Holiday Stress Warning Signs

I admit, I've let my holidays ruin my holidays. I've looked back on certain holiday seasons and thought to myself, I blew it. I wanted everything to be perfect but ended up exhausted and hard to get along with.

Even if you thrive on holiday planning, we are all susceptible to the same natural response to the pressures of all the hosting, preparing, attending, traveling and being happy that comes with the season. In retrospect, I wish I'd been aware of my own natural response to stress so I could adjust my behavior and enjoy the season. Avoiding being a holiday victim by being aware of these 3 signs that holiday stress is going to ruin it for you and your loved ones. 

  1. Difficulty sleeping tonight? - Stress normally causes a surge in adrenal hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that increase alertness, making it more difficult to relax and go to sleep. Frequent or constant stress can elevate these hormone levels, resulting in a hyper-vigilant state that can occasionally interfere with sleep. What's more, lack of sleep can place a significant burden on your body and itself contribute to adrenal fatigue compounding the effects of stress. If you find yourself unable to sleep or sleep well, your holiday may be taking a toll.  
  2. Trouble waking up in the morning? - A good night's sleep should leave you refreshed, right? If you are sleeping long hours and still don't seem to have energy to spread holiday cheer, you may need to read on. The adrenal glands release hormones that help to deal with stress. All those little stressors like tangled holiday lights and spilled egg nog add up. The adrenal glands can recover quickly from a short burst of stress hormone production. But if the stress continues for a long period of time, they quickly become temporarily depleted and eventually, your levels of adrenaline and cortisol may drop. And I'm talking to the person who almost fell asleep in that last paragraph - yes, that's you! 
  3. Arguments - It's the most wonderful time of the year. So why am I so upset with everyone? When we encounter stress we depend on our adrenals to release hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. These hormones regulate our stress response and allow us to increase our strength, focus and awareness when we need it. However, when the adrenals are fatigued they struggle to release the necessary amount of these hormones. If this sounds like you, it probably won't surprise you if I mention words like occasional frustration, lack of enthusiasm, and anxiety. So if it seems like everyone is avoiding you or every conversation ends in an argument, it might be you not them. 

Ways to Fight Holiday Stress

The holidays can be a joyful time but if we are honest there are real pressures that come with the happiness that have an impact on our bodies. Be mindful of your body's response to the holidays and avoid the disappointment that comes with being out of balance. If this sounds like you consider a few helpful tips or talk to your doctor. 

  1. Improve your diet - the holidays don't make eating right easy but it just might help
  2. Use techniques like meditation and deep breathing to reduce your stress levels - meditation has lots of other benefits too!
  3. Consider taking some adrenal-supportive supplements
  4. Get better sleep - skip the lines not the sleep

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