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Christmas Survival

Surviving Christmas from a nutritional therapist

How can I help my body cope with stress in the run up to Christmas?

The beginning of November marked National Stress Awareness Day and it was with that in mind that I considered the effects of stress on the body and mind, particularly in the run up to Christmas!

We all know that periods of stress can strike at any time of year but the anxiety and panic can creep in as we approach the Christmas period can leave even the steadiest of us overwhelmed and exhausted.

So what is it that cause us so much stress?

Is it the expectation from loved ones, the demands of our children wanting the next big thing, the financial implications? Could it be the endless hours of wrapping, or the dashing round Marks & Spencer grabbing first turkey you can lay your hands on? Sometimes the stress is more internal, were you hoping to be slimmer for that Christmas party? Is the pressure of running around making everyone happy just too much? Stress causes our cortisol levels to rise and this in turn often leaves us craving starchy, sugary foods which ironically are probably the last thing your body needs.

Fortunately, there are some ways to reduce your stress levels!

Include some of these top stress reducing foods into your diet wherever possible….

When eating fruit choose berries, they contain lots of vitamin C which works to reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels in your body, leading to a calmer you.

Eat oily fish, a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids helps to keep cortisol and adrenalin from spiking at times of tension.

Include those leafy greens into your meals wherever possible, rich in folate, they help your body to produce mood stabilising neurotransmitters.

Oats have to be one of the the greatest comfort foods, but luckily for us they cause our brains to release serotonin too. I would always recommend choosing steel-cut oats as these are the least processed type of the grain.

Avocados are one of natures most delicious foods, although always best eaten in moderation! Rich in B vitamins, it is an ideal fruit to be eaten at times of stress, it is thought anxiety may be rooted in a B vitamin deficiency.

Stress is known to drain the body of magnesium, leaving us deficient. When you take an Epsom Salt Bath the magnesium in the salts absorbs through your skin to replenish your levels and promote feelings of relaxation and wellbeing, it also helps improve your quality of sleep!! If you haven’t tried this yet, then you’re in for a real treat as these indulgent baths will help you to feel calm and relaxed. The Epsom Salt Council recommend adding 0.25 to 0.50 litres of Epsom Salts per bath, but if it’s new to you perhaps start with the smaller dose and work up. Epsom Salts are available at most pharmacies, just ask at the counter.

If you would like to know more about how to take care of your body during times of stress then please do get in touch with me today on 07887 880 190 or alternatively please email me at

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