Unfortunately, in 2020, this reality is even more stark. The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, the election, and all the typical end-of-year stressors has put many of my patients on edge, suffering from unrelenting anxiety about all the uncertainty, leaving their nervous systems feeling jumpy. I’m sure many of you share similar, if not the same feelings.
And it’s not just in their heads, either. The physical manifestations of stress and anxiety are all too real. They’ve experienced racing thoughts, trouble sleeping, stomach aches, headaches, difficulty focusing, and even panic attacks. That’s why this week, for the first blog post in our Happy Gut
The Truth About Holiday Stress and Weight Gain
The effect on our body is just as pronounced. Many people gain the dreaded holiday 10 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s Eve. Not to mention the upset stomachs, bloating, fatigue, and irregular bowel movements resulting from over-indulging, lack of sleep, and excessive drinking.
In my mind, the underlying cause of all this are the dietary changes that occur during the holidays. We’re eating more sugar, drinking more alcohol, eating more simple carbs and less fiber and fewer vegetables. All these little shifts create the perfect storm for less resilience. Many people don’t think about the connection between diet and anxiety, but research has established a pretty clear link. For example:
Four Foods Linked To Anxiety & Mental Health
The Link Between Gut Health, Food, and Anxiety
Did you ever stop to think your anxiety might be fueled by the way you eat?
This might be the first time you’re connecting stress and anxiety with what you eat. You’re not alone! Conventional medicine fails to recognize this connection and we all suffer for it. Instead, wanting to put patients on medications that have only been shown to be effective fifty percent of the time.
But what explains the connection between what we eat and our anxiety levels? It’ll come as no surprise that, like so many things, it all comes back to the GUT.
If you have a hunch that you’ve fallen victim to holiday stress caused by a gut microbiome imbalance, you’re not alone. If you’ve ever been midway through the holiday season and wondered why you feel so stressed, anxious, and unhealthy, it’s not just you. And it’s not your fault! For example, a gut microbiome yeast overgrowth, like candida, can lead to uncontrollable sugar cravings. Besides, the holidays create the perfect storm for poor lifestyle choices and leave very little time for self-care.
So, how can we get through the holidays without feeling it in our bellies, stress levels, and our waistlines? There are ways we can all decrease stress that won’t take much time out of our days. In fact, how about 10 minutes or less?
How to Create a Stress-Busting Plan for Yourself
(In Less than 10 Minutes a Day)
This month, instead of falling victim to holiday stress, overwhelm, and weight gain, let’s try something different — together. Here are 10 ways to bust stress in less than 10 minutes a day. If you’re feeling out of control right now, these tips are for you.
Of course, we didn’t want to add to your stress by overwhelming you with complicated action plans, so we came up with an array of options you can select from and fit into your lifestyle. All you have to do is commit to one daily.
1. Sit in Meditation
Meditation is one of the most well-studied methods for reducing stress. And the good news is that unlike exercise or healthy eating, you can get the full benefits of meditation in just 10 minutes a day! I recommend downloading an app like Headspace or Calm to get started.
2. Jump on a Trampoline
3. Take a Probiotic
4. Support Liver Detox with a Tea Break
5. Take a Tech Time Out
6. Have a Dance Party
9. Do a Quick HIIT
10. Reset the Gut
The fact is this year the holidays are going to look a little different, so it’s particularly important to create a stress-busting plan for yourself. The good news is that in less than 10 minutes a day, you can make a serious dent in your holiday stress levels, weight gain, and gut health disruption.
Which one(s) would you choose???
Let me know in the comments below…