Monday, October 27, 2014

7 Tips to Prevent Stress and Maintain Your Waistline this Holiday Season

Justine SanFilippo
by Justine SanFilippo, MS, CHC

The holidays can be stressful… but they shouldn’t be!  Dealing with crazy traffic, last-minute gift shopping with it seems like millions of people, juggling holiday parties, traveling, dealing with long lines at the airport, seeing family members we haven’t seen in forever…. The list goes on and on.

There are a few reasons why we should avoid stress or greatly reduce it.  Not only is it not good for our health, but it’s not good for our waistline.

When a person feels “stressed,” the fight-or-flight response kicks in.  This response came from when we had to hunt and gather our food.  So, if we were running from a tiger, we would survive.  This means that the body releases adrenaline and cortisol.  If a person is constantly stressed, then there is constantly extra cortisol, which can lead to belly fat.

Stress can also cause headaches, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety.  It can lead to respiratory issues like asthma, cardiovascular issues like elevated cholesterol and the narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.  Stress can cause reproductive issues, digestive issues, and can lower the immune system.

Since the holidays are supposed to be a time of fun, family and celebration, let’s leave the stress behind, shall we?  Here are some tips to reduce stress and enjoy the holidays more this season:

1)     Plan Ahead – Nobody likes doing things last-minute, which causes unnecessary stress.  Start planning now so you don’t have to do so much later.

2)     Ask for help – Delegating is a great stress-reducer.  Ask your friends or family members to help you with some tasks.  You don’t have to be Super-Mom or Super Dad, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how eager they are to help.

3)     Shop During the Week – Most people will shop on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so aim to get your shopping done during the week.

4)     Exercise – We all know that exercise can help reduce stress, but if you’re in a tense situation or a family member is driving you crazy, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind.  Be sure to get in your daily exercise, especially if you’ll be in a normally stressful situation later.  Those endorphins will help!

5)     Stick to a Budget – The holidays are no reason to break the bank.  Stick to a budget or even plan a “Secret Santa” in which everyone draws a name and just gets one gift.  The holidays aren’t about who gets what – it’s about being grateful and spending quality time with the people you care most about.

6)     Learn to Say No – It’s okay if you can’t attend every function or party you are invited to.  If they are truly your friends, they will understand.  Putting yourself and your needs first will reduce stress.

7)     Remember the Reason for the Season - The purpose of the holiday season is to have fun, relax, and spend time with family and friends – not stress out.

Justine SanFilippo is a certified health coach, nutritionist, and author of the book Lose Your Inches Without Losing Your Mind!  To purchase the book and for more free resources to lose your inches, check out her website at

No comments: