Unfortunately, for many of us, stress is an uninvited guest during the holidays. It can be hard to balance the the normal, day-to-day duties on top of planning social engagements, looking for the perfect gifts, baking, menu planning, and hosting family from out of town. I think we can all agree that the financial aspect of our holiday causes stress as well.
Managing Holiday Stress
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Drink enough water. This is about half your weight in ounces: 180 lbs = 90 oz of water per day
- Eat plenty of nutrient dense foods.
- Take a moment to slow down for some deep breaths during a stressful time.
- Make to do lists to organize your thoughts.
- Be realistic about making commitments.
- Make sure to have a way that you let go of stress: exercise, music, art, journaling, gardening, etc.
There are also many ways of supporting yourself with the use of medicinal herbs. There is a classification of herbs called nervines. These are plants that help to support your nervous system. Chamomile, skullcap, oat straw, and hops are some examples of nervines that can be drank as tea or taken in the form of liquid extracts or tinctures to bring about a sense of calm when you’re feeling frazzled. They are not sedatives, so most people can use them during the day as needed.
My favorite classification of herbs is adaptogens. These are plants that reduce the way that stress affects us physically by supporting proper functioning of body systems. This sounds pretty amazing because it is! They have anti-inflammatory properties, they support the endocrine (hormonal) system, the nervous system, the digestive system, and can help to lift spirits. Adaptogens can build stamina and endurance and can support our immune systems. You can see why I love them so much!
Effects of Stress on the Body
- Muscle tension doesn’t allow for proper circulation of blood and oxygen into our tissues. This is important for the removal of toxins and it could leave us feeling tired and lethargic.
- Digestion is negatively impacted meaning we aren’t absorbing our nutrients as effectively. This can lead to more serious problems like acid reflux, gas, bloating, or constipation.
- People who are often under stress show a suppression of immune system function. This means that they might pick up viruses more easily or have a hard time recovering once they get sick.
- Stress over stimulates the nervous system which can create feelings of restlessness, hyperactivity, or anxiety.
There are many herbs that fall under this category: ashwagandha, the many forms of ginseng, eleuthero, holy basil, maca, and rhodiola to name a few. These plants not only have generations of use by cultures around the world, but they have also been extensively studied throughout recent years.
While there are not many ways to make the wrong choice when it comes to adaptogens (unless you are taking prescription medications), there are ways to make the right choice. As a part of the physical exam that I do for clients, I have ways of testing the impact that stress is having on the endocrine (hormonal) system. I can also determine which herb, or combination of herbs, is going to be most helpful to that person, as an individual. This is very helpful in creating a successful protocol for someone.
Adaptogens such as ginseng, eleuthero, holy basil, maca, and rhodiola can build stamina and endurance and help support our immune systems.
— China Rose
So, I hope you have a fantastic, fun, stress-free, and healthy holiday season with the help of some of these tips. Let me know if you have further questions.
*It is important to work with a health care practitioner who has experience with medicinal herbs if you are taking medication, have a chronic illness, or you are pregnant or breastfeeding.