Holiday Stress 

and its impact on Body and Mind 

Christmas is a magical moment of the year, where we are invited to re-connect with our true Self and give birth to real being, full of joy, peace and love. But unfortunately for many of us it has become a season of stress, which ends up everybody being exhausted. Understanding the way how our body reacts to stress can help us to find ways to enjoy all beauty that the holidays offer without suffering.

Many stressors

Christmas time brings many stressors: the pressure and financial burden of finding the perfect presents, the tensions of family dynamics, lack of time to fit in all you have to do and the temptation to indulge in different foods – on top of our usual workload and obligations. It is no coincidence that we always come down with the annual cold or flu during or just after the winter holidays. Or that we later have great difficulties to close our pants.

Let’s put it like this: stress in itself doesn’t exist. It only arises from the ways in which we respond to those challenges. So depending on how we react on those different demands that can have short or long-term effect on our mind and body health, which has to do with powerful mind-body connection.

The response to stress 

There is a whole range of emotions that can trigger physiological changes in our body, from anxiety to hate, from irritation to fear. A cascade of stress hormones are involved in this process while we may try to maintain balance during the storm. Neurological pathways and biochemical reactions throughout the body are included in this process. We may feel it in our body: a racing heart, unusual breathing, tensions in the neck, hot or cold or problems with the digestion. This is why holiday traditions, stressors like coping with family gatherings or packed shopping malls may result in physical problems.

Fight or flight

This way to react to stress is also known as the fight-or-flight response. It has been developed in mankind as a survival mechanism, which enables to respond quickly to life-threatening situations. As in modern life multitasking, constant stimulation and activation of the mind are a regular part of life, the stress has become incessant. And that’s why your body can also overreact to stressors that are not life-threatening, such as discussions with family members or actions around giving and receiving gifts.

The key role of Insulin

When there is stress the body releases hormones, such as cortisol or epinephrine. This secures that there is enough energy to go trough difficult moments. During this process while coping with stress also the blood sugar levels rises; and that’s why afterwards insulin is released in order to reduce the blood sugar levels back into normal.

Insulin plays a key role in regulating the amount of glucose being taken from the bloodstream into the cells. But when this cycle is chronically and repeatedly activated due to stress, the signaling process can become impaired, and our cells can become resistant to insulin. This can have far-reaching consequences. Some common metabolic problems due to too much stress are insuline resistance, blood sugar imbalances  and weight gain, especially in the belly area. The threat of holiday weight gain is increased further when you are tempted with so many Christmas sweets and other food that may not normally be part of your lifestyle; or not in this amount.

Slow down, choose priorities

Let’s return to where we started: stress in itself doesn’t exist. It arises from the ways in which we respond to challenges! So, a great start to reducing our holiday stress, or better to eliminate it, is to slow down. This gives us space to choose our priorities.

So here we are again: Christmas time!!

Let’s celebrate fully with giving your body, mind and spirit a fresh start, a real life.

Commit to healthier habits, and over all: meditate, keep your inner house clean!

Like this it is very easy to capture the magic of Christmas.

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; it is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.