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7 Ways to Prevent Overwhelm & Illness this Christmas

Support your body with these stress-relieving practices

The festive season is upon us, bringing joy, celebration, and unfortunately, often a dose of stress. With the holiday hustle and bustle, it’s easy to find ourselves overwhelmed and stressed out.

This year, prioritise your well-being to prevent overwhelm and illness by incorporating these stress-relieving herbs, immune-boosting foods and energy-promoting nutrients into your daily routine. Simple dietary and lifestyle practices can have a profound impact on how you feel and approach various aspects of life.

How stress affects the immune system

Stress can significantly influence the immune system. When the body experiences stress, whether from psychological or physical sources, it triggers a cascade of hormonal changes, including the release of cortisol. While cortisol is essential for managing stress, chronic stress can lead to an overproduction of this hormone, which, in turn, may suppress the immune system. Prolonged stress can impair the immune response, making the body more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Introducing stress-management techniques into your lifestyle becomes crucial in supporting overall immune health.

Ways to beat stress this Christmas

Stress-Relieving Herbs

Herbs have been cherished for centuries for their therapeutic properties, and they can be powerful allies during the holiday season. To combat stress and protect your nervous system, incorporating stress-relieving herbs into your routine, such as Chamomile, Lavender, Passionflower, and energy-boosting adaptogens such as Ashwagandha, Siberian Ginseng or Rhodiola, can be incredibly helpful. These herbs can be enjoyed as soothing teas or taken as a tincture for a more therapeutic dose. Their calming effects can help take the edge off during busy times and promote a sense of tranquillity. The beauty of herbal tinctures lies in their adaptability, allowing a qualified herbalist to create a personalised liquid herbal blend tailored to individual needs.

Eat Immune-Boosting Foods

A well-nourished body is better equipped to handle stress and bolster the immune system. Follow the principles of CNM’s Naturopathic Diet and opt for nutrient-dense foods rich in vitamins and minerals, including colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains and quality proteins. Add immune-boosting foods like garlic, ginger and turmeric to your meals. These ingredients have anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties, providing your body with the support it needs during the festive season. Don’t forget about foods that nourish your gut like bone broth, probiotic-rich fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut) and fibre-rich foods like Brussels sprouts, leeks, asparagus and artichoke that provide prebiotics to nourish beneficial gut bacteria.

B vitamins & Magnesium for Boosting Energy

Increasing your intake of B vitamins and magnesium can be a key strategy in supporting your body’s response to stress. B vitamins, including B6, B9 (folate) and B12, play crucial roles in neurotransmitter synthesis and regulation.

These neurotransmitters are essential for mood regulation, and an adequate supply of B vitamins contributes to their balanced production.

Deficiencies in B vitamins have been linked to symptoms of anxiety and depression. Magnesium is a vital mineral involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including those related to stress management. It acts as a natural relaxant, helping to calm the nervous system and reduce muscle tension. In times of stress, the body may use up magnesium more quickly, making it important to ensure an adequate intake.

To boost your B vitamins and magnesium levels, include foods such as whole grains, leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes into your diet. Before supplementing with any vitamin and mineral, we recommend consulting with a qualified nutritionist or naturopath so they can advise you on the correct dose.

Bach Flowers for Overwhelm

Bach Flower Remedies, developed by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1930s, are a natural and gentle approach to emotional well-being. They work by addressing the emotional and mental aspects of stress and overwhelm, helping to bring these aspects back into balance. They are typically taken orally in drop form, either directly under the tongue or diluted in water. For stress and overwhelm, several Bach Flower Remedies are commonly recommended:

  • Rescue Remedy is a blend of five Bach flowers designed to provide immediate comfort during times of stress or crisis. It can be particularly helpful for acute feelings of overwhelm.
  • Elm is for when you’re feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities and tasks as it can help restore a sense of balance and confidence.
  • Rock Rose helps in situations where fear is at the forefront and contributes to feelings of overwhelm. It can provide courage and calmness.
  • Impatiens is for impatience and irritability that contributes to stress. It can help bring about a sense of patience and tranquillity.
  • Cherry Plum is useful when you fear losing control or feel on the verge of a breakdown as it promotes inner strength and composure.

Balance Energy Flow with Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an integral component of traditional Chinese medicine that offers a holistic approach to stress reduction and immune support. By inserting thin needles into specific points on the body, acupuncture aims to balance the flow of energy, or qi, within the body. This ancient practice has been associated with stress reduction, improved sleep and enhanced immune function. Consider scheduling an acupuncture session to promote a sense of balance and vitality during the holidays.

Make Time for Mindfulness

Amidst the holiday chaos, carve out moments for mindfulness. Whether it’s time to sit and breath, go for a nature walk, or simply savour cup of herbal tea – these mindful pauses can be transformative. Mindfulness practices have shown to reduce stress, improve mood and enhance overall well-being. By incorporating these moments into your day, you create a buffer against the hustle and bustle, allowing you to navigate the holiday season with greater calmness.

Prioritise Restful Nights

Adequate sleep is a cornerstone of both stress resilience and immune health. Create a sleep sanctuary by optimising your bedroom environment – keep it cool, dark, and free from electronic devices. Establish a calming bedtime routine, incorporating relaxation techniques such as gentle stretching or reading. Quality sleep supports the body’s ability to recover from stress and allows the immune system to function optimally, ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready to embrace the festive activities.

Holistic approach to stress management

This festive season, try to embrace a holistic approach to well-being that extends beyond the tinsel and trimmings. Getting restful sleep and integrating stress-relieving herbs, immune-boosting nutrition and mindful lifestyle practices can help you navigate the holiday season with greater ease. When you prioritise self-care, you are proactively nurturing your emotional well-being which can significantly contribute to stress reduction and make the festive season much more enjoyable.

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Blog/Article content reflects the author's research and diverse opinions, not necessarily CNM's views. Items may not be regularly updated, so represent the best available understanding at the time of publication.

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