It's The Most....Stressful (?) Time of the Year
Holiday stress gotcha feeling grinchy? I read one statistic that most people are stressed by lack of time and/or money around the holidays, and anxiety and depression skyrocket during this supposedly jolly season. Well, first, make the decision to say "no," and not get wrapped up in the pressure to give (time, money, energy, all of it!) until you burst. Second, let's look at some very practical tips to keep you focused on what really matters during a season meant to celebrate love, joy, peace, and thankfulness.
1. Sleep! I know, I know...your mom told you a million times BUT it's so important I'm siding with Mom and saying it again. Discipline yourself to begin working towards a 9 or 10pm to 5 or 6am sleep cycle if you're not quite there yet. Some research has suggested that the (non-REM) hours of sleep you get before midnight are worth TWICE the hours slept after midnight--maybe that's where the term "beauty sleep" came in. I know I feel and look more alive when I stick to my 9-5:30 routine!
2. Hydrate! An easy goal to start with is 1/2 your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., then 75 oz. of water is a decent estimate of the amount of water you need per day (more to replace sweat lost by exercise, sauna, outdoor heat etc...) To clarify, that means plain water (at least 2/3 of your total fluid intake). Sparkling water and herbal tea have mild diuretic properties, so they don't quite hydrate the body like regular water. What kind of water you ask? Well the best you have available to start. Next month on social media we'll discuss different options for water filtration and other healthy gadgets.
3. Parasympathetic support--meaning STOP the "fight or flight" response that fuels anxiety, stress, and insomnia by balancing those high-intensity workouts, afternoon lattes, and late-night scrolling binges with some yoga or meditation. Forgotten how to relax? Join the club--supplements may come into play here if you need to be forced --er-- encouraged--to chill. Magnolia, passionflower, valerian, B6, magnesium, and L-theanine are just a few ideas to promote GABA production which helps promote relaxation in the body. Jump over to IG for some specific brands I use in practice!
4. Demonstrate gratitude. To others. To yourself (sometimes isn't this the harder one?!) Purposefully acknowledging thankfulness is important because in our think-of-something-and-it-shows-up-at-your-door-in-two-hours culture, it's easy to take people and resources for granted. In fact, research suggests that our brains literally become used to our regular daily comforts, so we have to purposely fuel a positive neurological pattern by demonstrating thankfulness. A few studies have even shown a connection between thankfulness and reduced depression. Writing down what we're thankful for in a journal can be an effective method of reminding ourselves of the small things (and the big things) that matter.