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Coping with Holiday Stress

During the holiday season, it's easy to overextend ourselves. Holiday parties, overeating, shopping, and extra cooking for friends and family can push us over the edge. The end result is that we can end up feeling fatigued, weak and vulnerable to infection.

Our protection from stress is primarily controlled by two small glands on top of our kidneys called the adrenal glands. In times of physical or emotional stress the adrenals secrete hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare the body to fight or take flight. This is a healthy reaction and once the stressful situation is resolved the body recovers quickly. In times of prolonged stress, however, the adrenal glands work overtime. Eventually the glands have a general decline in function, contributing to symptoms like low energy, difficulty sleeping, muscle weakness and repeated infections.

To help the body deal with holiday stress I recommend three things:

Keep a water bottle with you at all times: All the excess food, sugar and alcohol require much more water than usual to detoxify our bodies. We recommend trying to add at least another two to three glasses a day and drink more water before going to a party or eating a large meal.

Take vitamins B5 and B6 and NuSera: Alcohol and sugar deplete the B vitamins necessary for energy production and a healthy immune system. I recommend taking 200 mg of vitamins B5 and B6 two times a day. I also suggest taking a product called NuSera during stressful times or situations. It helps people feel more relaxed and less anxious for social events or specific triggers such as public speaking, family situations, driving, etc. NuSera contains LactiumPure® which in several studies has been shown to improve a person's response to stress. It is a chewable supplement that tastes like a Tootsie Roll. We carry these at Seattle Natural Health or you may find them at some retailers.

Quick Meditation Breaks: Do a two minute breathing exercise that can reset your stress level immediately. You can do this standing, sitting or lying down. Breathe in slowly for a count of eight, hold for eight counts then breathe out for 8 more counts. With each breath visualize the seven colors of the rainbow, starting with red. Imagine the color red filling your body as you inhale and see it leave your body as you exhale. Repeat with orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. This imagery will help align the seven chakras (areas of energy) of your body. After this exercise you will feel lighter and renewed.

By incorporating these tips, you can enjoy the season and keep your body in a healthy and thriving state. Happy Holidays!

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