10 Holiday Hacks to Relieve Stress – the Naturopathic Way!

On , In Body
Red holiday wreath on a wood background, highlighting holiday hacks to relieve stress over the holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time for many of us, financially, emotionally, and mentally. Holiday shopping, or not being able to shop, family visits, cooking, cleaning, and the general state of year-end can bring about higher cortisol levels, sensations of depletion, inability to sleep, low energy and so much more. Below, find some easy-to-follow, free, and well-studied holiday hacks that you may want to include into your daily life, one at a time, for longevity.

Bringing around sensations of clarity, peace, positivity, and calm are beneficial to us all, and then we can better share this energy with those around us.  All studies and references are listed below for your deeper perusal into each holiday hack.

Easy Holiday Hacks To Relieve Stress

10. Wake up 15 minutes earlier than normal, creating the time to set intentions for the day. Practice journaling or sitting on your mat and envisioning how you would like the day to manifest. This brings moments of clarity first thing in the morning and allows for a more balanced day. 

9. Learn about the BLUE ZONES and Centenarians.  Choose your MOAI (Japanese for a group of lifelong friends/social support group that shares and supports each other’s social, financial, health, or spiritual interests). There are threads amongst all the lives of people living all over the world, and the top common denominator is nourishing yourself, Mind, Body and Soul.

8. Wait 60-90 minutes until you have caffeine.  Start with a lemon water. Studies show that pushing back caffeine reduces dependence and enhances effects of caffeine when you need it most. Push back looking at emails, phone, for an hour each day. This regulates the nervous system, reducing anxiety and increasing joy. Learn more about that in this study from PLOS.

7. Nourish your friendships.  Longevity studies from around the world tell us that 6-8 hours A DAY of relational interactions (NOT WORK) are necessary for mental and emotional health. 

6. Exercise. Even if it means starting with 10 minutes of stretching each morning and each night. Commit to a new practice to lengthen and strengthen your muscles and your mind. Read more about strength, stability, and exercising in zones here.

5. Take a radical look at your nutrition. Are you eating food that is nourishing you or depleting you? Are the total amount of calories you are consuming RICH in nutrients? Are you feeding your brain with healthy FATS, your muscles with healthy PROTEIN, and your immune system with vegetables rich in ANTIOXIDANTS and VITAMINS – or is it simply just packaged food devoid of any real nutritional value?

4. Go to bed earlier, prioritize your sleep. Studies show time and time again that sleep is directly correlated with mental health, wellness, and longevity. Read the full study from the National Library of Medicine.

A table set for a festive holiday dinner complete with food, dishes, and glasses, with a person reaching in to place candles candles; highlighting  holiday hacks, such as eating together, that can help relieve stress.

3. Eat dinner with your family. Have dinner together, around a table, and not in front of the TV or on the run, as much as possible. Eating together is a way to set the stage for healthy eating habits in our children and loved ones. 

2. Reduce alcohol. By now, we all know that studies show increased rates of cancers with increased alcohol consumption. Keep your servings of alcohol to less than 2 per week. Learn more about the connection between alcohol and breast cancer.

1. Take the PLUNGE. The Cold Plunge. Cold water plunging and dips in the lake helps to increase growth factor (IGF-1) which in turn increases our lean muscle mass. Cold plunges also stimulate epinephrine and norepinephrine, helping us build resilience and grit – great training for the mind. Furthermore, a cold dip will enhance dopamine and increase metabolism. Tality Spa in Kelowna has newly opened with its cedar sauna and cold plunges, but you can begin by simply ending your shower with cold water. Learn more about the effects of cold plunges from the Huberman Lab here.

In the new year we will release 10 hormone hacks… so please stay tuned!

Courtesy of Dr Jordana Aziz, Naturopathic Physician

More Reading (or listening?)

Dr. Huberman MD is my favourite on all of these topics, with a breadth of knowledge on his website and podcasts, Dr. Peter Attia MD as well, The Blue Zones for their deep anthropological studies through cultures and socioeconomic class, and pub med of course, to flesh out any cross sectional or longitudinal information.

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