Stresses come in many forms, but the main categories are physical, chemical and emotional. As we enjoy the holiday season it’s time to get on the front foot and plan to minimise the stress loads on your body and mind, while still having a good time. Here are some tips relating to food and chemical stress:

Fibre Up
At the event (or before you go), fill up on foods high in fibre, such as leafy greens, sprouts, beans, squash, etc, as well as lean proteins. Avoid lots of potatoes, rice and bread with your main meal – these break down quickly into sugars, causing stress for your pancreas, liver, and lead to weight gain. Foods higher in fibre and protein will not break down quickly (in the case of protein, not at all) into sugars, instead releasing energy more slowly.

Savour it
Don’t worry – you don’t have to miss out on all the yummy food. Just try smaller portions and eat slowly. When you take the time to really savour and enjoy your food, your stomach will have the time to send those ‘I’m full’ messages to your brain, and you won’t feel like stuffing yourself.

Drink lots of water
Sometimes we feel hungry or fatigued when what we really need is to be hydrated. Water will energise you as well as make you feel a little fuller. Water is also a much healthier alternative than soft drinks or alcoholic drinks. If you really enjoy a glass or two of wine or beer, alternate each glass with a glass of water. You’ll feel so much better for it.

Ease the Mind
Get enough sleep When you’ve got so much on, it’s tempting to cut short your sleep to fit it all in. But humans need around 8 hours of sleep every day. Sleep deprivation is very unhealthy to your body and mental state. It creates a stress response in your body, reducing the effectiveness of your immune system and altering your metabolism, among many other physiological changes. Getting enough sleep will make resisting unhealthy temptations and maintaining your workout routine and diet easier. The last thing you need is to try to resist that double chocolate fudge brownie on only 3 or 4 hours of sleep. Getting proper sleep and being in a physiologically rested state tends to ease your mind and prevent the anxiety and depression that can accompany busy and stressful periods.

Think Ahead
As you plan for the coming year, consider easy ways to improve your spine and nervous system function This can be as simple as adding a 5 to 15 minute walking break to your day, signing up for a yoga class, or finally replacing your old mattress. Caring for your body, and having this as part of your weekly routine, creates a healthy mind as well as a healthy body. Most importantly, look after yourself and spend as much quality time as possible with yourself, family and friends.