While for some people the Holidays is the happiest time of the year, it can also be one of the most stressful times. Activities and events like shopping for last-minute gifts, family vacations, adult children returning home, dinner with in-laws, just to name a few, can make us feel nervous and tense. If you are in perimenopause or in the first 4 years of menopause, your hormones can make you even more sensitive and vulnerable.
It doesn’t have to be that way. As we approach the holidays, make a mental note about the emotion-amplifying effect of your hormones and commit to regular self-care, I bet that it’ll be a fun and most enjoyable Holiday season.
Here are some ways to reduce stress and manage mood swings:
- Hit up a HIIT class. Short bursts of high intensity interval training (HIIT) not only is more effective for weight management than endurance training, it also improves blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity. Interestingly, endurance training like running is associated with negative effect on the adrenal glands as longer periods of sustained exercise induce hypercortisol, which increase blood pressure and blood sugar, and suppresse progesterone production. Increased blood pressure and blood sugar are associated with anxiety and energy crashes, respectively, while progesterone is a natural sedative. If you know the holiday engagements typically overwhelm you, sign up for a HIIT class at your local gym.
- Guided Meditation. Backed by a great number of research, the subtle therapeutic power of mind/body practices can be comparable and complementary to that of anti-anxiolytics and anti-depressants. There are several methods but for those who have a hard time settling down their minds, the easiest way to uncluttered the voices inside the head is to follow guided meditation. Many recordings are available online or in apps for purchase. There are also really great one for free on Youtube. My favourites are those recorded for children. They are easy to follow and channel my inner child inside. I personally like these Space to the Moon (https://youtu.be/mV9BBR1RoGg) and Body scan (https://youtu.be/aIC-Io441v4).
- HeartMath. If you’re one of those people who likes to monitor your progress with numbers, the HeartMath methodology is for you. This technology (emWav comes with a device that monitors your heart rate and computes the variability of your heart rate. The more variable you heart rate is, the healthier you are. The program can help you recognize and personalize specific behaviours and thought patterns that maximize your heart rate. It’s been used by US military and corporations to help soldiers and employees to restore and strengthen mental-emotional health. Find out the science of heart rate variability (HRV) here (https://www.heartmath.com/science/)
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture reduces the overactivity in brain-adrenal communication, aka hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. It’s been shown to reduce peripheral nervousness and tension that often contribute to hotflashes and nightsweats. Don’t forget this helpful tool when you catch yourself in a meltdown during the holidays. Chances that your local therapists (naturopathic doctor, doctor of oriental medicine, acupuncturist) are open for business to help you cruise through the holidays.
- Avoid people who repeatedly make you feel uncomfortable and in their presence, you feel the urge to react or defend for yourself. This strategy may be the most efficient one but the hardest during the holidays. You may try to be kind, practice compassion and forgiveness, but the problem is unsolvable no matter what you do. Do not confront them head-on, and address any differences you have well after the holidays at best if that’s of interest to you. Having a foe in your close circle is a normal part of life. If you’re hesitating to cut them out of your life, think about the related cost on your health and happiness, and then make your decision from there.
- Homeopathic remedies. Several homeopathic remedies are very helpful in tying you over the holidays with respect to mood swings. They are typically available at your local health food stores. Find the remedies that match you from the descriptions below and keep the selected remedies with you at parties so that you can use them before, during, and after parties.
- Bach flower rescue remedies. This is a complex blend of remedies and it comes with different administration methods ranging from sprays, droppers, pastilles, and pearls. Follow the package instruction.
- Kali phosphoricum 12C. This remedy is particularly helpful if you are constantly worried, scared, nervous, to a point where you feel exhausted and weak, either mentally or physically. The 12C dosage can be taken every 2-3 hours, 3 pellets dissolved under the tongue.
- Natrum muriaticum 12C. This remedy is particularly helpful if you feel hurt and down about yourself after hearing what others say about you or how they react to you. Your family and friends might have remarked that you are sensitive in nature. The 12C dosage can be taken every 2-3 hours, 3 pellets dissolved under the tongue.
- Pulsatilla 12C. If others had said to you that you are hard on yourself, and you tend to slide from being anxious to depressed and the vice versa. Try this remedy. The 12C dosage can be taken every 2-3 hours, 3 pellets dissolved under the tongue.
- Phosphorus 12C. This is the remedy for you if you tend to feel nervous in the gut where it gives you heartburn or upset stomach. The 12C dosage can be taken every 2-3 hours, 3 pellets dissolved under the tongue.
- Sepia 12C. This remedy is best for if you feel like suffocated and wanting to escape from the holidays. It’s also a great remedy for hotflashes followed by chills. The 12C dosage can be taken every 2-3 hours, 3 pellets dissolved under the tongue.
- Staphysagria 12C. This is the remedy for people who can erupt quickly. They have been suppressing their anger for a long time and get irritated easily during the holidays. The 12C dosage can be taken every 2-3 hours, 3 pellets dissolved under the tongue.
- Sulfur 12C. This is a really great remedy for people who have been trying to lose weight for a long time and they don’t see the results whatsoever. They feel angry an unfair. The 12C dosage can be taken every 2-3 hours, 3 pellets dissolved under the tongue.