16th Dec

Secrets to Surviving Holiday Stress

Gearing up for the holidays? Although the coming season is supposed to be filled with celebrations, love and laughter, many people experience frustration, anxiety, and high stress.

Why is it so easy to forget about health and well-being this time of year?

Excessive alcohol, decadent desserts, and late night partying seem to take over any desire to eat well, exercise, and get to bed early.

Here’s some advice to keep you stress-free this holiday season.



If you’re feeling anxious or tense, simply stop, take a deep breath in for 5 seconds, and exhale thoroughly. Deep breathing improves the way that you respond to stress and provides oxygen to your brain and tissues.

It is also an elimination pathway, releasing up to 70% of toxins when done properly.

Manage your busy holiday schedule

Shop early, write out your ‘to-do list’ before bed, and remember, you don’t have to say ‘yes’ to every single invitation.

Be diligent with taking your supplements

This time of year, you likely need daily doses of vitamin C (1000mg), selenium (200mcg), zinc (30mg), vitamin D (1000IU), and B vitamins. Also, make sure you’re keeping up with your probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids.

Be kind to your digestive system

If you’re planning on overindulging at a holiday party, help your body out by taking digestive enzymes beforehand. Also, do yourself a favour and go easy on the wine and hors d’oeuvres. Your body will thank you.

Load up on garlic

If you don’t want to eat raw garlic, I understand. But keep in mind, it will keep your immune system strong.

Increase your serotonin levels

Serotonin is known as the hormone that greatly influences mood and overall well-being. It is the chemical messenger in your body that is responsible for restful sleep, relaxation, calmness, inner balance, and appetite satiety.

Increase your consumption of squash, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, and dark chocolate. These are some of my favourite foods that help naturally boost serotonin levels.

Keep up with your exercise routine

Regular exercise helps maintain appropriate levels of hormones and neurotransmitters that affect your mood. Don’t make excuses that you’re too busy for exercise this busy time of year.  Make exercise a priority!

Get adequate sleep

Insufficient sleep will increase the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol. Once cortisol is elevated, you are more likely to put on weight, experience mood changes, and feel unbalanced. You’ll also be an easier target for viruses and bacteria.

Use your extended health benefits before they expire

Book a therapeutic massage or relaxing acupuncture treatment. Both massage and acupuncture can reduce cortisol levels, increase pleasure hormones, and strengthen the immune system.

Keep in mind that certificates for massage or acupuncture make great holiday gifts.

Bond with your partner

This will boost your immunity, reduce cortisol, and help you sleep. Cuddling and orgasms will release the favourite hormone, oxytocin. When you’re high on oxytocin, you can bet that you’ll handle stress much better.

Learning how to manage stress is one of the most important factors in leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Take a moment and list some practices that you engage in which help you manage stress. Now pencil these practices into your busy holiday schedule.

Your body is constantly working to maintain homeostatic balance and keep your organs and systems functioning optimally.

Excessive stress can move your body out of this internal balance, which is damaging to your health.

Your well-being depends on your body’s ability to continuously re-establish balance when stress comes into play. If you feel overwhelmed by stress and have difficulty managing it, this holiday season is your chance to approach stress from a different angle – relax, breathe and follow my holiday survival tips.

Your body will be grateful, and you’ll roll in the New Year looking and feeling fantastic!

Happy Holidays to all of you!


Dr.Sara Celik
Dr. Sara Celik is a board-certified Naturopathic Doctor and is the Spokesperson for Renew Life Canada. She is a leader in the health and wellness industry and is regularly featured as a sought-after expert on television programs and in health publications. Dr. Sara carries over 15 years experience and her clinical practice and work in the community Is focused on digestive health, detoxification and weight loss.
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