Are you suffering from seasonal stress? December is always hectic with all the usual demands plus more social events than the rest of the year put together, all the Christmas preparations and a few seasonal colds and bugs thrown in. ‘Tis the season to be stressed? Not necessarily. How can you look after your wellbeing to help stay calm and healthy in the run up to the big day? Although the festive period is not usually associated with healthy living, following a few tips may lessen the demands that seasonal stress places on your body and help you survive this time of year intact.
Balance blood sugar – At this time of year it can be particularly difficult to limit the refined carbohydrates that can wreak havoc on our adrenal glands. To help reduce dips in blood sugar concentrate on eating little and often, including protein at each meal/snack. Try to eat sugary foods at the end of a meal rather than as snacks. Never go to a party on an empty stomach and if you’re drinking alcohol try to match each glass of wine with a glass of water or alternate with a Virgin Mary or pure fruit juice mixed with sparkling water.
Eat nutritious foods containing B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, calcium and magnesium- vital nutrients for your adrenals. Include the following in your diet – dark green leafy vegetables (not forgetting the excellent Brussel sprout – who said “Yuk”?), peppers, tomatoes, berries, apples, citrus fruits (make the most of this seasons satsumas and tangerines), kiwi fruit, wholegrains (oats, brown rice, rye, etc.), nuts, seeds, pulses, eggs and fish. Turkey is low in fat and high in protein, and a good source of the amino acid tryptophan which is needed to make serotonin the feel good neurotransmitter.
Chew your food well and aim to eat in a relaxed environment rather than on the go. This will help your body to digest and absorb nutrients efficiently. I look at specific digestive problems in pregnancy in another blog post.
Ensure quality sleep – As it is vital for rest and repair, aim to get seven to eight hours a night, (or as many as baby allows if you’re a new mum!). Allow yourself to wind down before going to bed – have a warm bath with an aromatherapy blend. Avoid watching TV or using a computer in bed, don’t have your bedroom too warm and avoid heavy meals late at night. If you’re struggling with pregnancy insomnia read my 7 tips.
Include ways to relax and help you deal with the stresses you do have. Try to find a little time for yourself to watch a favourite programme or read a book, exercise (even a short walk in the fresh air can help you calm and recharge) or have a massage – either professionally or with your partner. Nom Nom Relax Oil is blended specifically for pregnancy but suitable for anyone in need of relaxation.
Have fun! One of the best feelings is having a good laugh. Just smiling can reduce your seasonal stress levels. After all ‘tis the season to be jolly!’
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.
Jayne Russell has over twenty years of experience as a pre’ and postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and is the founder of Nom Nom – award winning, certified organic pregnancy and baby skincare. Sign up for your free skincare guide “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” at nomnomskincare.com