The Christmas Season is here again, so I give you the gift of a survivor’s guide to the holidays. Surviving the holidays includes surviving the holidays physically and nutritionally, as well as mentally and emotionally.

According to TrueForm Fitness Coach D’Anthony Miller, you need the CIA to help you survive the holidays physically. Now, that is not the Central Intelligence Agency; it is Consistency, Involvement, and Activity. The most important aspect of any health habit is consistency. During the holidays, it may be a little more difficult to make it to the gym, so you may need to simplify your exercise routine. Go for a brisk walk, do yoga or stretching exercises, or simple band, body weight, or dumbbell exercises. The key is to maintain consistency in exercising. Second, during the holidays, in many households, the kids go outside and play while the adults stay inside and are more sedentary; instead, go outside with the kids and play, or at least do some form of indoor activity like playing charades. Which leads to the last point, which is activity. Holidays tend to lead to inactivity. Make sure you remain active during the holidays, which will help you survive physically.

family feast holidays

Surviving the Holidays Nutritionally

When it comes to surviving nutritionally, TrueForm Nutrition coach Taylor Robbins says that there are three things that are important. First is portion size. Most of us not only indulge, but we overindulge. We consume portion amounts much larger than we typically consume during the rest of the year. She recommends that you plan out your portions. It is okay to indulge, just don’t overindulge. Second, how fast are you consuming your food? If you rapidly consume your food to make sure you get back for seconds before they are gone, you are putting more stress on the digestive system and making it harder for the body to process what you have consumed. This can lead to discomfort and weight gain. Finally, is the food choices we make. This is the time of year when we tend to consume more candies, and pies, and cakes. Once again, it is okay to indulge if we are doing it in moderation and make sure you are balancing the less than healthy choices with healthier choices. Make sure to add plenty of raw fruits and vegetables into your dietary choices. This will help you to survive the holidays nutritionally.

sad woman sitting on couch wrapped in blanket and holding a mug

Surviving Mentally and Emotionally When You Don't Feel So Jolly

So what about surviving mentally and emotionally? For most people, this is “the most wonderful time of the year.” It is “Joy to the World” and “…the season to be jolly.” It is a time to gather with family and friends and celebrate. For others, this is not the most wonderful time of the year. It is a time of loneliness and difficulty. It is a time when they are literally S.A.D. because they suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a condition that usually occurs during the winter but can occur in the spring or summer. It is thought to be caused by seasonal changes in the amount of daylight hours that can cause a dysfunction in the biological clock or circadian rhythm. Changes in the amount of daylight hours can impact Serotonin levels which can alter a person’s mood. Changes in Serotonin levels can also impact Melatonin levels which will alter sleep patterns and magnify mood disorders. Seasonal Affective Disorder affects about 10 million Americans every year. Another 10-20 percent can have mild, undiagnosed symptoms. It affects about four times more women than men and usually starts around the age of 20. Approximately 6 percent have severe enough symptoms that require hospitalization. Over half have some form of family history of depression, and more than a third have some form of alcohol abuse within the family. The good news is that the risk decreases with age, and not surprisingly, it is more common in the northern states.

Common Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

The most common symptoms of winter S.A.D. are depression, hopelessness, loss of energy, social withdrawal, loss of interest, oversleeping, appetite changes, weight gain, and concentration problems. The symptoms of spring and summer S.A.D. tend to be the opposite. They include anxiety, irritability, agitation, poor appetite, weight loss, and increased sex drive. Some other underlying factors that can impact the intensity of S.A.D. are neurotransmitter dysfunctions, brain wave imbalances, hormonal imbalances, stress, toxins, and infectious agents such as Lyme, viruses, and parasites. These are all conditions that we can help evaluate for you at Docere Life Center.

young woman in gym with kettlebell and water bottle

How to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

So, what can you do if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder? First, there are special lamps that can replicate the UV light of the sun and help compensate for the lack of daylight hours. Second, the recommendations for surviving the holiday physically and nutritionally apply not only during the holidays but can also have an impact on the intensity of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Finally, through our Frequency Testing methods, we can evaluate for underlying conditions that may be at the root of the cause of your Seasonal Affective Disorder and make personalized recommendations of supplementation and custom-blended herbal and homeopathic remedies that can help reduce and even eliminate the symptoms you are dealing with and restore the life you deserve. As I close, let me share a few recommendations from Eagle Fire Enrichment coaches Chris and Micah Tice on how to not only survive the holidays mentally and emotionally, but how to start the new year off right. First, keep it simple. Second, keep it realistic. Third, write it down. Fourth, communicate early and often. And finally, stick to it. These simple tricks can help you survive the holidays mentally and emotionally.

If this blog has been helpful to you and you would like to explore further how we can help you not only make the best of the holidays but make the best of your life, call today at (316) 531-3030. All of us at Docere Life Center want to help you not just survive the holidays; we want to help you THRIVE in the holidays and every day of the year.

Dr. Kison Frank, DC