and ring in a healthier New Year!
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Benjamin Franklin
The winter holidays are a time of celebration and can be exciting and fun, filled with parties and events. But for many this time of the year is often a huge source of additional stress.
In winter, the days grow shorter and our bodies tend to want to go into hibernation. The winter holidays came about as a way to gather together and celebrate community. They are a reminder to give thanks and reflect what we want for the future, with the hope of a new year and new beginnings.
During the holiday season our stress is magnified; holiday parties, school celebrations, volunteering, shopping, family gatherings, the end of the year scramble, and pressure to meet expectations of being jolly.... Less sunlight and staying indoors can make us more vulnerable to getting sick or feeling blue. We get over-stimulated and often the activities we do to stay healthy are put aside making staying healthy a challenge.
It’s not a news flash by now that stress -- especially prolonged stress -- can have negative effects on your health and well-being. High blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity, and insomnia are all medical conditions across the spectrum that can be related to, or directly influenced by, high stress.
Acupuncture is great at relieving stress! Getting regular acupuncture treatments will not only help you relax, it will help to boost your immune function and keep you healthy throughout the year.
How does acupuncture work for reducing stress?
Acupuncture works by activating the part of the nervous system that counteracts the fight-or-flight response. It helps to promote feelings of calm, rest, and relaxation. A state of calm and relaxation is also a mood booster and helps with immune function. The difference with acupuncture is that you will feel the results immediately and have longer-lasting effects on the whole body.
Here are a few signs and symptoms that could indicate stress is already affecting your health and quality of life:
- Insomnia (this is big)
- Headaches especially on the weekends
- Neck/back pain
- Shortness of breath/ feeling a need to sigh
- Digestive problems (gas, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea)
- Fatigue, low motivation
- Catches colds easily
- Craving sugar/caffeine
- Elevated blood pressure
- Weight gain
Research shows that getting acupuncture has many positive health benefits that can reflect the quality of your life and longevity.
Some of the benefits you can experience with getting acupuncture are:
- Helps promote quality sleep
- Relieves neck and back pain
- Helps to regulate digestion
- Supports the immune system
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces anxiety and irritability
- Regulates hormones
- Relieves headaches from tension
- Helps metabolic function and cravings
- Promotes calm energy
Here are some additional strategies to support balance and support you so get through the holidays stress free!
- Eat regular meals and carry some healthy snacks, that way you don’t get caught with limited choices.
- Limit sugar intake (this includes alcohol)
- Keep moving, go for a walk and get your circulation flowing
- Limit how many invitations you accept, go to the ones you really like.
- Ask for help, you don’t have to do it all yourself! Often people like to have the opportunity to help out.
- Reflect on the deeper meaning of the holidays, not the commercial stimulation.
- Fresh air and natural light, walk outside at least 10-15 minutes a day; you’ll get some Vitamin D and be able to release tension.
- Laugh! Laughing releases endorphins a natural mood booster.
Simple 5 minute meditation exercise! You can do this on the train, on a park bench or at your desk.
Sitting with your spine straight and feet on the ground breath in slowly through your nose, visualize clean air and oxygen flowing all the way to your feet it. It can look like light or a mist. As you exhale from your mouth the tension and Co2 leaves your body. Continue breathing noticing with each breath clean air and light fills your body so that each of the 70 trillion cells are breathing together. A feeling of expansion and calm will surround you. You can do this exercise several times a day.