Tis the Season for Stress
Updated: Nov 1, 2020
Another month has come and gone. The holidays are getting closer, and our immune system has is being challenged. Not only are we working our 9-5 jobs, but somehow we are adding more to our schedule. We manage to fit in holiday parties, shopping, cooking, traveling, cleaning, wrapping, decorating, and more shopping. We eat more, and we sleep less. There is an increase in input and output that keeps us running so high strung that we tend to forget about taking care of ourselves.
The holiday season is one of the most significant anxiety-inducing times of the year. We tend to push our bodies more without giving back proper care. We worry about gift-giving and meal cooking. Oh, and the in-laws are coming to stay in that spare bedroom you haven’t cleaned since last year. That was a joke, but I hope you get the idea. For this time of year to be so magical, we put ourselves through an awful amount of stress.
The stress response is the body’s natural defense mechanism against a threat. This response came in handy when our paleo ancestors had to run from tigers or other large dangerous creatures to survive. When faced with danger, essential metabolic functions like digestion cease to function correctly so that the body can put more energy into processing fuel for the upcoming fight or flee. Our heart rate increases, our muscles become tense, our breathing rate picks up, and we start to sweat, all prompted by the cascade of stress hormones telling our body we will now have to fight for our life.
Some of those bodily functions of the stress response sound too much like a day of work? There are no tigers in your office, technically speaking. The stress response is only supposed to be temporary. As mentioned previously, many essential bodily functions are compromised when we stay in a state of chronic stress like digestion, bowel movements, and blood pressure. Long term stress increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, suppressed immune response, obesity, and much more.
There are so many other healthy habits that we can do to break the cycle of stress, whether it be work-related or seasonal. Adaptogen herbs, like ashwagandha, help balance the body's natural response to stress longer-term. Nervine herbs, like passionflower, may have a calming response for short term results. To learn more about health supplements, herbs, food, and lifestyle choices that help balance and manage stress, schedule a 1-on-1 session with me. We can discuss your wellness goals and how managing stress can build resiliency to help you achieve them.