Tips to Manage Holiday Stress + Beat the Winter Blues

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It’s no secret that the holiday season isn’t always jingle bells and gingerbread.  Just keeping it real here my friends!

With shorter, shall we say “gray” days looming and cold temps that keep us indoors more often, it can sometimes feel like sunshine and warm summer days are so far away.  Then, let’s pile on the stress of traveling, entertaining, and family time, sometimes dysfunctional...as I said, keeping it real!  Some may say that it is amazing we make it through in one piece. Now that may a bit of an exaggeration, but holiday stress and winter blues can certainly take a toll on us mentally and physically.

Here are a few ways to hack the winter blues that will help you slide into the new year with ease.

Get some light! 

A ton of people experience an effect on their mood during the darker winter months. This is called, SAD for Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a cyclic form of depression caused by changes in the circadian rhythm.  The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that regulates biochemical processes in the body.  When the levels of light change in the fall and winter, in some people this cycle can be disrupted.  About 70-80% of those diagnosed are women.  One of the best ways to counteract symptoms of SAD is to get some light.

Outdoor light, even on overcast days, is still the best way to go. So if you can get exposure to natural light, I highly recommend you do so.  If you can’t get outside, sunlamps or lightboxes can be a good option.  Look for one that is specifically designed to treat SAD. This Philips Golite Sunlamp is a nice one.  https://www.amazon.com/Philips-HF3429-60-goLITE-Rechargeable/dp/B00M3SGD4Y/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1512486204&sr=8-2-fkmr0&keywords=philips+golite+sunlam%5B

Vitamin D

We have heard a lot of talk about vitamin D over the past few years. It is both a vitamin and a hormone.  It helps us to regulate mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Supplementing with extra vitamin D during the fall and winter months is a good idea.  For SAD, 1000-5000 IU can be effective. Please check with your doctor first.

Get enough rest  

Don’t fight it!  Rest, hibernate, slow down.  Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night in order to reduce stress, balance hormones, prevent moodiness and reduce fatigue.

Movement

It’s important to keep your body moving during the winter months. Now, this may prove difficult for some who prefer to exercise outdoors.  Get creative, try something new if you are not able to get outside as often.

Good eats 

This time of year can prove challenging for some to stay on track when it comes to diet.  Let’s bring a little awareness in here.  Instead of making a list of foods to stay away from, shift your energy into trying to incorporate as many whole foods as you can.  This is a great time to have some fun in the kitchen.  There is no better time of year to try out some soup and crockpot recipes!

Essential Oils 

Essential oils can play a big part in mood management and your overall wellbeing. As you inhale aromatic compounds from essential oils, they travel to the olfactory bulb (our emotional brain).  This is the only place in the body where the central nervous system is directly exposed to the environment.  Our brain is designed to use aroma to soothe and protect itself.  These aromas trigger a series of brain chemicals.  For example, lavender triggers serotonin, which has a relaxing effect on the mind and body.

So, simply inhaling from the bottle itself or diffusing in your home or office can have a profound effect on your mood.

Some of my doTERRA wintertime favorites for mood management are:

Wild Orange
Peppermint
Grapefruit
Spearmint
Bergamot
Lavender
Vetiver
Frankincense
Elevation

I could go on.  If you are interested in learning more about these and other doTERRA essential oils, hop on over to http://www.meegansciretto.com/oils

Meditate

Studies have shown that meditation can help reduce cortisol levels, improve your sleep, boost your productivity and improve your mood.

Not sure where to start? www.calm.com  and www.headspace.com are ones I really like. They are easy to use as they come with an app on your phone.

Gratitude

Practice it.  One of the most challenging parts of the holidays is that people can feel isolated or family and friends can stress them out.  When and if you find yourself in this situation, try to focus on how grateful you are for the people and things in your life.

I like to start and end my days with either writing down or mentally running through my head a few things I am grateful for.  It’s a beautiful practice. Give it a try!

As soon as you feel the stress and mood creeping in, jump on these tips ASAP.  Catching these symptoms early can be the difference between enjoying your holiday season or dragging yourself out of a hole.  You don’t want to linger there too long.

Love & Gratitude,

Meegan