'Tis the Season!
For family gatherings, long days of cooking and endless to-do items. When you think about the holidays, we want you to be reminded of fond memories instead of stressful ones. We've compiled our favorite ways to decompress, to give you the tools that alleviate stress and allow you to feel present in the moment.
Before we can manage our stress, we must first identify what it is and what it does to our body. Stress is the imbalance between the demands of a situation and your body's ability to them, and can be categorized the following ways:
Acute Stress- very short-term stress, day-to-day inconveniences and mishaps, life things!
Chronic Stress- stress that exists over a prolonged period of time and is a result of being exposed to the same negative stimulus over and over again. Sources can be from a bad relationship, a negative work environment, financial difficulties, etc.
Episodic Acute Stress- frequent bouts of acute stress, typically we see this in people who take on too many tasks at once and often appear disorganized and running behind
Eustress- the GOOD stress that keeps you energized and excited! Exercise, watching a scary movie, and riding a roller coaster are all examples of positive forms of stress. Your body is actually built to perceive threats and withstand stress. When a threat is perceived, our body triggers the Fight or Flight Response. During this time, your body releases the hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to help prepare your body to take action. Once the threat is no longer present, our body begins the Relaxation Response. If you're exposed to chronic stress, it may be more difficult for your body to produce the relaxation response. Read below to find ways to facilitate that feeling and release!
BUILD A BALANCED PLATE
Did you know 90% of your serotonin is released in your gut? If you don't know, serotonin is a hormone released by the body to stabilize mood and promote feelings of happiness and well-being. When your gut microbiome is disrupted, everything else that your digestive system regulates (brain health, immune health, hair/skin/nails) is impacted. When we build a balanced plate consisting of proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates, our blood sugar is more regulated. When our blood sugar is regulated, our digestive system is also more in-balance! Remember to "eat the rainbow" and aim for 1/2 of your plate to consist of veggies. Finally, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are loaded with natural probiotics that helps to diversify the microbiome! This will further help fuel the endocrine system so that your hormones are better aligned. If you are looking to learn more about the gut-brain connection, check out the book "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" by Dr. Natasha Campbell- McBride MD.
Movement is a form of eustress that primes the body to better withstand stress, feel more energized and focused, and enhance your mood throughout the day. EveryBODY is unique, which means movement doesn't look the same for everyone. We encourage you to select a mode of movement that relieves stress more than it causes it. Meaning, if the movement makes you feel worse than you did before you started, then it's probably not providing the same benefits for you. Listen to your body and trust that it will guide you! Follow our Administrative Assistant, Aspen, on Instagram (@fitnessxaspen) to participate in her 12 Days of Sweatmas! Each day features a new set of exercises that builds on the last, totaling about 20 minutes by the end! A great way to release those endorphins first thing in the morning and feel activated for the day.
TAKE A TIME OUT
No, not because you're in trouble. Take a time out to focus on you and center yourself. Setting aside time to be alone is restorative to our minds and gives us a chance to reflect on what has fallen out of alignment in our life and how we can pivot and move forward. This time is for YOU, how do you want to spend it? Meditation (we recommend the apps Calm or Headspace) Breath-work Affirmations + Mindfulness Practices Tending to a hobby Listening to music Reading a book Whatever it is you choose to do, it should feel true to you and your needs in that moment. The goal is to create stillness for yourself while also nurturing your mind!
Acupuncture According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, energy (Qi) flows through the body like a sort of highway system. Stress is a blockage of those pathways, where Qi is no longer able to flow freely. Depending on where the blockage is occurring, stress can manifest and present itself in many different ways! Utilizing specific acupuncture points, allows for the movement of Qi through your body's pathways and thus relieving stress and its symptoms! Massage Let's be honest, we don't really need science to tell us that massages are beneficial to relieving stress, because if you've ever had one, you just KNOW you're going to feel refreshed. Functional brain imaging studies show that massage causes changes of brain activity in areas such as the amygdala and hypothalamus, which are responsible for regulating emotions and the stress response. Here's a great reminder to book your massage!! Cost-Effective Alternative: buy a lacrosse ball, place it between a trigger point on your body and the wall, and apply gentle pressure as needed for some self-myofascial release! Aromatherapy The use of natural plant extracts to promote healing, making it easy to integrate with other stress-relief modalities. Research shows that aromatherapy can reduce the perception of stress, increase contentment, and decrease levels of cortisol. When combined with massage, aromatherapy provides stronger and more continuous relief from fatigue—especially mental fatigue—than massage alone. Diffusing essential oils, applying them topically, or burning an aromatherapy candle are all ways to incorporate this individually, or additionally, to your stress relief practices. In need of essential oils? Emily, one our of Administrative Assistants, is a Young Living Brand Partner and can help you with all of your essential oil needs and questions!
When in doubt, talk it out! Seeking insight from a professional is an honorable and courageous choice that shows you value your internal being, just as much you do your exterior one. If access to a professional is limited, talking to a loved one (friend, family member, partner) still allows your body to release those negative feelings and thoughts to make room for more pleasant ones.
THE NOURISH CORNER
NHHN FOOD DRIVE Benefitting Bradford Food Pantry Thru 12.22 Bring in a non-perishable item to your next appointment and be entered in to a raffle for (image below): - Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides - Detox Foot Bath Gift Card - Moon Mama Herbal Moon Teas (2)