Are you feeling stressed out this holiday season? You’re not alone. For many, there is so much to do that you can end up feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Then there are the family gatherings and parties that can bring us together with individuals we might actually prefer to avoid.
A certain amount of anxiety is a normal part of life as it alerts you to danger. However, excessive anxiety can have negative effects on your health. Symptoms can include muscle tension, restlessness, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, stomach upset, headache, fatigue, irritability, trouble concentrating and trouble sleeping. The relationship between stress and the inability to sleep is bad news if you are trying to lose weight because it has been found that sleep is essential if you want to lose “fat” and lower the number on your scale. Lack of sleep increases a hormone called ghrelin which stimulates hunger and promotes fat retention. Cortisol is another hormone that increases when you are stressed and high levels have been linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Take care of yourself by getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, eat healthy foods, try to get some exercise, and relax with meditation, yoga or message therapy. Taking a B complex vitamin can also help you to manage stress and promote rest. Stay hydrated – water is tied to your energy levels.
Try to keep things simple by sharing cooking responsibilities, plan quick and easy meals, take advantage of gift wrapping services, and shop on the internet or from mail-order catalogs.
Stay organized by writing a “To Do” list and plan ahead with events and food preparation. Put exercise at the top of that list.
Have realistic expectations and don’t let your emotions get the best of you. It’s good to remember that you can’t always control other people’s behavior and certain situations. Say “no” when you have to and make sure that you take time for yourself. It’s important to enjoy the sights and smells of the season because it will be gone sooner than you know!