The Impact of Holiday Stress on the Mind and Body

March 13, 2020

How does your body cope with stress?
Stress refers to any type of perceived or actual demand or threat, either positive or negative. This is how your body responds to and responds to needs, as strong mind and body connections can have a short-term or long-term impact on your mind and body health.

When you try to maintain balance and ensure survival, emotions such as anxiety or fear may trigger physiological changes in the body involving a range of stress hormones (such as cortisol and adrenaline). This stress response involves the entire body’s nervous system pathways and biochemical reactions that you might think are heart beating, shortness of breath, muscle tension, sweating and/or indigestion. This is why major life events (such as holiday traditions), stressors (such as family gatherings), or emotions (such as emotions when giving and receiving gifts) can trigger physical symptoms.

This combination of stress response is also known as combat or evasive response as it evolves into an adaptive coping and survival mechanism that allows you to react quickly to life-threatening situations. Unfortunately, in modern life, multitasking, playing too many things, lacking truly meaningful connections, and constantly being stimulated by bombardment are part of life, especially during the holidays, which has increased the pressure on many people’s lives. .

Over time, your body will overreact to stressors that are not life-threatening, such as family difficulties, crowded shopping, or inconvenient office gift exchanges. These types of chronic persistent stressors can cause inflammation, irritability, anxiety and chronic illness.

Holiday stress and metabolic imbalance
Holiday stress may be a major factor in weight gain and metabolic imbalance.

Cortisol is one of the hormones released by the body under pressure, helping to provide enough energy to cope with threats and challenges. During the stress response, blood glucose levels rise in an effort to resist or escape the threat, and then release insulin to restore blood glucose levels to normal.

Insulin plays a key role in regulating the amount of glucose that is taken up from the blood into the cells, but when this cycle is repeatedly activated by stress for a long time, the signaling process may be compromised and the cells become resistant to insulin. Sex. Has a profound impact. Some common metabolic consequences of stress and cortisol imbalance are insulin resistance, blood glucose imbalance and weight gain, especially in the abdomen area.

When you are attracted to too much holiday food and food, the threat of holiday weight gain will increase further, and these foods are usually not your lifestyle. During this busy period of the year, the emotional pressure of eating or turning to food to cope with the season is often exacerbated.

A busy holiday is not necessarily a bad thing, but there are steps you can take to address your holiday expectations and obligations to minimize unnecessary stress and its impact on your body and mind. The key is to build resilience so that you can cope with stressful situations without having to trigger the alarm system every time.

Know your vacation stress triggers
Holidays bring a lot of demand and can lead to overwhelming. Recognizing the types of triggers that give you a stress response can help you take steps to re-prioritize and plan ahead to find a bigger balance.

When entering the season, be aware of the potential holiday needs and give yourself the opportunity to carefully plan where to spend time and effort to respond to stress triggers.

Common holiday stressors include:

Excessively expand yourself by accepting each holiday party invitation
Great pressure to find the perfect gift
Trying to cook for your holiday from scratch
Buying gifts and foods over budget has increased long-term financial pressure
Excessive drinking or eating is not suitable for your personal body or needs
Unrealistic and high expectations for the reasons that make up the “perfect” holiday
Family tension and controversy
Listen to your body
Learning to recognize the symptoms of stress and the symptoms of stress become overwhelmed or harmful to you, this is the first step in effective management of stress. Attention allows you to identify the generation of emotions, identify when stress becomes overwhelming, choose how to cope, and the way you contribute time and energy.

Stress can lead to emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physical symptoms when it is too intense or too frequent. Red flags that can alert you to excessive stress include:

Difficulty sleeping
Cold hands and feet
Racing heart
Mood changes or irritability
Nervousness or shaking
Weight gain, especially around the belly
Exhaustion that interferes with daily life activities
Rapid breathing
Tension headaches, backaches, or other excessive muscle tension
Clenched jaw and teeth grinding
Changes in digestion, including constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or abdominal pain
Build Resiliency to Enjoy the True Meaning of the Season
As you start to pay more attention to how you spend your energy and the ways in which different demands affect your body and mind, you can choose your priorities and begin to build resiliency. This will allow you to take control of the holiday chaos in a way that brings more enjoyment and meaning to the season.

Stress arises from the ways in which you respond to challenges, so a great start to reducing your holiday stress is to slow down enough to have the freedom to choose your priorities, recognize your interpretation of what is happening around you, and decide how you want to move forward. Remember the distinction between events and your experience of them. This allows you to start to leverage challenges as opportunities to grow and evolve, which in turns builds resiliency and buffers you from the negative impacts of stress.

One way to keep the holidays manageable is to plan ahead to keep realistic expectations. Reflect on what matters to you and make deliberate choices to create a season that feels meaningful. This allows you to set boundaries and focus on what’s important to you so that you have the energy to savor each experience more.

With some planning and awareness, you can recapture the magic of the holidays. Understanding some of the science of stress and increasing your ability to pay attention to your body will help you to find peace, joy, and better health throughout the holiday season!