Between the shopping, baking, entertaining, and whatever else it is we do during this time of year, relaxing is not often in the mix. Stress and anxiety seem to be a major part of the holiday season.
Many of us try hard to get through the holidays without added weight gain, but when you're in a constricted, stressed state, it's possible that none of the food you eat gets digested, assimilated, or metabolized. It will hang on as unwanted weight and no matter how high the quality of food, your body won’t be able to benefit from it. Stress is also a culprit in bloating and digestive issues, and can be a factor in non-caloric weight gain. Being in a stressful state changes our nutritional physiology by lowering our ability to absorb nutrients, to calorie burn, and to heal.
Learning to relax can be as simple as remembering to breathe. Really breathe. Deep, full, slow belly breaths. Six or so at a time can do a lot to help calm and relax you. Breathing is especially useful while you’re eating, but also while you’re driving, shopping, doing the final preparations before the doorbell starts to ring – breathe.
Equally important though is to sit, breathe, and ask yourself if you really need to do all the things you do over the holidays. Yes, you may like to do them, but if you sat down with your family and listed out their priorities and your priorities, would the lists be the same? It can be an interesting exercise.
If we all started to relax more and got in touch with why we do what we do, would we stay the same or change things up? If what we have been doing no longer serves us, then change can be good, especially if it allows us to live a more relaxed lifestyle. And that, my friends, is a gift that keeps on giving.
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