What comes to mind when you hear the word “holidays”? A magical time of love, peace, snowflakes, and candy canes? Or, does stress sometimes get in the way of your enjoyment of this time?
Stress can have a real effect on health, including keeping digestion from working properly, raising chances of coming down with a cold or flu, increasing blood sugar, and promoting weight gain. With high levels of stress, our bodies have higher levels of inflammation, a major risk factor for many diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, depression, and heart disease.
One proven technique to combat stress is mindfulness—the practice of being fully aware of the present moment. It is accepting emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations, without judgement.
The good news is that we have many tools to increase mindfulness and help reduce stress! Here are some things to try:
- Bring yourself into the present moment. Take a few minutes to focus on the sights, sounds, and sensations that you may normally never notice. Make yourself a hot cup of Soothing Lemon & Honey Lift and slowly savor the warmth, smell, and taste.
- Breathe. Taking deep, slow breaths is a simple, but effective way to relax the body and mind. Try “belly breathing.” Completely fill your lungs, allowing your belly to rise and fall with each breath.
- Eat mindfully. Take time to slow down and notice your food and the way it makes you feel. Instead of eating candied nuts by the handful, eat them one at a time, noticing the smell, taste, and texture. Be mindful of internal hunger and fullness cues to avoid overeating when stressed.
- Feel gratitude. Take a moment to think about something for which you are grateful. It can be anything, big or small. Studies show this increases happiness and can even decrease doctor’s visits.
- Perform acts of kindness. Research shows that doing simple things for others can help decrease daily stress levels. This can be as simple as making an extra effort to hold the door for someone.
Have a merry and mindful holiday!
Relieve Stress During the Holidays:
- Bring yourself into the present moment
- Breathe deeply
- Eat mindfully
- Feel gratitude
- Perform acts of kindness
Soothing Lemon & Honey Lift
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 1 -2 T. honey
- 1 cup hot water
Add lemon juice and honey
to a mug. Stir in hot water. Adjust ingredients, to taste.
(Optional: Add a slice of fresh ginger!)