Depression, Sleep Disorders, Diets, Stress | December 1, 2016 | Author: Naturopath
It’s coming to that time of year when the calendar is starting to get full. There’s get-togethers, christmas parties, functions, school holidays and not to mention organising food, presents and festivities for christmas day and New Year’s Eve. It’s no wonder a lot of people feel the additional strain which starts late November and doesn’t end until very early January. It is also a time when people are usually eating the wrong foods and consuming too much alcohol. Luckily, there are many different suggestions and natural remedies that can be used to help ease the anxiety and unhealthy behaviours associated with christmas.
Write a list of everything you need to do, people you need to buy presents for, food you need and functions you will be attending.
Gets things out the way early such as buying and wrapping presents and writing christmas cards.
Being organised will reduce your stress levels significantly, helping you keep on top of things.
Christmas can be an expensive time of year.
Reduce expenditure by creating something home-made or discuss with family and friends a spending limit. You will be surprised when you realize others don't want a big debt after christmas either. Secret Santa is another idea where everybody just buys one present each for a specific person (names picked out of a hat).
Being in financial difficulty and overspending over the christmas period can lead to anxiety and stress that can linger well past the festive season.
It’s ok to say no. Try and be more selective about what functions you would like to attend if you feel like there is too much on. If hosting christmas day or other activities ask if people can bring food to contribute so that it reduces the pressure of making and supplying all the dishes.
Christmas can be a time of year when people feel isolated and lonely. Plan ahead so that you can spend christmas with people you like and can help support you. People with a wide network of friends and family have better coping skills compared to those who don’t. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help, even if you just need to talk to someone.
Going to a party hungry and stressed is a bad idea and celebrating the festive season isn’t an excuse to overindulge.
Eating healthy is an essential component of keeping stress-free and feeling good.
Drink alcohol- free. Drinks no or alcohol in moderation and don't over-do the “naughty” foods. You may regret it later if you do.
Eat healthy. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables, wholegrains and protein sources with every meal.
It is common to crave carbohydrate rich meals when stressed, so eat a high quality protein such as lean meat, eggs, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds. Fill up with the good food and you mighten want the other.
Avoid simple carbohydrates such as sweets, chips, biscuits and juices as they are low in nutrients and fibre and can have an adverse effect on mood and energy levels.
Avoid overeating by stopping a meal when you are 80% full.
Keep hydrated by drinking 2 litres of water daily and more if you are exercising or drinking alcohol.
Avoid Caffeine. Coffee, cola and other caffeine based drinks can increase the effects of stress and has a detrimental impact on sleep, resulting in an increase in time to fall asleep and poorer sleep quality.
During the silly season the incidence of alcohol-related fatalities significantly increases. It is important to drink responsibly, and don’t drink and drive. If you do plan on consuming alcohol limit yourself to 2 standard drinks and avoid drinks with added sugars from soft drink or fruit juice. Try mixing a clear spirit such as vodka with soda water and a squeeze of lemon.
If you do find yourself having more than a few drinks consider taking nutrients to help support your liver. Milk thistle can help support and protect your liver when processing alcohol and can be taken before and after drinking. B vitamins and electrolytes can be used up very quickly by the body if high amounts of alcohol are being consumed so consider taking these also.
One of the best ways to release tension and improve mood is to exercise. Aim for movement every day, whether it be using the stairs, stretching, playing a group sport, walking, swimming or cycling. It’s also an effective way to burn off those extra calories if you have overindulged.
Attending parties during the festive season can result in late nights out. Avoid staying out too late and still allow for 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night.
Allowing time for relaxation every day is very important.
Reading a book, deep breathing, meditation and listening to music can help to dispel some of that anxiety.
If sleeping is still an issue consider taking herbs to help aid in reducing stress and anxiety and improving sleep.
Examples of herbs with relaxing properties include chamomile, passionflower, zizyphus, skullcap, kava and valerian. Magnesium is another bennfical nutirents. It can improve mood and aid in relaxation of the mind and body.
Be sure to check with your doctor or naturopath before supplementing.
People who are unable to cope with chronic stress are at great risk of depression. It is important to follow the above recommendations plus consider extra help such as counselling or contact an organisation such as beyond blue (Click Here for Link). Nutrients that can be useful include omega-3 fatty acids, st John ’s wort, B vitamins, magnesium and SAM-e.
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This time of year can be overwhelming both emotionally, financially and physically for some people. Adopting some of the techniques above can help you get through the craziness of the silly season with a little bit more calm and optimism.
Barker E, et al. Suicide around public holidays. Australas Psychiatry. 2014 Apr;22(2):122-6
Sansone RA, Sansone LA. The Christmas effect on psychopathology. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2011 Dec;8(12):10-13
Vargas-Mendoza N, et al. Hepatoprotective effect of silymarin. W J Hepatol. 2014 Mar 27;6(3):144-9
Hechtman, L. (2014) Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Churchill Livingstone, Australia