The Winter Holidays are a seasonal favorite for most people. This is the time of year when we get together with family and friends to enjoy all the special foods, decorations, gift exchanges and have some form of celebration. Even if we try to avoid all the Holiday fun and prefer this time of year to be low-key, all the buzz around us, with Holiday music playing everywhere and the festive fever showing in every window and television screen, is a reminder .

For some people all the joy and extra activities can be stressful, especially when coping with mounting expectations that could signal extra expenses and certainly results in lots of extra work! That can provide a bit more stress than is comfortable and can mean this seasonal joy comes with a few headaches, maybe some sleepless nights, and certainly some anxiety and perhaps a dose of occasional panic as the special day approaches and there are more things to do than there is time. Children can also experience stress caused by over-stimulation, over-socialization, too much sugar, and not enough sleep.  

Stress can also be triggered by “positive experiences.”

Such as moments of celebration, joy of the holidays, family gathering, etc.  Whether the event is happy or sad, our adrenal glands don’t know the difference and they simply produce the same stress chemicals.  When under stress, the central nervous goes into a fight or flight response.  This has a physiological response.  Heart rate increases, lungs dilate, digestive abilities decrease, elimination slows down, the immune system deteriorates.  In other words, the stress from the holidays often weakens our immune system and increases our chance of getting sick.  

What can we do to prevent this?

From a natural wellness perspective, we must first learn to acknowledge our feelings.  If we are sad or anxious, we must recognize our feelings and learn to take care of ourselves accordingly.  Make a list of de-stressing activities such as a bubble bath, a yoga class, taking a walk, etc.  Next, learn to set aside differences.  Instead of focusing on the negative and our differences, focus on the positive and our similarities.  

Also, make sure to let go of being a perfectionist.  As my friend’s child said, ‘Don’t you know there is no such thing as ‘perfect’; ‘perfect’ is make believe.”  When we can let go of making everything ‘perfect’, the magic of the holidays can emerge.  Remember, it’s not about what is on the outside; rather, the holidays are about what’s on the inside - the heart and family.     

The next tool for destressing the holidays is to plan ahead.

Don’t go overboard.  Be realistic about expectations.  Learn to say no. That way you can stay within budget.   Don’t give up healthy habits.  Take time for yourself.  Make sure to take your immune strengthening supplements.

Vitamin C, for example, is essential for a healthy immune system.  It fights free radicals and combats nitrates (cancer causing preservatives found in packaged foods).  Vitamin D is also mandatory for a strong immune system and overall health.  Echinacea is an herb that encourages the immune system and reduces many of the symptoms of colds, flu and other illnesses, and infections. In 1995, Elderberry was used to treat the flu epidemic in Panama. In the USA, it is used to treat flu, coughs, colds, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis.   Astragalus is an adaptogen that lowers cortisol levels, boosts the immune system, is antiviral and has many other health benefits.  Oregano, commonly used in cooking but can be therapeutically utilized in supplement form, is antibacterial and is used to treat common colds, intestinal worms and parasites.  Lastly, Colloidal Silver is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral and is used to treat eye, ear, and sinus infections.  It has also been proven to prevent colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, etc.

Many of the above supplements can be taken as a preventive measure.  Make sure, however, that you do take them at the first onset of symptoms.    

 

 

Practitioner Recommendations

Supplements

Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Echinacea
Elderberry
Astragalus
Oregano
Ginger
Colloidal silver

Lifestyle Changes                           

Get adequate rest and sleep   
Get regular exercise   

Dietary Changes

Limit sugar
Limit refined carbohydrates

 

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This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition. The information in this article is for educational purposes only.