The holiday season looms ahead of us. We have already begun to see the traffic thicken, adding time to our daily commute. Then we have the multiple holiday events we feel obligated to attend—even though sometimes we’d much rather be curled up on the couch. And we wash our hands incessantly in fear of catching any one of the hundred bugs that are going around. These are all signs of “season”; it can be a cyclone of stress piling up and crashing down on us. There is no hiding from the holidays.
But instead of getting wrapped up in layers of stress, center yourself and decide this is no way to live. With stress comes illness. Getting sick feels like the end-all during season; it sets you back and can make you feel miserable. Be aware of what your top stressors are and do your best to avoid meltdown mode. This way you’ll be one step ahead.
While many people experience joyful emotions during the holidays, 61 percent of adults also experience holiday stress. According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), among the top holiday stressors were lack of time, financial concerns and the overall hype/commercialism of the holidays. It may not be a surprise that the survey found many adults turn to food and alcohol to help them cope and reduce holiday stress.
We are here to let you know there are more natural ways to lessen stress that won’t leave you reaching for junk food or with a hangover. Here are a few.
Diffuse Essential Oils
If you don’t have an oil diffuser by now, we suggest adding it to your Christmas list. These devices are the perfect gift for the holidays! They’re great to have around the house to keep things smelling good, disinfect the air, and keep your immune system boosted.
Anxiety originates from the limbic system, and the sense of smell is the only one of the senses that is linked to this part of the brain. So a diffuser is very effective to diffuse stress, and when in use, molecules from the essential oils we smell are at work on our limbic lobe.
To take full advantage of the moment, use an oil diffuser with the changing color lights to help set the mood. Some essential oils that are known for their relaxing and calming properties are lavender, rose, geranium, jasmine, frankincense and citrus. There is no rule about mixing oils, so have fun trying different blends!
On top of everything else, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also contribute to stress. In that case, most people can benefit from taking a little magnesium and a vitamin B complex.
Clinical trials have shown that supplementing with a vitamin B complex can help reduce “personal strain” and depressed feelings when in high-stress situations. Magnesium on the other hand is excellent for improving sleep quality. Both are good to take in addition to herbs such as valerian root and kava kava. Like magnesium, kava kava and valerian root are both helpful with sleeping and potent anxiety relievers.
And then there is 5 HTP. This has been used for more than 30 years to treat anxiety and depression, thanks to its molecular make-up as a chemical precursor to serotonin. It works to boost your mood by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain, which is thought to in turn improve the way your brain processes emotions and regulates sleep.
It’s better to get ahead of the rollercoaster of emotions the holiday season stirs up. You will set yourself up for success if you strategically supplement with herbs and vitamins that are scientifically proven to reduce your anxiety and boost your energy.
A Cup of Tea
There is something about a warm drink that is soothing to the core. A cup of tea can be straight-up medicinal when the situation calls for it. Plus there are tons of exotic or super-simple blends that are just what your body is craving when you’ve reached your wits’ end. Chamomile and green tea are safe go-tos. Add them to your evening routine to induce calming and help you find your happy place during these next couple months. Kava kava can be a tea option too, if you wish.
Even when your life is turned upside down, remember there are natural remedies for turning you back around and getting you through the day—or the next long holiday shopping line.
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