The glitzy TV ads portray the holiday season as a time to relax, enjoy good food, and generally take time out from your hectic schedule. Every year, you promise yourself that this year will be different. You’ll get organized in time, won’t overspend, and prioritize rest and fun over stress and burnout. Sound familiar?
The reality is that financial worries, social anxiety, and the stress of keeping everyone happy usually gets in the way. Despite the most determined of efforts, you’re on the roller coaster ride before you know it. Panic buying, committing to social events you don’t want to attend, and over indulging on food you wouldn’t normally consume, means you’ll need another holiday just to get over this one.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the holiday season was used for what it was designed to do – provide a well earned break from the hamster wheel of everyday life?
Rest and digest
Avoiding burnout is a priority for anyone already dealing with the drag of adrenal fatigue, but unfortunately, the holiday season (and in particular the weeks leading up to it) is often the trigger that starts blood pressure rising. If reading this post is enough to bring on those familiar feelings of doom and gloom, it’s a clear sign that you need to take a step back and plan how to use your holiday for the purpose it was designed: to rest and digest. Here are a few tips to get you on the right track:
Start your day right
How you start your day is vitally important. Adrenal fatigue sufferers often find that due to problems with fluctuating cortisol levels, starting your day on a positive note can be a real challenge.
One unusual tip for banishing stress is using a morning emotional detox. What it does is clear away those nagging voices which can start to swirl around your brain the moment you wake up, and balance out any negativity with more positive thoughts. The idea behind it is very simple.
Keep a notebook by your bed, and as soon as you wake up, write two pages of whatever comes into your head. Get all those thoughts about money worries, how much you dislike your job, why you never have time to exercise, and what you’re having for lunch out of your head and onto that page. Don’t forget to include a few things that you’re looking forward to, or that you’re thankful for. The next part is the most liberating. Take those pages, tear them up and throw them in the trash. Doing this won’t get rid of your problems, but it will subliminally tell your brain you’ve dealt with them. This is a practice that you can build into your routine throughout the year, and not just for the holiday season. It’s amazing how freeing this simple activity can be.
Since the advent of social media, the game of “keeping up with the Joneses” has been taken up a notch. Images of the “perfect” gift, outfit, or home stimulate an irresistible need to “like” and comment on friend’s feeds and join in the pointless competition by posting our own snaps so they can return the compliment. Taking a break from Facebook and Instagram is an uncomfortable proposition for many people, but turning off notifications and being present with those who are with you in “real time” is a one of the simplest solutions to reducing the stress of the season.
Flood your system with nutrition
Stress drains your body of vital nutrients, so even if you’re already eating the cleanest, healthiest diet you can, (which let’s face it – is difficult for everyone over the holiday season) you’ll probably need a little extra support. The added strains at this time of year mean it’s wise to invest in the best vitamin and mineral supplements you can afford. Throw in the fact that the change of season is traditionally a time when coughs and colds abound, and it’s important to be prepared and give your body all the support you can to avoid getting ill. B vitamins are thought to be beneficial in supporting the healthy functioning of the nervous system, and there are many over the counter herbal products that can support your body holistically during times of stress.
If you’re working with a naturopath or holistic health practitioner, now’s the time to ask for advice about which supplements are best for you.
Alcohol: A help or a hindrance?
This is much easier said than done, but don’t be tempted to use alcohol as a way to relax. Consuming alcohol may temporarily give you a boost of energy and lift your mood, but it also requires your adrenal glands to kick into action in order to maintain homeostasis. Drinking alcohol only places additional strain on your adrenal glands and HPA axis, leading to even more fatigue.
Drinking doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of the party season, if you don’t want to drink, then you don’t have to. If you’re attending functions where alcohol is going to be a prominent feature, offer to be the nominated driver. This means you won’t need to succumb to the pressure to join in, but you can still enjoy the party.
The holiday season was designed to give you a break. Use it wisely. Make a conscious choice to focus your energy on rest and digest and devise strategies for self care. Your body will thank you for it.