The holidays are a time of celebration, spirit…and stress. Even the merriest among us might need a reminder to take care of ourselves. So in the spirit of planning ahead and planning for wellness, how about a smarter perspective this year?Rather than vowing to “get back on track” after the New Year, add wellness to this year’s to-do list. It’s easy! Prioritizing health means managing stress, boosting the immune system, eating well, preparing for unexpected sick days and adopting small but significant healthy habits (like washing hands).
Here are five simple strategies for making wellness a priority this season.
1. Take care of yourself while caring for others. Schedule some early-season spa-based gift swaps (make appointments or indulge at home). 100% essential oil gifts for all! Lavender, chamomile and bergamot are known for their calming effects. Homemade Lavender Bath Salts opens in a new tab are a great gift, but be sure to make enough for you, too.
2. Make time for stress management. Whether it’s a walk, yoga or other exercise, reading, rest or play, add it to your calendar. Chronic stress can lead to slower immune system responses, impaired cognitive function, digestion problems, lack of appetite control and sleep difficulties. Any of these can put a damper on holiday festivities and your general wellbeing. Here are a few more suggestions to help you relax.
Check out Rescue Remedy, a mixture of Bach flower essences (drops, lotion, spray, pastilles) that work to provide natural stress relief.
Get enough of the “anti-stress” mineral, magnesium, found in nuts, seeds, whole grains and leafy greens. Known to help promote relaxation, it’s important for nervous system function and for stress management.
My favorite tip? Breathe. Focusing on slow, deep breathing is one of the simplest ways to calm our body. Feel the benefits in just 5 minutes!
3. Eat well. Holiday parties (and shopping malls) certainly aren’t known for their “healthy eating” options. But you can still make good choices anywhere. Here are some helpful ideas:
Eat before the outing.
Choose low glycemic index foods with lots of fiber.
Stress can also cause inflammation in the body, so you’ll need more omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish, flaxseed, hemp seed and walnuts.
Have whole foods and healthy snacks handy.
Enjoy the celebration, but remind yourself of the powerful (if not festive) word “moderation.”
4. Give your immune system a boost. When you need a little extra help staying well, try these tips.
Get a boost from immune-supportive supplement formulas, which are well-researched combinations of herbs, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Get more antioxidants. The body’s levels of free radicals are higher under stress. Free radicals are damaging, and antioxidants are needed to neutralize them. Eat more beans, whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and spices.
Consider vitamin C, an antioxidant that is quickly depleted when the body is under stress. Among many functions, it supports the adrenal glands, immune system and a healthy inflammatory response.
5. Prepare for unexpected sick days. Everyone needs R&R sometimes, notably during the holidays. When you start to feel run down, give your body a break and keep these.natural remedies at the ready:
Elderberry. Revered for centuries as a traditional medicine, the extract of this fruit provides antioxidant and immune support from quercetin and other flavonoids.
Echinacea. Studies have shown that this herb can be effective for supporting immune health.
Neti pots or nasal flushes. With warm slightly-salted purified water, these devices can help bring relief to congestion and sinus pressure.
Indeed, ‘tis the season to appreciate others, but include self care on your list too. Let us know your favorite ways to take care of yourself during this time of year, and have a healthy and happy holiday season.
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