The holidays can be a time to relax and enjoy time with your family. And they can also be a time to run yourself ragged trying to make holiday magic happen for others. On top of this, some struggle with seasonal depression from reduced sunlight and fewer opportunities to exercise. While winter can be an enchanting time, the additional stress to take a toll on our health. Stress reduces our ability to fight off infections, making us more susceptible to winter colds and flu. In addition, long-term stress can increase the risk for diabetes, ulcers, osteoporosis, certain cancers, heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease. Stress can also contribute to mood issues such as anxiety and depression.
So as the holiday season gets into full swing, it is time to come up with a plan to reduce the negative impact so you can enjoy the good parts of the season.
First, give yourself some “me” time. As I mentioned in my last blog, you deserve the time to be healthy.
Practice your stress coping skills. Choose what works for you and make some time for it. Laughter, journaling, reading, prayer, meditation, imagery, writing, exercise, deep breathing, cultivating positive attitudes, and physical expressions of emotions are some of the more common techniques people have found to creatively manage their stress.
Try calming herbs. Herbs taken as supplements or teas can help calm the mind. Popular calming herbs like kava, skullcap, and California poppy can be found in capsules or liquid tinctures. Or make your own tea blends from relaxing herbs like lemon balm, catnip, passionflower, lavender, st. john’s wort, and chamomile.
Here is a recipe I like:
- ¼ cup chamomile flowers
- ¼ cup lemon balm leaves
- ¼ cup passionflower leaves
- 2 Tbs catnip leaves
- 2 Tbs lavender leaves
Mixes these together. To make the tea, place 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of the blend in one cup of water that was just boiling. Steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered. Strain the tea, or remove the tea ball if you were using one. Sweeten with honey or stevia if desired.
You can also try your own creation. You might like it so much that you decide to share it with someone on your gift list. Include a tea ball or strainer and a recipe card so they can make more later.
If all else fails, buy yourself a Christmas present.