Stress-Proof Your Holidays

In the midst of the holiday hoopla, are you “laughing all the way” or stressing every day? While this season is known for peace and joy, sometimes it can be overwhelming and stressful even to the most seasoned Santa.

What Stress Does to Your Body

Stress affects you physically, mentally and emotionally. It can trigger insomnia, headaches, irritability, anxiety and depression. Heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke are also linked to stress. It also can cause weight gain.

Feeling achy? It’s probably muscle tension in your neck, shoulders and back due to stress. Forgetfulness, disorganization, weakness and fatigue, and teeth grinding are also telltale signs you’re under too much stress. Your digestive tract reacts to stress in the form of constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, stomachaches or nausea. Stress decreases your ability to absorb vital nutrients too. At the same time, stress increases the amount of free radicals damaging your body, while depleting many essential vitamins and minerals.

In addition, stress overtaxes your immune system and leaves you vulnerable to colds, infections, autoimmune disorders and even cancer.

Seven Ways to Rein in Holiday Stress

1. Make a to-do list early in the season and map out your time accordingly. This will give you a sense of order and calm.

2. Prioritize your invitations and self-imposed to-dos. Choose what you WANT to do, not what you feel you HAVE to do.

3. Accept “good enough.” Just make your signature dessert rather than 10 different cookie recipes. Only put up the decorations that mean the most to you or have the most impact and leave the rest boxed up. Recognize it’s OK to take short cuts. The main goal is enjoying time with family and friends, right?

4. Set a budget and stick to it. Don’t overspend or you’ll spread financial stress over the next several months.

5. Exercise every day. While trudging around a mall is exhausting, a brisk 30-minute walk at a steady pace is more beneficial and is a known stress-reliever, as it improves mental function and clarity and boosts your mood.

6. Get adequate sleep. Aim for seven to eight hours every night. There’s nothing worse than a cranky Santa who loses it when the ribbon runs out.

7. Make good nutrition a priority. Fill up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. In addition, make sure these nutrients are part of your daily plan to stress-proof your body:

* Zinc – key to the production of serotonin, a brain-calming chemical
* Iron – to lift mood and reduce anger
* Essential fatty acids such as omega-3 – to increase resistance to stress and its side effects while boosting immune function
* Antioxidants – to fight free radical damage caused by stress and lower the stress hormone, cortisol
* B Vitamins – essential for energy and maintaining regular blood sugar levels
* Fiber – to help digestion, reduce hunger and level out blood sugar. Put Relìv on Your To-Do List Give your body the stress relief it craves with Relìv’s optimal, balanced nutrition.

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