If your holidays are filled with light, love and laughter, there are still going to be unexpected bills, illnesses and triple-booked evenings that make it tough to stay upbeat and energized. It doesn’t make sense to plan for holiday stress…or does it? Planning for healthy ways to cope with stressful situations, both the ones you anticipate and the ones you don’t, is a smart way to approach the holidays—or any day!
“Sleep is how you restore your nervous system,” says Dr. Terry Vanderheyden, a naturopathic doctor in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, and medical advisor for St. Francis Herb Farm. “If you don’t sleep well, you typically end up with cortisol issues,” he says, referring to the hormone that affects how your body responds to stress levels.
Work It Out
It’s easy to skip a regular walk or workout when things get busy, but that’s exactly when you should be working out. “Exercise has cortisol balancing properties,” says Dr. Terry. He adds that a number of clinical trials show that exercise can be as effective as medication for managing mild to moderate anxiety and depression.
Alcohol has short-term benefits for dealing with stress, so go ahead and relax with a glass of wine with friends and family. When you overdo it though, your liver gets overworked, throwing your whole system off balance. Too much alcohol interferes with restful sleep too, making it harder to deal with stress.
So. Many. Treats. The holidays are definitely associated with lots of goodies. It’s important to figure out how to enjoy small treats without going overboard. Refined sugars and starches are stressors for the adrenal gland, which produces cortisol, says Dr. Terry. “To deal with a starchy meal and sugary dessert, your body requires a surge of blood sugar followed by a blood sugar low, and your adrenals have to kick in to cope with it.”
Consider Herbal Medicine
“Adaptogens, which help your body deal with stress, are ideal for this time of year,” says Dr. Terry. Two standout products from St. Francis Herb Farm are the best-selling classic Deep Immune series, as well as the award-winning Strest products.
These are simple natural strategies, but they really do work!
Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.
A plant that is native to the dry areas of India, the Middle East, and northern Africa, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family.
Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng)
Eleuthero root has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. A woody shrub that hails from the forests of northeastern Asia, eleuthero is an adaptogen used to increase stamina, as a tonic, and to boost overall health.
The bright red berries of this woody climbing vine that grows in the forested regions of northeastern China, as well as Russia. Schisandra berries have a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Use it as an adaptogen and tonic to promote endurance, lower stress, and boost your immune system.