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How to best manage (holiday) stress

Holiday stress? Isn’t it ironic to have these 2 words in one sentence??

Shouldn’t the holiday period be a time where you relax? The reality for most people looks like an extra busy time at work to wrap up last projects, get the billing sorted, reporting done, bookkeeping, getting budget approvals for next year, planning out your marketing… ah, you know what I’m talking about!

And then on top of that there’s finding and buying gifts for the kids, family, friends, attending or hosting a ton of social gatherings - more shopping, cooking, cleaning, traveling…

And there’s actually other sources of stress, that we are often not aware of:

  • Blood sugar imbalance and nutrient deficiencies

  • Chronic (underlying) infections (that you may not even know you have like Epstein-Barr virus, Lyme disease, gut infections & mold or other toxicity), but also autoimmune conditions and cancer.⁠

  • ⁠Childhood trauma and trauma in general has a deep impact on your physical and mental wellbeing

  • ⁠The things you may not even consider stressful in your day-to-day life, like:⁠

    • That intense spinning or Crossfit class

    • Skipping or delaying meals

    • The glass of wine you have at night to destress from work

    • EMF (electromagnetic frequency) exposure from your cell phone and laptop⁠

    • The streetlight that shines in your bedroom window at night or the light-emitting devices in your bedroom. ⁠

Phew so it’s actually a lot of (extra) stress plus lots of sugar, carbs, alcohol and all the seasonal treats you cannot or don’t want to say no to… Ok, let’s stop here and talk about what you can do to help your body & hormones get through this period with the least damage ;-)

But before one last thing… Did you know that the way you react to stress also depends on your genetic makeup?

There are a few genes that affect how you will react to stress:

  • BDNF: A gene involved in the survival, development and function of brain cells

  • DRDs: A group of Dopamine receptors – these are very important as they play an essential role in regulating your emotions

  • HTR1A: Manages the various actions of serotonin – a brain chemical, which plays a role in how you experience satisfaction, happiness and optimism

  • COMT & MAOA: Are enzymes that break down brain chemicals vital in mood and behavior

I just ordered my genetic test and am really curious to see what comes out of it. Can’t wait to use this information to truly individualize my nutrition and lifestyle!

Here are my 7 best tips for damage control during times of high stress:

  1. Always support your liver (who has to process everything you ingest):

    1. start your morning with lemon water & minerals (squeeze half an organic lemon in warm water and add a pinch of sea salt or himalayan salt)

    2. Use liver loving herbs like milk thistle, dandelion, desmodium, black radish, artichoke to support your liver during this time: drink herbal infusions, or take in form of supplements or tinctures

    3. Make castor oil packs -> go back to this article to see how to do it

    4. Go back to my article on liver support here

  2. Download my blood sugar cheat sheet and apply the tips to manage your blood sugar levels (this will also help your liver!)

  3. Do 1 minute of deep belly breathing every day - if you tend to forget it, do it immediately when you get up

  4. Keep a positive mindset – recall one thing you’re grateful for each day before you go to sleep.

  5. Get in minimum 20 minutes of fresh air, exercise or walking every day

  6. Don’t worry! Ask yourself what is the WORST thing that could happen? See? It’s probably half as bad is it?

  7. Get organized: get out your calendar and make a plan

    1. Meals & shopping list - looking for inspiration? Go back to my article on holiday meal recipes

    2. Gifts, emails, postcard list

    3. Plan in white space for you to get in your walk or 5 minutes of nothingness 🙂

Enjoy the holidays and take it easy!!!

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