Mind, Body, Spirit Connections

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Health Tip - Surviving the Holidays in Good Health

Jennifer's 5 Tips

The holidays can be a time of added stress as we prepare for Christmas and the New Year. Along with the excitement and anticipation of the season, there are added chores, shopping for gifts, decorating and food preparation. A heavy workload, chronic illness, caring for others, emotional distress or a hormone imbalance can add to our feelings of stress causing further fatigue and exhaustion. Our adrenal glands are in over-drive and, if we are not careful, our immune system can weaken leaving us in a vulnerable state for colds, flu and illness.

Here are 5 tips to stay in good health during the holidays:

1) Choose healthy foods~

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and stay away from processed foods and refined sugars, including fast food. It will be tempting to eat out, indulge in Christmas goodies that lurking around every corner, and skip meals. Try to balance your nibbling with healthy meals of fresh fish, chicken, lean meats, eggs, nuts and whole grains.

Protein-rich foods produce more energy and stabilize blood sugar. Each meal should consist of one third protein and the remaining two thirds should be fresh vegetables and fruits high in fiber. Try to limit coffee and caffeine consumption and reach for a cup of de-caffeinated tea instead.

2) Take your Supplements~

There are a variety of supplements that can boost your energy levels, strengthen your resistance to colds and disease and promote a sense of well-being.

The B’s rule -- B1, B2, B3 and pantothenic acid- are indispensible in breaking food down for energy. B1 is especially important if you are eating a diet high in carbohydrates as it plays a critical role in making the enzymes necessary to break down the carbs.

CoQ10 is necessary for the creation of energy in the mitochondria. Every cell contains mitochondria and CoQ10 improves muscle energy levels. Consider taking L-carnitine which burns the fat in the mitochondria and Vitamin C which aids in the synthesis of carnitine and keeps the brain energized.

3) Get Plenty of Sleep~

A good night's sleep is a must. Drink a cup of tea before bed, turn off the TV, computer and cellphone and let yourself unwind. Soak in a warm bath. If you have trouble sleeping, try the following supplements to aid in a good night’s rest: melatonin, 5-HTP and magnesium (also helps with leg cramps).

4) Exercise~

It’s easy to skip exercise when we are so busy with the Holiday season. Actually, the best thing you can do is to get some fresh air and exercise. Physical activity will promote the burning of fat and making of muscle. You will find that rather than feeling more tired, exercise will energize you and increase your stamina. Even thirty minutes a day will pay off and increase your energy level by up to 20%.

5) Take a moment to breathe and relax~

When you find yourself tense and overwhelmed, take a moment and pause. Take a deep, cleansing breath, and exhale slowly feeling the tension and stress leave your body. Imagine your stress draining from the bottoms of your feet into the earth. Allow yourself to completely relax in the moment. Do a couple of simple stretches -- rolling your head, bending from the waist side to side, stretching your hands up over your head.

In this state of relaxation, access the rest of your day. Is there something that you can let go of? Does it really need to get done today? Can you delegate to others? What can you do for yourself that will ease the stress and tension—prepare a cup of tea, take a walk outside, or simply read something inspirational for 10 or 15 minutes?

The holidays are meant to be joyous and a time spent with loved ones and friends. Cherish this time together, have fun and enjoy the holidays.

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