Monday, November 9, 2015

How to Handle Holiday Stress

Does the thought of Thanksgiving and Christmas bundled together make your heart warm and fuzzy — or are you one who wants to warm up to the thought of the holidays, but really, thinking about it makes you feel overwhelmed? Unfortunately, our already-packed to-do lists multiply this time of year. Meals to make; gifts to buy; cards to send; lights to hang; trees to cut; parties to plan .... Learn how to prevent post-holiday depression and stop the seasonal stress in its tracks.

1. Get More Sleep.

Sleep is vital for your body to recover, especially in the midst of a stressful season, whether that's during the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping or something as simple as a change in your schedule. The value of rest baffled me, as I used to think the longer I was awake, the more calories I burned and therefore, the more active I was, which was always better. Wrong! If driven too hard, your body produces hormones to store fat and survive on as little energy as possible (be thankful for this). The only way to ensure you don't send your body into overdrive is to make sure it has time to reset and recover.

I recommend trying to get at least six hours of sleep. If you can get eight, even better. Don't underestimate the value of a power nap, either. Stop drinking caffeine past 3 p.m. Start drinking magnesium powder before bed. Stop watching TV or any screens at least 30 minutes before bed. Start reading or listening to soft music to lull you to sleep. Start paying attention to what makes you feel at peace and what makes you feel alert.

2. Plan to Prepare Healthy Dishes.

I used to get so anxious about going to family dinners or parties, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'd lose my joy about being there because nobody understood how to eat healthy like me (get off your high road, Amber ... I know). Now, I look at it as an opportunity to let my intuitive eater out to play. I always bring at least one dish that I know I want to eat, a food or meal that not only tastes good but will make my body feel good. Sometimes, that's a hot chili, a big tossed salad, a roasted vegetable or GoPro Balls. The ideas are endless. Use your healthy dish as a talking piece for declaring your goals to live healthy and maybe encourage someone else. Try not to be offended if someone doesn't understand. They may be fighting an insecurity themselves. Instead of restricting yourself from enjoying the rest of the food there, allow yourself permission to eat what you want, knowing that your own dish is there if you find you're not satisfied by the other options.

3. Supplement with Extra Energy-Boosters.

There's a reason people get sick this time of year. Aside from the weather and allergies, people are just too dadgum busy. If you can't slow down, at least supplement up (I'm preaching to myself here). Start taking Zinc, Echinacea and Vitamin C. A liver detox or aid can help your liver process the extra stress hormones you may be producing. A probiotic promotes a healthy gut, which is often affected when stressed. Be sure to get enough green superfoods like kale, spinach, spirulina, and kelp. My favorite greens blend is the chocolate silk kind by Barlean's. Again, the magnesium powder is a natural tranquility supplement to help you sleep better because it ensures your body has enough magnesium to make muscular contraction and relaxation more efficient. And another thing is to add some essential oils (good all year round). Lavender and peppermint oil are two that can help alleviate throat/sinus soreness caused by colds or allergies. If you don't catch it in time, and you get sick, Singer's Saving Grace will really save your grace (for throat), and this natural cough syrup with wild cherry bark. And I can't talk about saving energy without mentioning you eat whole foods (one ingredient) as much as possible, and drinking tons of water with lemon.

4. Keep a Record of Right's.

You've heard about not keeping a record of wrongs, which is just as important as keeping a record of right's. Try to find the good in people before you criticize their flaws. One thing I'm trying lately is to compliment every person I see. It could be something as simple as, "Hey, how are you? Oh, I like those shoes." Again, being this nice doesn't usually come naturally. We were wired for selfishness, so you have to work to be gracious and humble. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with you; it just means you have to be intentional about it.

Another way to record your right's is to write them down. The idea of keeping a gratitude journal is not far-fetched; that's for sure. Then I have to ask, why do so few people actually do it? I started journaling my prayers about six months ago, and I cannot tell you how my heart has softened since. My spirit is sensitive to every time my mouth complains, every little blessing I experience, and I'm acting in more compassion (thanks to God) than ever before. I'll tell you, it puts life in perspective if you carve out enough time (think 5 mins) to thank God for a few things.

5. Dismiss the Fear of Missing Out.

Here's another fear-based feeling I used to act in without knowing it. I call it FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Do you often find yourself at a crossroad? Not knowing which decision to make? Indecisiveness is a huge indicator you may suffer from FOMO too. The good news is that you can be cured! Don't get caught up in how the world says to celebrate the holidays. So, you don't get around to putting up the indoor Christmas decorations ... Does that mean you can't enjoy Christmas? No. So, you waited to late to send cards, and now they're going to arrive to your friends and family three days after Christmas. Big deal! It just means Christmas is going to last a little longer.

One of the biggest lessons I'm learning is that it's not about making the right decision. It's about surrendering whichever decision you make to God, knowing that if you seek Him and trust Him, praying for His will instead of your own, He will bless that decision and make it the right one. Try not to sweat the small stuff. Make a list of things that are the most important to you this time of year. Prepare your mind to not get all uptight and upset if everything doesn't get done. Instead, set your mind up to be happy even if none of those things actually happen. Choose to embrace the spontaneity of each moment. Choose generosity. The best medicine for a wounded heart is to help bless someone else.

Want some ideas for gifts (for a friend or for yourself)? Read some of my top picks for a health-conscious holiday gift guide.

For a complete guide to wellness for the family, register for 21 Days to a Healthy Home, your guide to creating lifelong habits of nutrition, exercise and positive self-image. 

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out. 


  1. Cute post. I really liked it and it was great. Thanks for sharing your ideas and post on this platform. Keep sharing more stuff. Stay blessed and happy.

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