Between cooking, buying the perfect gifts and attending multiple parties every week, the holidays can be a stressful time for most people. It's hard to take the time to slow down each day when there's so much to do from November to January 1st. The good news is there are still a few things you can do to manage your stress with little effort.
Obviously it would be ideal to keep up with a perfect diet filled with leafy greens, healthy fats and whole grains all winter long. Around the holidays your diet might consist more of cookies and candy canes while you're driving from one holiday happy hour to the next.
You might put your good intentions on hold until the new year but you can still fill in the gaps in your diet with vitamins and supplements in the meantime. Luckily there are certain supplements and vitamins available that can help you manage the stress of the holiday season.
Vitamin B Complex
B vitamins can help boost your energy, something you might have less of in the winter time. More energy during the day means you can confidently get more done and sleep better at night. Deficiencies in B6, B9 and B12 have also been linked to increased anxiety and depression which are even more common in the dark winter months.
While many people with modern diets are deficient in magnesium it's often made worse by stress because stress can actually deplete magnesium. This can easily become a cycle that can create more stress and other health issues. Ideally you should be eating magnesium rich foods each day such as dark leafy greens, nuts and fatty fish. Low magnesium levels can also contribute to fatigue.
Omega-3's have been found to help decrease anxiety and inflammation. This may be linked to the role that they play in brain function. Omega-3's are primarily found in fatty fish. If you're concerned about mercury content or just not a fan of fish then it may be hard to get enough from food alone. Fish oil pills are a safe and convenient alternative.
Ashwagandha is an Indian herb known for it's stress reducing properties. It's been used for centuries as a medicinal tonic. Recent clinical trials have shown that this powerful antioxidant may actually help with conditions such as depression. This is thought to be due to its ability to affect cortisol levels.
Ashwagandha can be bought in powder form and mixed with water but has a bitter and earthy taste. It can also be taken as a supplement in capsule form.
Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common especially during winter months with shorter days. Vitamin D deficiency can have significant medical and psychological consequences. Several studies have indicated that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may be caused by changing levels of vitamin D3, which may affect the brain's levels of serotonin.
Sufficient levels of Vitamin D can be difficult to get from diet alone. If you can't get enough time in the sun each day then supplementation can be your best option.