Holiday Health Survival Guide: Tips to Prevent Burnout
From Thanksgiving to New Years the lack of sleep, too many drinks, overindulgent meals, and nights at the in-laws can turn our focus from celebration to simply trying to cope.
Below I share recommendations to help you maintain balance when it comes to digestion, stress, and sleep so you can face the holiday season head on...
It’s important to understand how the whole stress response works, why it goes wrong and why, over time, your adrenal glands (those little organs that sit on top of your kidneys) are not able to compensate for the chronic stress that you have in your life. Add the mental, emotional, and physical stress of the holidays and you've got the perfect recipe for frying your adrenals.
At Motherhood Medicine, we do saliva testing to measure cortisol levels throughout the day. When you have adrenal burnout, your cortisol starts to go down and you can’t respond normally to the stresses of life--you end up just feeling tired and crummy most of the time. We push ourselves with coffee, sugar, and other stimulants to feel better, but it just doesn't work.
Here I share 6 heavy hitters when it comes to surviving, or straight up preventing holiday burnout.
EAT TO HEAL: I generally recommend doing your best to eat a whole-food, anti-inflammatory diet on days there are no holiday parties or meals. But be gentle with yourself and don't set strict rules or restrictions! Focus on foods with good sources of omega-3 fats (like wild fish), berries (rich in polyphenols); dark green leafy vegetables (make sure you rotate your greens!), sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds, and more. To really kick it up a notch, add anti-inflammatory herbs like garlic, turmeric, ginger, and rosemary to your daily diet. Do your best to eliminate inflammatory foods such as refined sugars, processed foods, and hydrogenated oils.
DON’T BE SKIMPY: On days where you are expecting a big meal, begin your day as any other day. Do not skip meals to save calories or carbohydrates for later use!! Recovering from skipping meals is incredibly hard on your body, especially if you have adrenal dysfunction. If you are hungry but don't want to get too much, try a protein-packed snack an hour before your holiday meal. One of my family favorites is apple slices with almond butter.
TAKE DIGESTIVE ENZYMES + PROBIOTICS: Big meal on your plate? Digestive enzymes help your body break down protein, dairy, carbohydrates and fats to improve nutrient absorption and reduce unwanted effects of indigestion. And let's not forget probiotics--your best friend this holiday season! Probiotics optimize the digestive system, help with heartburn and indigestion, reduce gas and bloating for a flatter tummy, boost overall immune system function and even enhance the ability to cope with stress and anxiety due to their impact on neurotransmitter synthesis. Although I recommend taking a probiotic year round for optimal well-being, I highly recommend it during the holiday season to keep your gut flora in balance.
CHILL OUT: Find ways to unwind and discharge unwanted energy. I like to spend time in my garden or take a hot bath at night. Take two cups of epsom salts, 5 drops of lavender oil, and maybe a few crystals and soak for 20 minutes. Lavender oil lowers cortisol and helps to balance the whole hormonal system. After this bath, you will end up with a really decreased stress response. Another great way to unload stress is to gather with friends for a fun activity. I will be hosting a Medicine Making workshop at Hatched Collective on December 12th which is going to be pretty dang fun. Find out details here.
HONOR THE RHYTHMS: Rhythms are the key to health because your hormones are balanced in rhythms. This means waking at the same time every day, going to bed at the same time every day, eating at the same time every day, etc. Do your best to stay on track as these are the rhythms that help to reset your natural balance. One of the coolest and most profound ways of getting in rhythm is by attuning yourself to the rhythms of the moon. It may sound a little crazy, but the beneficial changes are undeniable. Read more about it here.
MANAGE STRESS + DEPLETION WITH ADAPTOGENIC HERBS: Stresses of the holidays got you down? Supplements are one of the simplest ways to boost your mood and adrenals. I use personalized blends of wonderful herbs called adaptogens with my clients because they help you adapt to stress. Siberian Ginseng, Rhodiola or Cordyceps are all wonderful herbs that help your stress response, but each is indicated in different presentations of stress so make sure to work closely with your doctor. Pro-tip: Take an additional adaptogen dose a few hours before heading into a stressful family, work or travel situation. You'll thank me later!
Also, here is a friendly reminder of the Holiday discount I am running!
If you are a current patient, and you refer a friend who books an appointment, you each will get $50 off your next appointment. This means a total of $100 off for you and a friend!
Want to be a new patient and don’t have a friend to refer you? No worries, you still get $50 off as well!
If you have been toying with the idea of diving deep and achieving radiant health, or have been living with health concerns that aren’t getting any better, now is the time to take the next step. Let's set something up TODAY!