If you’re like most people the holidays are an epic rollercoaster of emotions. We all love the uplifting soothing aspect of having your family at your side, while simultaneously stressing about family ordeals you know you are about to confront.
Arguably this could be the BEST and WORST time of the year for most families. Consider this: the #1 day for heart attacks is Christmas and the #2 day is the day after Christmas, and suicide skyrockets over the same days. Of course this is NOT something any family ever thinks would happen to them, but today over 51% of the population dies from cardiovascular related deaths in the United State, the majority of whom don’t even realize it’s developing despite routine evaluations.
I believe during these times it’s really time to pause and proactively and diligently PLAN to alter our emotional state, financial state, and physical state during one of the most chaotic seasons of our busy lives.
Typically when we prepare for the holiday season it can feel like an extra 10 pounds of stress is added over the next couple months and 10 pounds of fat added to the old saddle bags for the next couple years.
Our travels for the holidays are packed with reconnecting with family and friends, social functions, and tasty meals, but also a financial burden and an overconsumption of just about everything
It seems that during these days our mind and body somehow go on AUTOPILOT, which doesn’t really give two turtle doves about your digestive issues, weight loss goals, diabetes, inflammation, addiction issues, rent, mortgage, credit card debt or peace of mind.
I personally know that nothing feels worse than being sick away from home. Even the healthiest of us can run our self down and weaken the immune system to the point that we feel crappy. I can only imagine the feeling a parent has knowing they are going to deal with a sick kid weeks later after the assault of their kids immune system. Or do parents even realize the immune system trauma induced during the holidays or “flu season”?
This year can be different and will be different with just a few quick tips that will help you not only minimize the stress, but also leave the extra 10 pounds of baggage.
1) Plan for the battle
I’m not trying to sound too cynical here, but knowing that there are more heart attacks, more suicide, more weight gain, more diagnoses then almost any other months of the year, you have to fight for your health and your family’s health. It’s OK not to over-indulge even though everyone else is.
If possible get familiar with the area you are headed and find a local health and wellness food store and maybe even a local gym, YMCA, or mall to do some mall walking.
Plan your “vacation meals” or “vacation days” for your vacation. What some consider to be a “cheat meal” or “cheat day”…we refer to as a “vacation meal”. It’s OK to indulge without the guilt, just have a plan to get back into the 80/20 rule of eating healthy.
Challenge yourself and you family to simply eat real foods by avoiding the over processed, refined carbs and grains. With almost the entire country 34+ Obese we need to spread the health and get everyone eating real foods again.
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3) Get your Whole Body moving
In the Midwest it’s freezing, but our family makes a point of bundling up and getting out in the brisk cold winter snowshoeing, walking the dog, sledding with the kids, building a snowman or even going to a local gym or mall to get a few laps in.
4) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
DRINK UP…NOT just Starbucks, but rather….pure water and lots of it! You should be drinking a minimum of ½ your weight in ounces of H2O daily. Water is the best choice when Doc says “drink more fluids.” Cells need to be hydrated to engage their defenses. Warm liquids may provide similar soothing effects as steam. Try green tea, herbal tea or warmed juice! Only freshly squeezed or juiced will be your best choice and can be a good source of nutrients and antioxidants, but don’t overdo it because all types of sugar can inhibit the immune system.
5) Pack Healthy REAL Food Snacks
If you are in the car, plane, hotel or grandma’s bring some of your favorite healthy snacks. Don’t expect things to be as readily available. So stock up on the almonds or mixed nuts, fresh fruit (berries are my favorite to eat while driving), organic bars, and coco-nibs for those chocolate lovers.
6) Bring Fitness with You
Pack a health book, fitness DVD, and simple fitness equipment like rubber resistant bands, small dumbbells, jump rope, stepper. The goal here is to stay connected and engaged in your health and fitness journey. Reading a new health book might just give you that extra nudge to stay 80/20 or at least 70/30 for the holidays. There are plenty of amazing at home fitness videos with short duration but high effectiveness like P90X or BurstFit.com. You will be amazed when your little niece wants to do yoga with you.
