Stress Relief During the Holidays

| by Dr. Lynda Torrey, under Wellness


The holidays, what a joyful time of year!  They can also be quite stressful.  Even as we prepare for this sacred season, there is so much hustle and bustle involved in planning events with our children, schools, church, parties, out-of-town trips and the list goes on and on.  Stress can cause a myriad of health related challenges such as heart disease, cancer, depression/anxiety, obesity, skin disorders, chronic pain, just to name a few.  A study done by Duke University Medical Center researchers that can be viewed on, describes “a specific mechanism through which elevated adrenaline-a hallmark of chronic stress-could eventually cause DNA damage that is detectable”.

 Wouldn’t it be wonderful to give a gift of wellness like body massage, body treatments, facials and pedicures that will help reduce stress and induce relaxation and rejuvenation?   Bianca in Plano, Texas thinks so.  Here are her comments:

“I’m a new mother and have had a string of illnesses in my family. Needless to say, I was tired, stressed out, on the edge of chaos.  Afterwards I’m relaxed, rejuvenated and eternally grateful for the experience!  Thank you!  I’m ready to take on the world.”

Following are some other great ways that we can help reduce stress in our daily lives:

  1. Delectable de-stressors – these foods can help us keep a calm countenance in the midst of chaos:
    1. Vitamin C found in citrus fruit is one of nature’s tranquilizers and is found to boost the immune system, normalize blood pressure and balance the stress hormone cortisol.
    2. Salmon and other fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids help protect against heart disease and balance cortisol and adrenalin.
    3. Avocado delivers more potassium punch than a medium size banana.  Potassium helps regulate blood pressure.
    4. Certain nuts help minimize adrenaline triggered cardiovascular response to stress, lower blood pressure and help balance insulin production.  Try a handful of pistachios, walnuts or almonds today!
    5. I wonder if our ancestors knew how stressed out we were going to feel around the holidays when turkey became the traditional protein source?  L-tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey triggers release of serotonin, the brain chemical that makes us feel so calm and content.
    6. Greens-the dark green vegetables help with depletion due to stress.  One cup of spinach alone helps fight fatigue and headaches by providing 40% of the magnesium needed by your body in chronic stress situations.  No wonder it was Popeye’s choice.
    7. Don’t forget hydration.  Dehydration is always a factor in stress situations.  Eat plenty of mineral rich foods, supplementing with plenty of water.
  2. Plan and Simplify -Has there been an area that you can define that has caused you even more stress?  Look for creative ways to simplify or scale down.  Design a plan that makes sense to all involved.  Learn to graciously and kindly just say no. Develop a spending plan and stick to it.  Easier said than done, right?
  3. Most importantly, keep in your heart that this is a season of togetherness, peace, joy, love, understanding, grace and blessings.  If we are able to keep this in our mind and heart, the holidays will be delightfully (mostly) stress-free.
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