It may be the season to be jolly but for many of us Christmas is the time of year when stress and anxiety levels are at their highest. Whether it is the financial demands of making Santa look real or the social complexities of sharing the day with people who always complain that the turkey is dry and prawns are too expensive and full of mercury. Christmas often requires some extra attention to our adrenal and mental well being.
If your Santa hat has fallen flat and you are lying in bed awake wondering how you are going to pay for your credit card? Here are some tips on supporting your stress levels this Christmas. The following suggestions may appear to be heavy on the supplementation. However, in increased periods of stress and when normal dietary restrictions appear to go out the window it is difficult to manage stress and anxiety solely with diet and lifestyle measures.
B GROUP VITAMINS: when we are stressed our bodies use more of our B group vitamins, in particular B5 (Pantothenic Acid) which can lower our cortisol levels. Taking a good multivitamin or activated B complex during times of stress is recommended.
MAGNESIUM: supports our stress in so many ways. It is an important co-factor in our energy production. It acts as a muscle relaxant and supports our brain’s production of GABA (gamma amino-butyric acid), therefore supporting our sleep cycle. Magnesium also helps keep our sugar craving under control, important for those who crave sugar in times of stress.
VITAMIN C: has the function of reducing our cortisol levels. In times of stress our adrenal glands chew up our vitamin C and this is how we end up getting sick early in the new year.
CO-ENZYME Q10 (CoQ10): is often associated with cardiovascular health but it also supports our energy synthesis. CoQ10 is particularly supportive for suffers of chronic fatigue.
DIGESTIVE SUPPORT: consider the effects of stress on our second brain our gut. Try to limit offending foods such as fried food and excessive sugar during times of stress. Not always easy during the festive season. Digestive herbal tonics can really be a life saver during the festive season as also a good multi-strain probiotic.
ENJOY A HERBAL TEA: instead of propping your energy levels temporarily with several coffees. Try some restorative blends of herbal teas. Camomile, ginger, licorice with cinnamon are my top teas.
ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION: for many of us it is the season to be merry, or just simply sloshed. It is no surprise that excessive alcohol consumption makes all the symptoms of stress and anxiety so much more difficult to manage. Alcohol depletes our B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc and magnesium, this is another reason why supplementation may be vital for many of us this festive period.
Before I began my study to be a nutritionist I worked for my family’s business, in fruit and vegetable markets. At Christmas it was without any exaggeration chaotic. The two days before Christmas you could have up to 5000 people trample through the doors to get their fruit and vegetables for their Christmas festivities. I think only Pyrmont Fish Markets could rival our Fruit Markets on a scale of retail madness. I remember surviving on coffee, panettone and pizza for dinner. We all worked ridiculously long hours, emotions ran high and at s
ome point, you really thought you might become the Grinch.
I honestly wish I knew then what I know now about stress management and adrenal fatigue. I would have managed my Christmas challenges with less mental burden. It wasn’t all grim tales though it was a lively establishment to work in and people really appreciated how your efforts made their Christmas dinner just perfect.