This season comes packed with many wonderful things—family, friends, endless celebrations and delicious food. But when you’re already stressed from day-to-day life, even the best of life's experiences can put you over the edge. If you're feeling overwhelmed with all that's on your plate, sit back and take a deep breath; we're sharing our best tips for managing stress so that you can start to live healthier today.
"Take a look at your friends' Facebook posts or read their blogs, they're stressed!" says long-time chiropractor, Dr. Sylvia Kim, D.C. "Even though we talk about it daily, we don't realize how stressed we are, or what that stress is doing to our bodies." Actually, stress decreases our immune response, leading to illness or disease. With three kinds of stress in our lives—emotional, physical and chemical—keep in mind that stress is doing damage even if you're feeling good.
Start to View Health Differently
Dr. Sylvia says the first step in preventing damage from stress is changing your view of health. As one of the most industrialized countries in the world, the United States' health system ranked 38th as compared to other countries in a 2000 World Health Organization report. Preventing illness, not reacting to it, should be your top priority.
Get Your Checkups
It's time to see the doctors, and we mean both your medical and chiropractic providers, as they view health in completely different ways. "Get routine blood work and your regular checkup," says Dr. Sylvia. "But make sure to have your nervous system, range of motion, spinal alignment and flexibility checked, too." Take the opportunity to get this baseline of your overall health before stress leads to physical symptoms.
Don't add unnecessary stress to life by taking on huge health-related challenges. For instance, if you don't work out at all, don't join the gym yet. Instead, start by parking at the end of the lot at work or while you’re shopping and walking to the door each day. Dr. Sylvia recommends other simple changes, too, like buying a small BPA-free water bottle and committing to drink one bottle a day to start.
Sleep is important as well. "Many of us don't get enough sleep, which is the only time our bodies can regenerate and heal," she says. "If you're not sleeping well, you're not healing." Keep the bedroom for sleeping and ditch distractions like your smartphone or television when it's time to rest.
Enjoy the holiday season with less stress by trying a few of our tips—and learn about ways stress can be healthy and helpful in last week’s post, How to Harness Healthy Stress.