Healthy Through The Holidays
Most of us focus on starting a new health regime or plan once the New Year starts, but there are simple things you can start right now to keep healthy not just in the New Year but through the holiday season. The first thing to focus on is decreasing stress levels. Stress is a major driver for illness because it sets off a cascade of stress hormones like cortisol that can wreak havoc on our health. Here are some main habits to focus on and keep in mind to decrease your holiday stress.
Mindset can directly influence how our body perceives stress and ultimately our physiology. One part of starting with a healthy mindset around the holidays is by focusing on gratitude versus negative thoughts. Try starting and ending each day with a short list of what you are grateful for. This helps to prime the subconscious mind to look for the positive in each day. In fact, practicing gratitude daily has shown to decrease cortisol by 23%. Practicing gratitude by journaling or saying thank you to others in your life is a free and easy method to a longer and stress free life.
Screen time has been shown to decrease melatonin levels as well as keeping our minds stimulated even when we are trying to relax before sleep. Getting adequate hours of sleep is associated with better mood and decreased stress. Try putting your phone on airplane mode at least an hour before bed. This will help signal to your nervous system that it's time to rest, and will leave you feeling more alert in the morning. It may be helpful to also choose to turn your phone notifications off this holiday while spending time with your family and friends. Studies have even show that when your phone is near by or next to you, your body actively releases stress hormones.
Nutrition & Supplementation
Eating during the holiday season can be stressful. Most of us partake in high amounts of sugar and binging that we may normally not be used to. Try to leave the sweets and dinners to the holidays and stick to your normal diet by planning out your meals for the week and filling them with lots of protein, fiber, and veggies. It can also be helpful to add in supplements like magnesium or Chromium that can help regulate our insulin and counteract the sweets. Insulin and cortisol have an inverse relationship, meaning when one is high the other is low. So when we eat a meal high in fiber and good proteins and fats our insulin spikes which in turn decreases cortisol levels. This is why eating small meals throughout the day can be helpful in regulating blood sugar. If we go without eating for too long our body won’t release insulin and cortisol will spike. Insulin resistance can lead
Many programs, gyms, and companies capitalize on people waiting until the after the holidays to get in shape. But starting a consistent exercise routine now can help beat holiday stress. That happy feeling you get post workout? That’s actually endorphins aka happy hormones being released. Endorphins can help lower stress and improve mood. When picking an exercise routine, keep it simple. Pick something you can do everyday for a short amount of time. Whether that’s yoga, walking, or a quick HIIT workout, what matters most is that you enjoy doing it which will make you more motivated to continue the routine.
Regular chiropractic adjustments have shown to decrease cortisol (the stress hormone) over time and improve vagal function. Your vagal tone is responsible for getting us into the parasympathetic mode of your nervous system which is required to help our body heal and relax. Every time you hear that “pop” in your spine during an adjustment, endorphins are being released, which is why we always say “you’re only one adjustment away from a good mood”.