Are you anticipating elevated levels of stress during the holidays? It seems that stress can reach it’s peak for most people in the last two months of the year. This year I’m going to share with you a few tips to help you cope with holiday stress. Also, it should go without saying, that stress can be a very serious health issue and you should seek the advice from your physician if you have concerns bout your health. Research has shown that the impact of stress is a major contributor to the development and progression of many health conditions (e.g. heart disease, dementia, cancer etc.) as well as having a negative impact on aging, immune function, and the breakdown of muscle and bone mass. Stress affects us all in varying degrees.
What are the symptoms of stress:
Cognitive Symptoms 
⦁ Memory problems
⦁ Inability to concentrate
⦁ Poor judgment
⦁ Seeing only the negative
⦁ Anxious or racing thoughts
⦁ Constant worrying
Emotional Symptoms
⦁ Depression or general unhappiness
⦁ Anxiety and agitation
⦁ Moodiness, irritability, or anger
⦁ Feeling overwhelmed
⦁ Loneliness and isolation
⦁ Other mental or emotional health problems
Physical Symptoms
⦁ Aches and pains
⦁ Diarrhea or constipation
⦁ Nausea, dizziness
⦁ Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
⦁ Loss of sex drive
⦁ Frequent colds or flu
Behavioral Symptoms
⦁ Eating more or less
⦁ Sleeping too much or too little
⦁ Withdrawing from others
⦁ Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
⦁ Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
⦁ Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
To help mitigate additional stress this holiday, you’ll have to incorporate a few stress-combating strategies into your daily game plan. In turn, this will help reduce its impact on your health and your body. First, we’ll start with one we’ve all heard, exercise. Regular exercise is a significant stress-reducing practice.  Exercise releases endorphins, lowers baseline adrenaline levels, reduces the impact of stress on your heart and vascular system, supports lean mass and bone mass and improves your overall sense of well being and coping ability. In addition, things like yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises and other mind-body practices are also beneficial in helping to lower stress hormones and calm hyperactivity within the brain and nervous system. Even if you just get up and walk around the block, it’s a start!
What about supplements and reductions? Luckily, there are natural herbs known as adaptogens that can decrease the over secretion of cortisol and protect the adrenal glands against injury and enlargement from the constant stimulation of ACTH. The safest adaptogens to use are Rodiola, Schisandra , and Ashwagandha. Some B-vitamins, such as pantothenic acid and B6, as well as vitamin C and zinc have also been shown to keep the adrenal glands functioning normally under periods of stress.
If you have any of the health problems mentioned above and you feel that stress may be a contributing factor then you should consider taking a supplement each day that contains meaningful dosages of:
⦁ Rodiola
⦁ Schisandra
⦁ Ashwagandha
⦁ Pantothenic Acid
⦁ Vitamin B6
⦁ Vitamin C
We also need to take a look at the things you can eliminate and/or reduce in your diet that promote stress. The two big ones are processed white sugar and white flour. There are numerous studies that show that processed white sugar and white flour contribute to the stress of your body and are factors to consider when trying to reduce stress.
My wish is that everyone have a safe and happy holiday season this year. If you are concerned about your stress levels, I have put together a package that should helpful in reducing that holiday uptick in stress and hopefully help you to enjoy the holidays. If you feel that your stress level is a bit more serious. I’d recommend that you contact your health care provider or myself to take a deeper look into your situation.