How To Have a Low Stress Holiday Season

To have a low stress holiday season, the best thing you can do is keep everything in perspective. And we mean everything – the menu, guests, travel plans, holiday shopping, and expectations.

The holidays are ultimately about being with the people who are important to you. But all too often we get caught up in seeking perfection and trying to please everyone. This is simply not possible – you can’t do this year-round so why put this type of pressure on yourself at the busiest times of the year?

Trust us, each of us on the AHCC Research team has our own version of a stressful holiday experience. The goal this year for each of us is to keep the holidays in perspective – focusing on what is most important and hopefully this will help us keep our stress levels low.

The Facts on Stress and Your Immune System Health

Stress levels are at an all-time high in our busy go-go society. When it comes to the holiday season, stress seems to be part of the package. This year, we want it things to be different.

When you’re under stress, the production of stress hormones including adrenalin and corticosteroids increase, uric acid production increases, and blood sugars rise. This impacts your immune system’s ability to defend against antigens – making you more likely to get sick.

Along with impairing how your immune system is able to respond to health threats, stress can also have a detrimental impact on your coping and healthy habits. For example, when you’re stressed about getting the holiday shopping done, you’re likely to eat fast food at a shopping center, skip your morning walk, and cutting back on your sleep.

Stress is a key factor in causing headaches, high blood pressure, digestive issues, sleeping disorders, and heart problems. During this busy time of the year, we encourage you to practice healthy habits, take a deep breath in, and remember to take your AHCC to help strengthen your immune system.

10 Ways to Keep Holiday Stress Low

When your stress levels are high, it’s very challenging to reset and get back to a place of calm and happiness.

During the holiday season try to practice these 10 ways to keep holiday stress low:

  1. Admit That You’re Stressed
    Realize that you’re stressed and talk to your friends and family. Get others involved in helping plan the Thanksgiving menu. Acknowledge that you can’t do everything and be comfortable with changing plans. 
  1. Set Realistic Goals and Plans
    The holidays will not be perfect. Once you admit this, your stress levels will be lower. Be willing to accept that your holiday traditions might need to change. Don’t overschedule yourself with lots of travel and trying to visit or host everyone. Know who you want to spend time with and make this your priority.
  1. Plan Ahead
    There are lots of excellent holiday planning schedules available online. Choose one that works for your holiday plans and use it as a guide to help you manage your holiday stress and plans. Know what is most important to you to have an enjoyable holiday season.
  1. Keep Holiday Expectations Low
    Remember, everyone is stressed during the holidays and this means people are not going to be their best selves. Don’t expect you’ll have the perfect Thanksgiving meal or that everyone will be thrilled with their gifts. Be ready to take a step back and let others do the planning, hosting, cooking, shopping, and clean-up.
  1. Choose Who You Spend Time With
    The people we surround ourselves with have a direct impact on our mental and physical health. Seek out the people who make you feel happy, comfortable, relaxed, and safe – these are the people who can help you have a low stress holiday season.
  1. Practice Gratitude
    Take a few minutes every morning to write down what you’re grateful for. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, give your gratitude list a read – this can help you keep perspective and remember all the goodness in your life.
  1. Make Time For Yourself
    Yes, you feel great when you make others happy. But to do this, you need to be happy. Keep up your healthy habits and do things that bring you joy. For example, fill the bath, light a candle, get a good book, make a mug of hot chocolate, and lock yourself in the bathroom – even if you just get 30 minutes of calm in the hot bath – you will feel better.
  1. Say No
    It’s human nature to want to help others. But when it comes to the holidays you need to say no. You cannot do everything, choose what you want to do and don’t take on too much. It can help to write down everything you’re doing and then when someone asks you to whip up a Thanksgiving dessert on short notice, you’ll remember that you don’t have time. 
  1. Remember Why You’re Celebrating
    With the busyness of the holidays, it can be very easy to lose sight of why we’re celebrating. Talk with your family and friends about why the holidays are important and remember these emotions when things start to get overly busy and intense. 
  1. Give Yourself A Break
    No one is perfect. No one can do everything. Give yourself a break and recognize that you’re human. You can only do what you can do. Take a deep breath. Go for a walk. Sleep in. Read a book. Treat yourself.

Now we want to hear from you, visit the AHCC Research Facebook community page and tell us how you keep holiday stress low. Do you have habits that help you keep the holidays in perspective? How has your approach to the holidays changed over the years? What are you grateful for this holiday season?

Making the Most of the Holidays

The holidays are about people and being with those who are special to you. This year try to focus on the people who give you the most joy and happiness. When you can do this, you’ll smile more, breathe better, and keep your immune system healthy and strong

We do know that eliminating stress from the holidays is impossible. However, when you keep the holidays in perspective - remember Thanksgiving and the December holidays are a small part of the year.

To help kickstart your holiday menu planning, here are some of our mushroom-themed holiday recipes:

We wish you a happy, healthy, and low-stress holiday season.