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'Tis the Season for Stress and Emotional Distress

by Dr. Holly Carling
| December 3, 2010 8:00 PM

'Tis the season for stress and its sister emotions - anxiety, depression and obsessiveness. While emotional stressors appear to accelerate during this time, there is a need to acknowledge the common denominators between the holidays and emotional upheavals. Although stress itself is a major culprit, more problematic are the choices we make during these hectic times.

As we rush around, trying to prepare our homes, businesses, church or other organizations for parties, little room is left for the important things. In the midst of these preparations peak the gift-buying stresses. As one decision mounts on top of the other, the stress increases. Couple that with the financial burdens this time of year imposes, and what results is that the things that should be priority, take second rung.

What are those important, priorities that seem to be under-stated during these times? Taking care of ourselves. That means we trade home-made foods, for quick, fast foods. We forget to drink our water and instead opt for sodas during our quick desperation for food. We forget to take our vitamins (or substitute cheap, fake vitamins), which, are increasingly being gobbled up as a result of the stress, and we put our exercise regime on hold.

As we know, exercise is vital for stress. The "happy" hormones released when you exercise dampen the stress, or at least the perception of stress. Yet during the times we need the exercise the most, we abandon it. Some blame weather, but there are plenty of other exercise options available within your property boundaries that take little time, and if enough of a priority, are easy to implement.

The foods we consume tend to be nutrient poor during these times. Besides the fast food frenzy, the sugar intake skyrockets, the fried and packaged foods increase and when our bodies need vital nutrients the most, they are unavailable. Is it any wonder that there are more heart attacks, diabetic and hypoglycemic instabilities, general illnesses and weight gain?

If sugar instability were the only problem, and short term, we wouldn't have as much to worry about. But because it is simply added onto, and because it suppresses the immune system, has adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and contributes to emotional instability, we have the perfect recipe for a health disaster.

There are many factors that affect our emotional health during the holiday seasons. Some we have direct control over, and others, less control. What needs to be built into our holiday regime (as well as in other times), is rarely ever discussed. We are not taught how to take care of our emotional and physical health during this time. But building in some "holiday safety measures" is essential to our mental wellbeing.

These very things will be discussed during a lecture given by Dr Holly Carling at Vital Health & Fitness in CDA on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., "Strategies for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety and Depression." Fee: $10. RSVP: 208-765-1994.

Dr. Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with over 30 years of experience. Dr. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d' Alene clinic. For more information visit www.vitalhealthandfitness.com or call 208-765-1994.

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