Holiday season is here! This is the time of year to enjoy the festivities and spend time with loved ones. However, it can also be the time many of us feel the stress of the holiday season. Finishing deadlines at work, hosting family and friends, holiday preparations can all increase our stress levels.
Symptoms that indicate your may be under too much stress include fatigue (especially in the morning and then again around 2-3 pm), ncreased sugar cravings, poor memory, feeling overwhelmed, gaining weight around the belly area and difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep.
Avoiding stress is difficult. Life happens! However we can make some lifestyle adjustments to help us cope with the stress and avoid feeling burned out.
One of the most important lifestyle adjustments is making sure you get enough sleep. The body repairs itself during sleep. Go to bed the same time and wake up the same time everyday. Try to avoid working on your computer or using any devices at least 2 hours before bed. Read a book or listen to some relaxing music instead. Keep your room dark, quiet and not too warm. If needed consider some natural supplements to help you sleep. If your mind is racing with thoughts and affecting your sleep, consider melatonin or Ashwaganda to calm your mind down. If you feel anxious consider 5HTP or GABA to help you relax and fall asleep.
To keep your hormones balanced and blood sugar stable, practice healthy eating habits. Avoid processed sugars found in baked goods, candies and soft drinks. These simple sugars will spike your insulin levels and leave you feeling exhausted with brain fog a few hours later. Instead focus on protein, vegetables and complex grains to keep you fueled and ready to tackle your day. Try to exercise regularly. Schedule at least 30 minutes a day for you. Do whatever you enjoy doing. Maybe try a new class at the gym, join a yoga class or simply go for a walk on your break. Any form of exercise will raise your natural “feel good” hormones such as serotonin and endorphins to help you fell better and cope with stress. Regular exercise will also give you more energy during the day and help you sleep better at night.
Lastly, take a good Adaptagenic herb such as Ashwaganda, Rhodiola or Holy Basil to support your stress hormones. Adaptagens will help your body deal with stress and recover from stress. They help to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, increase focus, memory and overall balancing of body and mind. Combine a good adaptagenic herb with a B complex and vitamin C to give your adrenal glands the key nutrients it needs to help you deal with stress and prevent feeling burned out. Please remember to consult with your Doctor or Naturopathic Doctor before starting any new supplements as they may have interactions with other medications or be contraindicated with certain health conditions.
There are great laboratory tests available to check your adrenal hormone levels. The Adrenocortex Stress Test or Dried Urine hormone test are both available at Vitalia Health Care. These tests are a great place to start if you feel stress is affecting your health. Our Naturopathic Doctors have extensive experience developing individualized treatment programs to balance your hormones and help you feel better.
Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones from Vitalia Health Care!
Yours in health,
Dr Tasreen Alibhai, ND