Enjoying a Stress Free Holiday

Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Barkstrom, LAC

A not so fun fact is that around the winter holidays, illness, heart attacks and deaths all increase. It’s estimated that 75 to 90% of all doctor office visits are due to stress related conditions. How can we promote peace on earth and in ourselves and have an enjoyable holiday?

Practicing relaxation techniques have scientifically been proven to greatly reduce stress symptoms. Relaxation has shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones and frustration, improve mood, reduce fatigue, reduce muscle tension and chronic pain.

Relaxation techniques that have been proven to work include hypnosis, massage, meditation, contemplative prayer, tai chi, and yoga. Other things that can help us relax are exercise, walking in nature, hobbies, and being social. In fact, what I see works best for most people is doing a few things. Every person is unique so you may have to try some different things to see what works best for you.

One thing people forget about is that our foods choices can make us feel worse. The big food offenders are packaged foods, sugary foods, alcohol and caffeine. These foods tend to make us feel better for a short amount of time, but in the end leave us tired, anxious and craving for more. We end up unable to cope with our daily stresses and strains.

Luckily there are foods that naturally reduce our stress. Foods high in B vitamins help the body convert nutrients to energy. These include raw dairy products, cage free eggs, grass- fed beef and poultry, wild caught fish, brewers yeast and green leafy vegetables.

Foods high in calcium and magnesium help us relax and sleep better. These include unsweetened plain full-fat organic yogurt, wild salmon, green leafy vegetables, avocados and nuts.

Lastly, healthy fats support a healthy heart, brain, and stabilize mood. These include foods such as wild caught fish, nuts, avocados, olive oil and coconut oil.

Here’s wishing you a Healthy and Happy Holiday! And looking forward to the Happy New Year!

Jeffrey Barkstrom has been helping people with health and weight loss issues for more than 12 years. He has spoken at colleges, businesses, non-profits, national conferences and on television about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He currently practices at Barkstrom Acupuncture PC, Natural Health Improvement Center in Jamestown, NY. Learn more at www.barkstrom.net or at www.jamestowngazette.com.