Stress has become commonplace around the holidays and often leads to overeating and health issues. Like it or not, many people use food as a form of escape from their holiday stress. When you are feeling bad, you often turn to something that makes you feel better, even if in the long run, what you turned to has negative consequences. That is why you need to be vigilant and proactive about your health, especially during the holidays, to avoid both stress and the looming threat of overeating.
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Holiday Stress can be one of the most damaging things to happen to your body, outside of a traumatic injury. This is not because of the immediate effects but rather the long-term effects from prolonged stress. Many times, people feel down or “not quite right” but can’t put their finger on why. Often, stress is the culprit. Stress can creep up quickly, especially during the holidays when you are running around trying to get a million things done at once, find gifts, and make it through the hustle and bustle of the shopping season.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of stress:
- Lower energy
- Nausea and upset stomach
- Inability to sleep
- Inability to focus
Impaired immune function is perhaps the worst of all of these. The lower energy, nausea, and inability to sleep can all contribute to impaired immune function. When your immune system is not functioning as it should, you become more susceptible to illness and disease. This is one of the contributing factors leading to the regular cycles of colds during the holiday seasons.
Overeating can be considered another symptom—indirectly—of stress. In order to combat the way you feel in times of stress, the quick release of pleasurable hormones acts as a reward, countering the negative feelings of stress. The human body was designed this way—to offer a reward for “good” things, such as eating. Of course, during the holidays it is far too easy to overeat, leading to negative effects on the body.
Health implications of overeating include the following:
- Weight gain
- Low energy
- Increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
- High glycemic load, which leads to an increased insulin response
The short-term consequences of overeating are not the real issue—lethargy, a little extra weight, and exhaustion may not seem that bad. Over time, the consequences can become more severe. Regular overeating leads to high insulin responses, which, in turn, leads to diabetes. Heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure risks are also dramatically increased. It is very important not to utilize food or hunger as a stress relief mechanism on a regular basis.
Alleviating Holiday Stress through Proactive Treatment
The best way to alleviate holiday stress is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. This can be done through a combination of exercise, a healthy diet, and regular medical chiropractic checkups. Ensuring a proper diet during the holidays can be difficult, but it’s essential to keeping your stress levels down to avoid overeating. If you want to break your diet for special occasions, you can do so; just make sure you don’t go overboard in a single meal.
Exercise is another way to prevent and eliminate stress. Though exercise itself stresses the body physically, it also triggers the release of endorphins and other hormones that help the body to heal and grow. Regular exercise, thirty minutes or more three times per week, can decrease the risk of depression, stress, and many other health conditions.
Another way to help prevent high levels of stress is to receive regular chiropractic treatment. Through the reduction of joint and muscle stress, blood flow can be increased and inflammation can be reduced. Tension is often one of the primary drivers of stress, so it should come as no big surprise that lessening that tension, especially through treatment at a chiropractor, helps with that. Your chiropractor can offer several proactive and preventative treatment options, including spinal adjustments and massage.
We Can Help
Dr. Michael Newman and his incredible staff have been treating patients for more than 35 years—for everything from low back pain to nutritional deficiencies. His specialized approach to holistic body wellness includes prevention of stress-related injuries, including those that can occur during holidays from overeating, physical exertion, and/or lack of proper self-care. His practice is available to assist during a holiday crisis, but he and his team urge you to be proactive about your health—and prevent oncoming holiday stress. Contact Dr. Michael Newman and his wonderful staff for an appointment today before the holidays arrive in full. They will help you live pain-free and in peak performance for years to come.