The Holidays are Coming! And It’s Time to Destress

The Holidays are Coming! And It’s Time to DestressThe holiday season can be a stressful time for many of us. It’s possible that you have many obligations, you may have to “get along with” people you’d rather not talk to, or you might be hosting family or friends in your home. This can all skyrocket your stress level – but it doesn’t have to.

Sugar and Stress

One of the many contributors to rising stress levels in our nation this holiday season is the sheer volume of sugar that so many of us eat during this time of year. Your blood sugar level can be an enormous cause of stress.

When your glucose levels are stably in a healthy range, you can function at your best. However, when blood sugar levels spike or get too low, your body becomes stressed out and begins making a hormone called cortisol. This is the same hormone your adrenal glands produce when you’re in a frightening or upsetting situation.

There are many ways that you can spike your blood sugar levels. The most obvious methods of increasing blood sugar this season is erratic eating patterns and eating way too much sugar.

So, here are a few dos and don’ts that can help you keep your blood sugar level stay stable this holiday season:

Do: Eat in moderation.

Don’t: Just eat dessert.

Do: Eat a healthy breakfast every morning.

Don’t: Skip a meal because you are waiting for your giant meal in the evening (even on Thanksgiving!)

Do: Keep up your exercise schedule.

Don’t: Drink coffee or alcohol all day long.

Do: Monitor your energy levels.

Don’t: Throw caution to the wind and eat or drink anything you want.

With these simple tips, you can keep your blood sugar level on an even keel this holiday season.

Dealing with Common Holiday Stressors

Unfortunately, the holiday season can cause stress in more ways than one. So, just avoiding sugar and keeping up your regular schedule may not cut it this year. Typical holiday stressors like the anxiety you may feel in large crowds, worry that you will gain weight, and dealing with difficult relatives may make this holiday season feel less than jolly. That’s why we are providing five additional tips for dealing with common holiday stressors:

  1. Keep taking your Vitamin D.

Remember, the days are getting shorter, and you are getting less and less sunlight. That means you’re losing out on stress-busting Vitamin D! So, make sure you take Vitamin D throughout the fall and winter

  1. Don’t overcommit yourself.

Your time and energy are precious commodities. Budget them out accordingly. If you don’t want to go to a holiday get-together, don’t commit to going. If your youngster wants to see Peacock Lane, Zoo Lights, and go see Santa, start early and don’t promise to hit all of the sights.

This also means that you need to take out some “me” time this holiday season. Give yourself permission to relax in the tub, bike through your favorite park, or just to hang out in front of a crackling fire. The holidays are about giving – which means you are allowed to give to yourself.

  1. Plan ahead.

Mark your holiday get-togethers and activities on your calendar now and then block out days or even weeks where you are not allowed to schedule any other holiday appointments. Get your shopping done as early as possible. You can even make menus for any holiday meals you are hosting and shop for nonperishable ingredients now to get a jump on the season.

  1. Be as accepting as possible.

Because this is an election year, there will likely be political talk at some family gatherings – and it’s possible that not every one of your family members will agree with your ideas. Or it could be that you have family who simply rubs you the wrong way. Try to be open to other’s notions during your holiday festivities.

  1. Take advantage of our stress relief services.

Here at Change for the Health of It, we are offering an effective stress relief procedure called BioScan SRT. This system utilizes acupuncture, biofeedback, homeopathy, and laser light technology to help identify and balance your body’s response to specific stressors. Just click here or give us a call to set up your appointment.

We hope these tips will help you avoid holiday stress this season. If you are concerned about chronic stress, need help managing your weight, or are just hoping for some stress relief, contact us. We are here to help you Change for the Health of It!


Symptoms of stress

Can You Avoid These Five Symptoms of Stress?

Symptoms of stressModern life is filled with stresses. The three most common sources of stress are family pressures, work, and finances.

Unfortunately, studies have shown over and over again that stress can cause health problems. This is because, when you are experiencing stress, your nervous system activates your fight or flight response, releasing adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. These hormones make your heart beat faster, raise your blood pressure, change your digestive process and increase glucose levels in your bloodstream.

This response is actually beneficial in a situation of unexpected stress, like during an attack or when a child is in danger. It can cause a reaction without conscious thought, allowing you to escape your attacker or rescue the child.

However, in a situation which causes persistent stress, this physical response is eventually exhausting both physically and mentally. Extended periods of stress can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even drug or alcohol abuse.

There are many, many reasons a person can consistently get stressed out. Perhaps bad traffic has increased on your way to work, making transportation stressful. Maybe you are working long hours and not getting enough sleep. It’s important to discover your, personal sources of stress.

How Can I Avoid Stress Affecting My Health?

The best way to avoid the health problems caused by stress is to avoid stress altogether. However, this is usually not a feasible option. You may have a rewarding, high-stress job that, at the end of the day, you really enjoy. Your children may be going through the terrible twos – or the hormonal teens – and you will always be there for them. So, instead of avoiding stressful situations, you need to change how you handle stress.

Here are five things you can do to modify your response to stress:

1. Examine your reactions. Take a moment out of your next stressful situation and examine how you react. Do you tense up, clench your fists, your heart racing and your breathing quickening? Do you manage this reaction with things like breathing exercises or asking for help – or do stressful moments extend on and on – continuing past the one stressful moment?

2. Modify your life to change how you deal with stress. There are many changes you can make to take control of stress. For example, you can take one of my classes and learn deep breathing techniques to help you mitigate stress. You can take out some “me” time every day to ponder on what makes you grateful. You can take a walk in one of Oregon’s many parks and simply enjoy nature.

By changing your response to the “fight or flight” response, you are modifying your reaction to stress.

3. Include more healthy meals in your diet. Eating comfort food is a common response to stress. However, this only adds to the strain you are putting on your body. Instead of giving into that craving for comfort food, keep healthy snacks like carrot sticks, raw nuts and fruit around to help you stay energized during stressful situations.

4. Exercise. A great way to de-stress is exercise. However, when you are stressed out, you may feel exhausted and not up for a good workout. Keep yourself motivated by scheduling a weekly class, adding a motivational quote to your morning alarm or getting a workout buddy. You will be amazed at how exercising consistently makes your body more ready to deal with stress.

5. Update your sleep habits. Too many of us stimulate our minds and our brains with technology by watching TV, scrolling through our phones or working on the laptop before going to bed or while in bed. A great way to de-stress and help you sleep more deeply is to make your bedroom a haven for sleep by:

  • Keeping your bedroom dark when you’re ready for sleep.
  • Taking all of your technology out of the bedroom (including digital clocks).
  • Setting your thermostat 5-10 degrees lower than your average daytime temperature.
  • Keeping things quiet with a noise machine or earplugs.

We all have stressful situations that come up in life. The trick is recognizing these moments when they occur and modifying how we deal with such situations. If you need help handling stress in your life (and don’t we all?) be sure to come to my class on June 14th at Curves in Oregon City from 2PM-3PM. Just give my office a call to let me know you’ll be joining in!