The holidays can wreak havoc on many aspects of the human body and psyche. By the time we notice the exhaustion, anxiety, and possible weight gain, it’s January, and we try to undo what we could have prevented from the beginning. Try to make this year different by following a few simple guidelines outlined here.
Exercise and movement are important components in making sure the lymphatic system keeps flowing properly and can do its job. Being sedentary can interfere with other aspects of your health like sleep quality, stress management, maintaining a healthy weight that can impact your immune system and increase your risk of infection.
Activities to help keep us healthy
- weight bearing exercises
- the winter favourite, shovelling the walks!
Daily movement is important but remember that constant high intensity exercise can actually become a negative stress on the body and depress the immune system rather than support it.
Rest is one of the simplest things we can do but often the one we resist the most. The days are shorter and we are meant to sleep longer, not push on into the early hours of the morning. We put a lot of demands on our bodies and if we expect them to work under these demands we must allow it to rest so it can do its job. Sleep is a time that our body repairs itself. Balancing of hormones, growth and development, maintaining a healthy weight, repair of the heart and blood vessels and mental wellbeing are all things that occur during sleep. Ongoing sleep deficiencies can impair the immune system and its ability to fight infection, affect our mood, cause stress on the body, impair judgement, just to name a few.
- Calm the racing mind before going to bed by journaling or making your “to-do” list for the following day
- Practice breathing techniques
- Castor Oil Packs
- Shut off TV, smartphones and computers at least an hour before bed
- Sleep in a room that is entirely dark
- When going to holiday parties and events, order a cab for a certain time to ensure you will get home in time to get a good sleep.
Stress can affect the body on many different levels including:
Body –Headaches, frequent infections, skin irritations, fatigue, muscle twitches
Mind– worry, muddles thinking, indecision, negativity, hasty decisions, doubt
Behaviour – insomnia, restlessness, drinking more, smoking more, loss of appetite, accident prone
Emotions/ thoughts -loss of confidence, irritability, depression, apathy
There is often a rise in stress levels around the holidays due to financial stress, family and relationship stress to name a few. These stressors are not going to go away so we want to be able to support ourselves so we can handle them with minimal effect on our body.
Tips to help manage your stress:
- Surround yourself with positive people and those who support you and make you feel good to be around. Find a community to be a part of that will support your interests and values – yoga, book club, running club etc.
- Laughter is also an important aspect of wellbeing.
- Maintain a warm and welcoming physical environment.
- Keep a good sleep schedule
- Proper nutrition
- Practice Self Care
During the holidays our daily routine usually goes out the window. Late nights, parties, indulgence, lack of sleep and increased stress all lead to lack of nutrition.
- Always eat breakfast, including a protein
- Prepare snacks that you can take with you; almonds, veggies with hummous, coconut chips etc.
- Add a greens powder to your day
- Drink lots of water: Over the holidays our consumption of alcohol tends to increase and with lack of sleep our caffeine consumption also increases. Keep a water bottle with you and make sure you are hydrated. When at parties remember to have a glass of water in between drinks.
- Take smaller portions of a food than you would normally, the amount of food we have presented to us doubles or triples during the holidays
- Take a breath before eating and be grateful for the food
- Take healthy snacks with you to eat throughout
- Maintain proper blood sugar levels:
- Don’t skip meals
- When eating, include a healthy fat, protein and complex carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index.
- Have a healthy snack in between meals (try including a protein)
- Drink plenty of water
- Reduce caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol
- Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates
Drink plenty of water:
Over the holidays our consumption of alcohol tends to increase and with lack of sleep our caffeine consumption also increases. Keep a water bottle with you and make sure you are hydrated. When at parties remember to have a glass of water in between drinks.
The most important tip of all: TAKE TIME TO ENJOY YOURSELF!!
Have a healthy and happy holiday
Dr. Brandy takes a holistic and individualized approach to medicine, utilizing a combination of botanical medicine, nutrition, homeopathy and lifestyle and is also trained in Neuroemotional Technique (NET). An integration of these is used to treat a wide range of conditions including but not limited to Digestive concerns, Women’s Health, hormonal issues, pediatrics and a special interest in addressing Stress and its numerous effects on the body.