Healthy Living Makes a Difference

Don’t Let Christmas Stress you Out

  • Erika Geisheimer, Blog Coordinator
  • Communications, Good n' Natural Health Food Store

Twinkling lights, sparkling on fresh snow. The music of carolers in the air. Christmas is right around the corner. For many, it a season of joy, long anticipated for each year. For others, it is a season of stress and anxiety to get the right present and make it to every gathering. Whether you love this season, you are just trying to get through the holidays, or are somewhere in the middle, preparing yourself as you get ready for the season with stress reducing supplements and practices can make this season more bearable and much more enjoyable.

Prepare your mind and body for the crazy malls with adaptogenic herbs and vitamins that support your body’s stress response. Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Ginseng are herbs that regulate stress hormones to help your body cope and deal with stressors. Ashwagandha reduces anxiety and reduces the depletion of vitamin C which supports the body during stress. This herb also alleviates mental fatigue that leads to a crash after a long day. Rhodiola helps to promote a sense of calm as well and can be very beneficial when in the middle of a hectic mall. The herb Ginseng not only supports stress response but also provides energy that will help you face the crowds. Another herbal that proves its worth for the holiday season is Lemon Balm. This herb increases free gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, a neurotransmitter that calms the mind. You can find these herbals individually or together in a formula for the best stress and anxiety reducing results. The B vitamins are also crucial for our stress hormone secreting adrenal glands, and they help to calm the nervous system. The body will use up available B vitamins very quickly when stressed therefore more are needed during these times to avoid fatigue. These vitamins also provide energy by being coenzymes in metabolic processes that allow our food to become energy.

Eating well is not only good for the everyday work routine but also shopping trips. No one likes to shop on an empty stomach and being hungry during a long day of shopping can make choosing gifts much more difficult. Be sure to start your shopping trip with a meal that satiates you. Foods high in fibre, healthy fats and protein will keep you fuller longer and help you avoid feeling “hangry”. Bring snacks along on your trip that are also high in protein, healthy fats and fibre to keep your blood sugars balanced and avoid grabbing a sweet bite on the go that will only lead to an energy crash later. Stable blood sugars equal calm mood. Stable mood equals a more relaxed shopping experience.

Along with packing healthy snacks for your trip, bring along essential oils like lavender and chamomile to help you feel calm. Studies have shown the inhalation of lavender helped to reduce anxiety when test groups were watching an anxiety-provoking film, going to the dentist or before undergoing a coronary artery bypass surgery. Chamomile has been shown to decrease irritability, overthinking and worry. Studies have also shown chamomile to be very useful for easing anxiety symptoms. Need an energy boost? Breathing in bergamot essential oil has proved to be effective for energizing and refreshing the mind. Take an aromatherapy break and breathe in deeply to feel calmed or energized for the rest of your shopping excursion.

Planning and preparation to pick out the right gift for each loved one will save much aimless wandering and stress. Instead of running to the store hoping something will jump out at you for the next person on your list, plan ahead of time. Come up with a list of ideas for that certain someone and look for those. It can also be helpful to have some generic gifts on hand like a travel mug and hot chocolate or a good board game for those last minute get-togethers or forgot about dinners that have gift-giving games. Planning ahead of time will save you time so you can spend more of it with your loved ones.

Christmas should not wear us out. It is a season to feel joyful and thankful for all those we hold dear. Shop with a friend or family member to make it fun. Shop for someone who can not get out of their house to pick out gifts for their loved ones. Shop for gifts to give away to people in need. Gift giving is not done to feed into our consumer culture. We give gifts during this season because of the greatest gift that was given to us. Share the love and joy of this season! Merry Christmas!