The holiday season is upon us. In theory this is the most wonderful and joyous time of the year. For many of us, however, this season can be extremely stressful and physically draining. From the slew of holiday parties and gatherings we feel the need to attend, to the thought of spending time with family we may have tension with, the holidays can have negative effects on our overall well-being.
If you are prone to holiday anxiety and depression, don’t brush it off. There are many ways to handle the holiday blues. Staying healthy during this time of the year is very important. Try not to resort to drugs and other medicinal solutions with possible long-term effects. Instead, consider the following natural treatments to help you beat holiday depression.
Understand Adrenal Health
The first step on the road to recovery, from the stress and anxiety of the holidays, is to understand the possible root cause. A possible cause is adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a state where your body feels tired and worn out all of the time. Adrenal fatigue is also a condition that is correlated to stress. If you are constantly lacking energy or feeling overwhelmed, especially during the holidays, it is a good idea to get your adrenal health checked.
Adrenal fatigue occurs when your adrenal glands are performing below their optimal levels. The main function of your adrenal glands is to produce and regulate the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol balance is vital to overall health. Too much cortisol in the body can cause weight gain, mood swings, anxiety and depression. Too little cortisol can result in dizziness, fatigue and weight loss.
Rest and Watch What You Eat
If you believe that you might be suffering from adrenal fatigue, or simply can’t handle the stress of the holidays, make sure that you are getting plenty of sleep. Additionally, stick to eating healthy by consuming plenty of whole foods and decreasing or eliminating your sugar intake. It’s also a good idea to abstain from coffee until you feel better.
If you’re unsure whether your adrenal health may be causing your holiday depression, or if you still don’t feel better after plenty of rest and eating healthy, there are tests that can be performed to check your adrenal health. Our offices in Edina, Minnesota can provide these tests.
Get Plenty of Vitamin C
While watching what you eat, make sure that you are getting plenty of vitamin C from citrus fruits and brightly colored veggies. Vitamin C is important for helping return cortisol to normal levels. The late fall, winter and early spring months are prime time for fresh in-season citrus. Therefore, you should have no problem getting your hands on oranges, mandarins, grapefruits and more during the holiday season. Perhaps Mother Nature set it up this way to help us manage our stress and cortisol levels during the holidays?
In addition to consuming citrus, a study[i] found that simply inhaling citrus scents for 10 to 30 minutes could alleviate negative emotional stress. If you aren’t a fan of eating citrus fruits, or simply want to incorporate more citrus into your life, add citrus scented candles, essential oils or body wash to your daily routine.
Practice Stress Relieving Activities
The holidays are a time of giving and a time to be considerate of others. With that said, it can be very easy to forget about taking care of yourself this season. Make sure that you have plenty of “me time”. Use this time to practice stress relieving activities like working out, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises or getting a massage.
Holiday anxiety and depression is often heightened when we’re constantly jumping from one thing to another without any time to step back and unwind. Make sure you are taking time out to relax and reconnect with yourself.
You Don’t Have to do it All
Holiday parties, group potlucks, secret Santa’s, white elephants and more show up in abundance during the holiday season. Although you may feel obligated to get into the holiday spirit by attending and participating in every event that you receive an invitation to, remember that you don’t have to do them all.
If by taking part in these activities you feel stressed or anxious, which affects your overall health, by all means, be okay with politely declining. You may also consider limiting yourself to only those events that you would regret not attending.
Seek Professional Help
Letting stress, anxiety, and adrenal fatigue linger, without doing anything to help alleviate them, can have long-term effects. These effects include a weakened immune system, chronic exhaustion, dark circles around the eyes and short-term memory loss.
If you have tried the above tips, but your holiday stress, anxiety and depression continues to be more than you can handle, it is time to see a professional. The naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care are conveniently located in the Twin Cities metropolitan area in Edina and Woodbury. We can assist with everything from running tests to find the root cause of your ailment, to prescribing natural treatments. Call to schedule your appointment at 612-564-2218.
Dr. Katie and Dr. Rachel are Naturopathic Doctors serving the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas. Their goal is to address the underlying cause by using natural remedies. We love what we do and would love to help you too! Call 612-564-2218 to schedule your appointment today!