs of Deficiency: slow growth, delayed sexual maturity, prolonged healing of wounds, diminished taste or smell, brittle and thin nails, acne, fatigue, hair loss, high cholesterol, poor night vision, impotence, increased susceptibility to infection, infertility, poor memory, propensity for diabetes, prostate problems, poor appetite, recurrent cold & flus, skin lesions
Increased need for zinc: alcohol consumption, smoking, physical & mental stress, fatigue, susceptibility to infection & injury
Zinc Tally Test for deficiency
From: Paul Bergner. Healing Power of Minerals. 1997
FAMILY & FRIENDS during the holidays
Holidays provide us with the opportunity to gather with friends & family to reflect on our many blessings.
We may even wish to welcome those without family to gather together or to accept an invitation for a holiday celebration.
- Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “perfect family” nor “perfect holiday”. We can cultivate and bring patience, calm & love to events.
- It is okay to say no and set boundaries for yourself.
- Remember to BREATHE.
HUGS are a great way to spread LOVE.
Word “hug” from Old Norse: “to comfort”
Hugs are also a good way of not spreading germs. If we choose to shake hands be sure to wash our hands regularly with soap & water. The majority of hand sanitizers (Triclosan) is toxic. L
Hugs actually boost happiness levels and are the fastest way to get the love hormone, Oxytocin flowing in our bodies.
-Lower blood pressure
-Lower cortisol levels
-Augment our sense of well being as we feel an expanded social connection
- 1 cup Chaga tea/coffee
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp. grassfed butter
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or 1 Tbsp. MCT oil
- 1 Tbsp. Cacao powder, raw (optional)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Put all ingredients into a blender and whizz
For Social Anxiety during the holidays
– Piper methysticum (Kava kava)
For Sleep & Insomnia durng the holidays
Catnip, Chamomile, Passiflora, Valerian
Holidays are there for YOU to enjoy.
What is fun for you?
Celebrate by making time for your own self-care, time to NURTURE YOU.
Nurturing Yourself during the holidays
Connecting to your heart
- Pamper yourself
Book a massage, hair appointment, manicure/pedicure
- Spend Time in Nature
Connect with your environment, the trees, plants, animals, the air (wear leather soled shoes, if possible for grounding)
- Exercise & Move
Try to get on track with movement every day. Try walking, a yoga class or qigong
Wishing you many blessings as we celebrate holiday season, the light & our Sun.
Bergner, Paul. The Healing Power of Minerals. 1997
Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. 2008.
Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism. 2003.
Sheppard, Peter. Huey, Wallace. The Whole Person Handbook. Trans4mind: 2008.
Winston, David. Adaptogens. 2007
Redden, John. Viriditas Class notes. 2010
Pictures from Dr. Wyse’s presentation on December 8th 2016 at Goodness Me in Mississauga at 7 pm.
The holidays are an exciting time of year, but bring with them lots of stress. We hope that this list of tips helps you reduce your holiday stress!
Physical – Emotional connection to holiday stress
Emotional stress is linked to colds and flu as well as chronic diseases. You can often here this described as a mind-body connection. Often times I see patients experiencing major physical troubles when their emotional stress has been high. I usually refer to this as “a perfect storm”.
That is why we instruct patients about adopting a Chiropractic lifestyle, which is a mode of living that emphasizes disease prevention through healthy choices. Keeping an eye on stress is a major part of this lifestyle. Early signs of stress include irritability, fatigue, inability to relax or sleep, loss of appetite, or feeling overwhelmed. Don’t dismiss these alarm signals as “normal” feelings to be endured. Instead, make appropriate steps to support your body and life.
Check with the Chiropractor
During the holidays, make an appointment with a Chiropractor. Research shows that Chiropractic care reduces the impact of stress on your body and enhances immune function. Stress can also “twist up” the nerve system and create subluxations within your spine and nerve system.
Vertebral subluxation is a condition in which motion is limited in areas of the spine and the spinal segments (vertebrae) negatively impact the nerve system, making it difficult to get through the holidays..and life. A Chiropractic visit to check and adjust any subluxations during the holiday season will help empower your body naturally throughout the holidays.
Check with your Naturopath
During the holidays, make an appointment with a Naturopath. Our Mississauga Naturopathic Doctors can help you identify areas of stress that you may not think of. Once you can identify stress causing problems, it is much easier on you to reduce them!
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is important to keep the emotional stress from the holidays from impacting your health.
Less sugars, less saturated fats, more fruits and vegetables, more water. Make an effort to eat better this holiday season and it your body will thank you with a better ability to thrive through the busy season.
Burn off the stress!
Exercise reduces the production and effects of key stress hormones, such as cortisol.
Avoid Holiday Debt
Make efforts to avoid lingering and annoying “holiday Bills”. There is a financial aspect to health that will be impacted by your holiday spending habits. This can greatly impact the load of your stress.
