From November to December, your smartphone calendar app is chock full of appointments for holiday parties, secret Santa deadlines, and family gatherings. Hopefully, a few therapy sessions to keep the holiday stress at a manageable level will be added, too.
In early November, smartphone screens are filled with articles about avoiding holiday stress. Suggestions range from managing your expectations, to saying no to that last piece of apple pie. Sleeping right and getting a little bit of exercise are great, also.
But…Nobody wrote anything about skipping that delicious third slice of pumpkin pie, so bottoms up! And it looks like attending that family engagement was not a choice. You know that one, it’s the one where Uncle Donny pretends his last name is Wahlberg when he drinks too much. Then he starts insulting everybody with a Boston accent and they all get stressed.
Well, the holiday season is three quarters done. There are two weeks left and 2-3 major holidays that will pass before New Year’s Resolutions force people to sign up for a membership for the gym. Chances are, you are doing an amazing job coping with all the holiday pressure. In the event that you need a little support, we have some more suggestions to get you past that last holiday slump!
Laughing is a wonderful tool to lighten the mood and disrupt the negative thought patterns that occur when stress levels are high. Researchers are still looking to understand how laughter has an impact on the body, as they delve deeper into the field positive psychology.
Laughter is contagious. It can spread from person to person. Have you ever laughed out loud for no reason at all? Eventually, other people will laugh because you are. Try it someday.
Laughter releases endorphins. Much like exercise, the endorphin release lowers stress levels, which can have a dramatic impact on your health.
Laughter boosts the immune system. A strong immune system fights off colds and infections much better. This is a good thing to have when you are meeting with so many people.
Finding it hard to laugh? Practice a little bit. First, smile. Then you can try a little chuckle. Turn to the comics in the newspaper. Listen to a comedian’s podcast to and from work. Surround yourself with positive imagery or messages. Write yourself little post-it notes with joyful messages, and put them in a conspicuous place.
Set happiness goals like the ones above.
A good goal should be to laugh so much you have what is called a ‘gut buster’. This kind of laughter is of such epic proportions that you actually work out your abdominal muscles. The laugh is so titanic you might feel like you just did a 30 minute core workout. A gut-buster gives you a double shot of endorphin release, as your laughter and your exercise trigger a super awesome combination of stress reducing positivity.
Take care of your gut!
Speaking of a good gut-buster, there are also bad gut-busters. Sugary foods, usually eaten during the holidays, feed the bad kinds of bacteria that live in the gut. Pure sugar cookies, pies, ice creams, and candies are all high in sugar and low in any benefits.
Focus on beneficial foods instead. Fermented foods are rich in beneficial bacteria and feed the good bacteria in your gut; Foods such as kimchee, yogurt and sauerkraut. Foods like artichoke hearts, beets, and dandelion greens are rich in prebiotics, and also make the good bacteria in your gut very happy.
Lastly, you should consider taking a probiotic supplement. These supplements can replenish the good bacteria in your gut and boost the immune system, significantly. While they increase and strengthen your immune system, they also aid in digestion, reduce bloating, and contribute to a healthy body all year long.