First comes Thanksgiving and in the blink of an eye, Christmas arrives. The holidays can be filled with a dizzying array of demands, visitors, travel and frantic shopping trips in a short amount of time. Unfortunately for many people, it is also a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness and anxiety. Compound the usual seasonal pressures with the constant barrage of bad economic news and you may find this to be one of the most emotionally trying times of the year.
Stress, anxiety and depression can cause a disruption in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, through the body. These energetic imbalances can cause a variety of disruptions throughout your body. Here are 4 surprising things holiday stress can do to your body:
Increase in Sugar Cravings
Studies have shown that stress reduces your body’s ability to metabolize and detoxify itself. In the body there are enzymes that break down certain fats and detoxify your system from toxins. This process is hindered significantly by stress. Unfortunately, stress is also responsible for increasing the body’s desire for fattening and high sugar foods. This creates a negative cycle of increasing the toxins in your body but impeding the body from doing away with them properly. The holiday season makes it difficult to stay away from these cravings due to the prominence of them in many traditional holiday dishes. So instead of grabbing a fork and stress eating an entire pumpkin pie, put the pie back in the refrigerator and grab a crisp apple.
You have most likely heard of “fight or flight” response. It is our body’s defense mechanism when it perceives something as a threat. Our body reacts physiologically by through a variety of different ways but a common reaction is the tightening up the muscles. It’s been proven that stress heightens this “fight or flight” response, therefore, signaling to the muscles that they need to contract. Tightened back muscles and chronic back pain can be caused by extended physical or emotional stress.
Weaken Immune System
Stress can also directly affect your immune system. Stress hinders the immune system from fighting off antigens properly, ergo, making you susceptible to illnesses and even asthma and allergies. Some studies show that stress can exacerbate the symptoms of asthma and allergies. Researchers have found that too much stress can heighten the body’s immune response to certain triggers such as pollen, dust, mold, and even pet dander. With the added stress of the holiday months, an asthma attack or bout of allergies is the last thing you need this winter season.
As mentioned earlier, stress can cause the muscles in your body to tense up. Another side effect of stress is also grinding of the teeth. These two symptoms of stress can cause headaches. In fact, headaches are one of the most common ways that stress manifests itself physically. Stress headaches can range in severity from mild to migraine-like, which may keep you from participating in the holiday festivities.
One of the ways you can prevent or treat holiday stress and anxiety are acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture treatments can correct imbalances of energy throughout the body caused by stress and directly affect the way your body manages stress and your mental health. Seasonal acupuncture treatments in winter serve to nurture and nourish kidney Qi which can greatly enhance the body’s ability to thrive in times of stress, aid in healing, prevent illness and increase vitality.
Call Whole Body Health to schedule your acupuncture appointment today so that you can get back to enjoying the holiday season with good family, good friends, and good food.