POST HOLIDAY STRESS!
January and February are the perfect months to create a self-care routine to minimize underlying winter stress. Many of us are totally burned out after the holiday season. We barrel into the new year, puffing ourselves up with New Year’s resolutions, which almost always disintegrate by Valentine’s Day! And the pressure of the holiday season, coupled with the pressure of having to get fit quick in January, serves only to ramp up our stress to the boiling point.
This is the time of year when I have women running to me in a panic! They’ve eaten poorly over the last few months, and they are agonizing over which of the shiny new diets will deliver rapid weight-loss. They invest in a new gym membership or a trainer and get very enthusiastic about the whole thing…until life gets in the way.
We all suffer from a disease called “busi-itis” – we’re too busy for our own good! I don’t know anyone who isn’t afflicted. And running around like a headless chicken trying to get healthy and fit becomes another pressurizing item on our to-do list. This stress is not helpful in our quest to get healthy and well. Why?
- It leads to overwhelm. And this is when we give up on our wellness efforts because it all becomes “too much.”
- We over-complicate everything.
- Stress weakens our immune system.
- Stress burns out our adrenal glands, leading to depleted energy and weight gain.
SELF CARE ROUTINE TO MINIMIZE UNDERLYING WINTER STRESS
I always advocate for creating a solid self-care routine to avoid the pitfalls of seasonal stress. Stress can also get worse in the winter months because many of us are stuck inside. We get “cabin fever.” The cold weather and lack of sunlight can also lead to feeling blue. It’s tougher to get up in the morning and feel positive when it’s still dark and cold outside. So, all the more reason to have a self-care routine in place.
Self-care isn’t necessarily a sheet mask or a massage. While both are wonderful, we need to focus on basic self-care needs first. Here are my 6 self-care tips to minimize underlying winter stress:
- Get to bed as early as you can so that your circadian rhythms are more in tune with the winter months. This will help you to get a deeper sleep. And nothing is more important for stress relief than getting a good 8 hours of sleep. So, I recommend turning in 1 hour earlier than you usually do.
- Do a little yoga in the morning and the evening. It can literally be a couple of poses per practice. When you wake up you might try a couple of standing poses to stretch out your body and breathe. And at night, you might practice a simple child’s pose or a delicious twist. Yoga helps to unravel your body and your mind.
- Consider taking a 5-HTP supplement, which is a drug-free mood enhancer. Stress can drive down serotonin levels, and this can be more pronounced in the winter months. 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a drug-free mood enhancer that participates in the body’s synthesis of serotonin, the chemical messenger that plays a key role in enhancing mood. Natrol 5-HTP, the #1 5-HTP brand in America (Nielsen, xAOC, 52 weeks ending 11/30/19), promotes a calm and relaxed mood while helping you maintain a more positive outlook on life*. It’s fast-dissolve, which I love because I don’t like to have to take any more pills than I have to. Plus, fast-dissolve means fast-acting. And it’s a delicious wild berry flavor. If you are also prone to bouts of mild anxiety, you might want to try Natrol’s 5-HTP as an effective drug-free (non-addictive) solution.
- Exercise at least 3 times a week! Don’t cut back on your exercise because it’s cold outside. If you can’t get in your 10,000 steps or 30-minute hike because of weather, do the equivalent indoors. I recommend a rebounder or a stepper to my clients who find it hard to get out in the winter months. Exercise releases anti-stress hormones. Moreover, if you exercise hard, it will likely make you sleep deeper at night.
- Consider the anti-stress mineral, magnesium. You can either take a magnesium supplement, or you can take a hot bath filled with 1 cup of Epsom salts.
- Cut back your to-do list: Write down the absolute essentials – the things you need to check off to feel that you have taken care of your basic needs. This could be a green smoothie, 30 minutes of exercise, and a brief 5-minute meditation. Most of us try to do way too much. Keep it simple.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
This post is sponsored by NATROL, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own