The holidays are often a busy and stressful time. The fast pace can lead to an increase in stress hormones, blood sugar fluctuations, cravings and over-eating. The following are some simple strategies that can help you stay grounded and keep your hand out of the cookie jar.
Schedule Your Self-Care
Creating a self-care plan BEFORE the madness begins can help keep stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol in check! Stress hormones affect mood, blood sugar levels, appetite and food cravings – tempting us to overindulge in sweets, treats and alcohol.
Self-care is often something that is prioritized when we have time, but then let go when we need it most. Keep it simple and enjoyable! Examples may include taking time every morning to enjoy a healthy breakfast, a bath at the end of the day, an acupuncture session, a morning walk or going to bed early 1-2 nights per week. Your self-care should keep you in balance and help relieve stress.
- Prioritize your self-care. Schedule it in as you would a hair appointment or a business meeting.
- Make your self-care into a ritual. If it’s a bath or an early night – enjoy it by lighting candles, make a soothing tea or hanging a do not disturb sign on the door.
- Hold the intention of wellness. If it becomes a “should” or a chore, try to reset your intention around why you are doing it.
Don’t go hungry
Many people tend to go to one extreme or another when they are busy and stressed out. They will either eat unconsciously and over-consume or forget to eat all together. Both extremes wreak havoc on blood sugar and hormone levels. The resulting blood sugar fluctuations and increased stress hormones can lead to sugar and alcohol cravings, over-eating, mood fluctuations and poor quality of sleep.
- Plan your meals and eat regularly.
- Grab a protein snack when you’re hungry rather than a simple carbohydrate snack, like chips or cookies. Simple carbohydrates will keep you wanting more, versus a protein snack that will stabilize blood sugar and help you feel more satisfied.
- Chromium is a mineral that will help support healthy blood sugar levels when taken regularly with meals.
Conscious eating allows your mind and stomach to communicate, which will improve digestion and prevent over-eating. Incorporate all your senses in the experience of eating. Look at your food and smell it before beginning your meal. This alerts your body that food is coming, saliva will begin to flow and your stomach will begin gurgling and producing hydrochloric acid. Your body is now preparing for food, which will greatly help in digestion. You will also be more likely to hear the “I am full” feedback from your stomach, which will help prevent over-eating.
- Be present to your meal and incorporate healthy eating habits, such as sitting down to eat without distractions, slowing down and chewing well.
- Avoid excessive amounts of water or other beverages when you eat.
- Apple cider vinegar or herbal bitters taken in a small amount of water before meals can help improve digestion and decrease gas, bloating and heart burn after your meals.