7) Vacation in Moderation:
Be mindful when you have your “vacation” or “cheat” meals, drinks, and dessert days…this doesn’t mean you’ve totally retired or abandon ship. Stay the course and be mindful not to overeat and drink the wrong drinks too much. Remember to SERF Simply Eat Real Foods.
8) Essential Travel Supplements
- B-Complex Vitamin: With the extra, extra, extra planning, stress of travel, finances, family members etcetera you body needs to replenish many of the metabolic pathways burned up by excess stress. I recommend B-Complex 50 3x Daily
- Multi-Vitamin: Carbs and sugars are anti-nutrients that will essentially leach valuable vitamins and minerals from your body, so plan on bringing a trusted multi-vitamin.
- Vitamin D3: has great value while traveling because it has valuable anti-microbial properties to fight against bacteria, viruses, fungi etc. Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is an essential nutrient that is identified as a “pro-hormone” in the body. It goes to work at the DNA level in supporting multiple body systems to promote health and boosting immune function. I highly recommend at least 50% of your weight x (100IU).
- Greens Powder one easy way to get more greens is to take supergreens supplements. Consuming greens supplements, such as powders and juices, can be a convenient and reliable way to help you get your necessary daily intake of green vegetables — and then some
- Probiotics: Studies show that probiotics can help with a great deal by warding off infection and boosting immune systems, as well as helping to improve women’s health and perhaps even fighting obesity.
Get out and find something new everyday. Go places you have never been, find a path and get walking, jogging or biking. Use your body to navigate this journey and find new areas of a familiar city by connecting locally.
10) Smile and Laugh Often
There is something rejuvenating when we laugh out loud. I wish we all could laugh and smile as much as we did when we were kids. Watch your kids how they are designed to laugh spontaneously without effort. Enjoy the gift of laughter and when you smile…even forcefully to another it immediately lifts their level of social and emotional connectedness.
11) Get Adjusted
Experts ALWAYS Miss This Secret to Dealing With Stress
Hint: It’s not about learning a new way to cope with it…
We are fighting an impossible battle if our goal is to eliminate stress. Stress will be a permanent fixture in all of our lives….that’s a fact! And stress does kill! However, the key to a healthy life and future is to properly adapt to stress.
I hate it when the experts instruct people to learn how to better cope with stress or that society must manage stress better. What does that mean? How do you learn to manage stress? How would you know you are doing it well?
We believe that stress is not about just learning to cope with it. In fact, there is something you were born with that has all the answers….YOU! Think about it, you did not have to remind your heart to beat this morning, or your lungs to breathe, guts to digest, blood to travel…you get the point!
The intelligence that made you, and keeps you ticking every day, holds the answers to managing stress. Your body already contains the capacity to fully adapt to stress without you even thinking about it. The key is to remove anything that would get in the way of this innate intelligence.
Science is now showing us a secret key to unlock this innate potential to deal with stress.
Check this out…
This is a picture of a brain under MRI imaging. On the left you see the brain lit up many areas. It looks like you are flying over a city at night and looking down at all the lights.
They put this individual in the MRI and then created a stress in his body to measure how the brain responds. The spots of light represent all the areas the brain is recruiting to help adapt and handle that stress.
What happens next is revolutionary….
They took that same person out of the MRI and gave him a chiropractic adjustment. Once he was under the MRI scan again they created the same stress as before to monitor the brain’s response.The picture on the right is the same person adapting to the same stress, this time after a chiropractic adjustment. WOW!
Was there less stress? Nope, it was exactly the same. But his scan clearly shows less areas being recruited to cope with the stress.
Chiropractic adjustments bring balance, harmony, and organization! Less energy and more efficiency in dealing with stress is a result of chiropractic care.
Blessings and Safe Travels,