Monday, December 3, 2012

3 Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress

Instead of waiting in long shopping lines, take steps to decrease stress and let the holidays again be a time of yuletide cheer.

Smiling woman carrying holiday gifts.
Avoid holiday stress by getting your shopping done early.

As the days become increasingly devoid of sunlight along with the steady decline in temperature, we are heralded by the arrival of winter, but most importantly, that the holiday season is upon us. For some, the holidays evoke wondrous sensations of yuletide cheer and celebration. For most, the menagerie of dinner planning, rounding up of family, gift shopping and travel tend to elicit an impending sense of dread and psychological stress.

Try some of the following tips to get you through the holiday season:

Planning ahead: Murphy’s law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” As we all know, this is exceedingly true when it comes to last-minute shopping. Plan ahead! Save time by avoiding those spur-of-the moment shopping lines. In turn you will also save gas and money by shopping earlier or shopping online.

Support your immune system: Studies have shown that acute and chronic stress is known to decrease both cellular and humoral immunity. What does this mean for you? Ultimately, this means that you will be much more susceptible to illness and infection. Supplements and botanical herbs like vitamin D and elderberry have been shown to help boost immunity. Ask your naturopathic doctor about how these may help you.

Exercise: Winter is a season which is yin in nature (of the Chinese yin and yang). Chinese medicine dictates that during this time, one is to rest, slow down and reflect. A great exercise to practice is tai chi: When practiced routinely, a state of mental clarity and calm can be brought about through focus on the martial art’s movements.

The holidays are meant to be a joyous occasion to be shared with friends and family. Continued neglect of our own health and well-being greatly impacts the quality of our relationships. It is never too late to start. Bastyr Center for Natural Health offers extensive resources on stress management and overall improvement of your body through treatment of the patient as a whole. Happy Holidays!

— Calvin Kwan, ND, naturopathic doctor and resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health.

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