Holiday Stress: Yesses and Nopes for a Happy Holiday Homestretch
It's December 13th - do you know how your holiday season will turn out? This is really the crux of it all, isn't it? We all feel stressed to create the perfect holiday. And it's never for ourselves, it's for everyone else - including social media.
Let's also not forget that this time of year can be especially hard on people. The loss of loved ones, feeling excluded from our extended family units, and add in stress and depression and you have a literal recipe for mental health disaster.
We've come up with our favorite ways to help you help yourselves during the hustle and bustle of the end of the year.
We have the BEST calming agent right in our very own bodies. Our lungs provide some of the fastest calming outcomes we could ever ask for. When we take in a deep breath, we are telling our brain to pause, take a moment to slow down, and to drop things down a few levels. That message then gets relayed to our body to repeat until our blood pressure returns to normal.
Belly breathing is an incredibly easy and efficient way to enhance the calming impact of our breath. Lay on your back, place a hand on your chest and your other hand on your stomach. Take in deep breaths with the goal of pushing the hand on your stomach up and keeping the hand on your chest down. Push the air out through pursed lips and repeat 3-10 times - or when you feel more grounded. Take a moment to note how you you feel. If you don't feel calm enough, repeat this technique.
The use of aromatherapy is a great way to help you focus on your breath. Filling a small bowl or mug of bath salts and hot water and using that to practice breathwork is an incredible way to train your body to reduce stress.
We also have delightful personal diffusers from ripple+ that provide aromatherapeutic plus herbal benefits depending on your needs. Jasmine aroma, chamomile, and lemon balm extracts blend the natural, functional plant extracts of the chamomile flower and soothing lemon balm allows you to unwind naturally and instinctively.
Belly breathing is a reactive calming tactic- meaning you're already stressed and this is a tool to find yourself relief in the heat of the moment. We believe in preventative self-care and morning breathing is a great way to deal with holiday stress! Morning breathing is done first thing in the morning right after getting out of bed.
Stand and allow your upper body to roll down from the waist, allowing your arms to dangle down towards the floor by your feet. Take a deep breath in and as you do, roll back upwards back to a standing position, your head the last body part to straighten upright.
Hold your breath for a moment and then exhale as you roll downward to repeat the process. Take stock in how you feel afterward and then throughout the day as you navigate paths to manage stress.
Diet + Exercise
We also know that science shows us that exercise can have an amazingly positive impact on our stress response from a biochemical standpoint. It releases endorphins, heightens our breathing techniques, and increases our circulation allowing vital oxygen and nutrients to reach further in our bodies. But diet also plays a critical role in our ability to combat stress.
Family gatherings usually precipitate large meals of special and festive foods that tend to only come out around this time of year. We also tend to let our guards down when we are surrounded by family and friends whose love language is feeding delicious treats to those they love! Holiday parties are also a time to imbibe when you might not usually drink at all.
Stress itself has a negative impact on blood pressure and blood flow. Eating healthy food delivers necessary nutrients to help combat these two critical health factors. Omega-3s, polyphenols, and vitamin E are all great nutrients to focus on when wanting to help your circulatory system work well during times of high stress. Kaibae's Baobab Superfood Prebiotic Powder helps with all of these ingredients and more
The gut-brain highway is also being more closely followed by scientists as we are learning that when the gut's digestive capabilities are challenged, our cognitive functions can also be impaired. Brain fog is at the forefront of research right now, so keep up on your anti-inflammatory foods to help combat it. Apothekary's Blue Me Away is the perfect addition to your daily diet to help with cognitive sharpening (along with a little energy to boot!)
Carving out your personal boundaries is a necessary tool because we all have that one family member who just LOVES to push themselves beyond yours. Enforcing your boundaries during the stressful end of the year can be as easy as 1- 2 - 3.
- Make Them Known. Help others help you keep your boundaries in tact by making them known and clear. Enroll enforcers in the family to help you with troublemakers. One positive that has come out of the covid-19 pandemic is people are much more vocal about their limits.
- Understand Your Worth. You are worthy of having a fortress around your health, both physical and mental. Your peace matters!
- Clean Up The Toxins. If someone in your life cannot or will not abide by your boundaries, it's time to take the garbage out.
If you've practiced all of these things and still feel you're coming up short, seek professional guidance to help you see things from a trained perspective. Another positive that's come out of the pandemic is that text and video chat has become a mainstay for therapy support and makes it so much easier to access mental health professionals for much-deserved care.