Many people have unrealistic expectations for the holidays, particularly how family members will interact. This is a major source of holiday stress.
Allow yourself to be more flexible with your expectations and keep an open mind. The ability to adapt to changing plans and life events is a key aspect to reducing stress in life, and the holidays.
Keep it Simple and Be Organized
A big festive feast can be a tradition in many large groups, but doesn’t have to be done all by one person. Be organized, delegate duties, and share in the traditions.
It is ultimately important to appreciate life in the moment. This has a great impact on putting into perspective the things causing your stress.
Take a Break
If you are over stressed and your needs aren’t met, it won’t be long before your body comes to a halt. Make yourself a priority in your life and ensure that your needs are met. You will be better off caring for others when you allow yourself a break.
Have an excellent holiday season,
Erin Mills Optimum Health
Reduce Stress with a Chiropractic Adjustment
Stress can be seen and felt many ways. One that most people are aware of is their blood pressure and heart rate.
Did you know that a Chiropractic adjustment can impact your blood pressure and heart rate?
Interestingly, the spine has a large roll to play with your heart and blood pressure due to the nerves that travel through the spine and connect the brain, heart, and blood vessels. By adjusting the spine if it is in a state of stress (or vertebral subluxation), the stress can be lessened on the nerve system making it easier for the body to normalize the heart rate and blood pressure! Interesting! Read more below and ask your Chiropractor about this amazing information:
An activator adjustment was able to impact the blood pressure and pulse rate in this randomized controlled trial (RCT) research study. Amazingly, considering the health complications of high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, and the sole reliance on drugs to address the issue. Specifically addressing the thoracic spine or upper back in patients can make a positive impact on a patients’ health. This can help them become their naturally healthy self again!
– Dr. Callum Peever
“Objective: A randomized controlled trial (RCT) was designed to test effects of specific thoracic (T1 to T5) manipulations using an Activator instrument for changes in diastolic and systolic blood pressure, blood pressure classification, and pulse rates in 290 normotensive and hypertensive people in El Salvador.”
“Methods: They were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Control (i.e., no treatment, N=95); Placebo treatment (N=96); or Active treatment (N=99). Subjects’ blood pressure and pulse rates were measured after relaxing for 15 minutes, then before intervention, and again just after treatment.”
“Results: Systolic and Diastolic BP, pulse rate, and BP classification decreased significantly only in the active treatment group. No significant changes occurred in the placebo treatment and control groups. Activator treatment’s effect size in changing hypertension classification as compared to no treatment was a medium d=0.37, and 0.45 when compared to placebo.”
“Conclusion: Specific thoracic spinal manipulations affected three measures: blood pressure, pulse rate, and changes in hypertension classification only in the active treatment group. Findings may represent in part a rebound effect from treatment anxiety, but this alone did not count for the observations. Activator instrument’s utility for sham settings was supported for future efficacy studies. The decrease was robust across several analysis, but the duration of the effect requires longer-term follow up.”
“This randomized and controlled trial (RCT) was designed to explore the effects of upper thoracic (T1 to T5) spinal manipulation device on BP and PR changes in a random sample of patients with and without hypertension. The thoracic region includes innervation by the stellate ganglion that controls sympathetic innervation oh the heart. In addition, the trapezius muscle is innervated by the spinal thoracic nerve – a cranial nerve that shares neural connections to body regulation systems. Touch or stimulation of this upper thoracic region may affect the blood pressure for the reasons mentioned above.”
Discussion (by author)
“Previous studies showed a potential for a somatovisceral response from thoracic musculoskeletal stimulation and changes in blood pressure and pulse above anxiety relates responses. Specific thoracic (T1-T5) Activator manipulations appear to decrease systolic and diastolic BP and pulse rate. A recent literature review also reports spinal manipulative therapy lowering hypertension raw measurement and classification, as did an earlier chiropractic study in 1998 by Yates et al.”
“One mechanism is by sensing direct neural input via the pontomedullary reticular formation (PMRF) and contralateral intromediolateral cell column (IML), which would relax vasculature. Another is that fast muscle stretch from manipulation might rest blood pressure by decreasing sympathetic tone and the relaxing peripheral arteries innervated by the upper thoracic spinal nerves.”
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1988 Dec;11(6):484-8
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2012 Mar=Ap3:35(3):235-43
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Dr. Callum Peever is a Chiropractor in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health. He is a registered Chiropractor in Ontario and a member of College of Chiropractors of Ontario. He is also the Co-President and treasurer of the Halton Peel Chiropractic Society, Regional Director in Toronto for Activator Methods International, the past Director of the Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre Chiropractic Clinic, and a Clinical Instructor teaching the Activator Methods Chiropractic Technique to fellow Chiropractors.