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Mind

Dr Libby's tips to survive the silly season

Top tips to get some heavenly peace these holidays

The festive season is upon us and, for many, it's a time where there is a tendency to swing from one extreme to another when it comes to health. Or we might have been living for most of this year not really looking after our physical health with too much wine and cheese while working from home.
Perhaps there are more demands on our time with family gatherings beckoning, with their differing degrees of fun and challenges. All of this can lead to an increase in our invisible load – what we carry physically, emotionally and biochemically that drives our stress response.
For those who have time off over this period, it can almost feel like you need a holiday after your holiday because you come away feeling just as exhausted as you were in the lead-up – or maybe more so.
And if you don't get a break, the extra load can feel like it snowballs on top of what you're already carrying. So regardless, many people find that they're starting the new year on the back foot.
What kinds of things can we expect to add to our load through the festive season and what can we do to combat them?
Emotional load
The festive season can be a time where emotions run high. There might be family members who don't get on attending the same get-together. You might feel anxious or excited about seeing relatives you haven't seen for most of the year or about considering the needs of everyone joining you for a celebration. There may be additional financial pressures or challenges navigating work and home life while children are on school holidays. Or perhaps the festive season is a time
that reminds you of loved ones who are no longer present. Whatever example resonates with you, deal
Dr Libby says gift yourself some me time.
Biochemical
Our biochemistry is directly affected by what we consume (or what we don't) and how we think and feel. So your physical and emotional loads will drive your biochemical load. You can support your biochemistry over the festive season by focusing on your mineral levels. Magnesium can help to reduce anxious feelings and relax muscles, and it plays a key role in hormone production. Zinc is needed for immunity, detoxification and good digestion. Magnesium and zinc are both easily depleted during times of stress, yet both are necessary for a sense of calm. If stress is ongoing and persistent, you may benefit from supplementing zinc and magnesium alongside a nourishing way of eating.
Physical load
Don't underestimate the energy and resilience that comes from investing in your physical health. In the lead-up to Christmas and into the New Year, with deadlines for end-of-year work projects and social gatherings, it's easy to consume far more alcohol and poorer quality foods than you usually might. Eating mostly whole real foods and reducing your alcohol intake as often as possible will do wonders for your invisible load. Sure, it can be lovely to relax at a picnic and enjoy all that's on off er, but that's just one meal of many in a week. What are you eating and drinking for your other meals and snacks? To amp up your nutrient intake at this time of year, you might like to make a vegetable-based smoothie a few days a week that incorporates organic leafy greens, a handful of frozen berries and some nourishing whole food fats such as avocado, nuts or seeds for an easy yet nutrient-dense snack.
Quick tips surviving the the festive panic
1. RE-EVALUATE THE TO-DO-LIST
How many of the items on your to-do list need to be done by you? How many can be done by a colleague, family member or friend? How many of them need to be done now? How many of them need to be done at all? Try to keep tasks in perspective and learn to prioritise.
2. PUT YOUR LEGS UP THE WALL
A great way help you breathe diaphragmatically is to lay on your back with your legs up the wall. Lie in this position for 5-10 minutes and focus on slowing your breathing rate. Place a folded towel under your back or bottom for support if you like. It's especially restorative accompanied by some soothing music.
3. FLIP IT TO GRATITUDE
So often in the whirlwind of the festive season we forget to stop and reflect on all that we already have. If you find yourself stressing about tasks or catch-ups ahead, flip this around. Consider instead how privileged you are to have resources to be able to do those tasks, to have those you love in your life and to have the opportunity to celebrate with them. Being grateful is to be truly present to life and living in touch with what an incredible gift life is.
Nutritional biochemist, Dr Libby Weaver (PhD), is a 13-times bestselling author and speaker. Her practical and supportive online courses have helped over 10,000 women around the world find freedom from their health challenges.
For more information, visit drlibby.com

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