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There’s a very popular song that states “Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.  In many ways the winter holidays whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, or Kwanzaa, bring an opportunity for all kinds of fun adventures.  We often see friends and family we’ve missed, we find ourselves invited to all kinds of parties or services.  We purchase gifts for those we love and even partake of our favorite family food.

But this time of year can be a real battle both physically and even emotionally.  The strains of a packed schedule and financial obligations outside of our norm often create a significant amount of stress.  While festive office parties and even church socials can be enjoyable, there’s often a significant amount of food found at these events, causing us to eat outside our norm.  So here are a few real life suggestions to help through the holidays.

1.  Maintain your regular adjusting schedule.  With visiting family members, school plays, and holiday travel, we often put ourselves at the bottom of the care list.  It’s especially important that you follow through with regular adjustments even when you are busy.  In fact, it’s even more important to keep your spine in good health and more importantly your nervous system running at its optimal.

2.  Keep your eating as close to your routine as possible.  There are lots of sugary treats around the holidays.  Because we know that eating sugar can cause both a sugar high and subsequent “crash”, limit your intake of these types of foods.  Also, if you know that you will be facing a big dinner out, modify your other meals of the day to accommodate the change in both types and quantity of foods.

3.  Keep your exercise routine too.  Exercise allows the release of hormones that simply put…make us feel good.  “Holiday blues” are very common this time of year.  One good way to keep depression at bay is to stay active.  It also can help us keep from putting on a few extra pounds after nights with egg nog, pumpkin pie, and a whole host of other goodies.  Don’t blow off your pilates class.  In fact be even more committed if possible.  Additionally, good exercise habits will help with the next suggestion.

4.  Don’t let yourself get too tired.  Our bodies repair themselves at night.  So when we skip out on sleep to head to a midnight sales or stay out late, our body may have a harder time fighting off little bugs.  Sleep deprivation can also lead to increased levels of cortisol.  High levels of cortisol can weaken our immune system and even affect our blood pressure.  Do the best you can to still get as close to 8 hours sleep as possible.   Just as importantly, make sure that your kids keep getting enough sleep too, even though they may be out of school and out of their routine.

5.  Moderate your alcohol consumption.  Alcoholic beverages can be festive and fun.  But keep two things in mind.  Alcohol eventually turns into sugar in your body.  See suggestion #2 for how this can affect you!  Also remember that alcohol is a merry maker that eventually is a depressant.  If you battle this issue, minimize your alcohol consumption.  Even if you don’t normally, be mindful that it can leave you feeling blue.

6.  Celebrate!  Find ways to celebrate all the blessings in your life, including your health.  We often take simple things like waking up each day, being able to walk where we want, being able to see a beautiful sunset.  Recognize these gifts and you look forward to a brand new year.