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Nursing a “Holiday Hangover”?

Oops you did it again. Way too much food, drink and don’t forget the crazy stress, travel, family drama, and maybe just one too many fruitcakes can all contribute to the dreaded holiday hangover.

The truth of the matter is that the STRESS of the holiday season is nothing to dismiss. It is the time of year when heart attacks reach a peak level. For 46% of people, their first sign of heart disease is a fatal heart attack.

For others – the holidays bring cold/flu, exhaustion, poor digestion, sleep disturbances, irritability, and depression, and

Holiday stress

Stress manifests as symptoms in our bodies.

anxiety.

Symptoms are signals that our body tells us to let us know that something is wrong or that our body is trying to adapt to something. Body signals are the tip of the iceberg because they only represent the point at which our brains become aware that a problem is happening or has been happening for a while. Learning how to “speak body” is critical to our health outcomes.

The way in which we think about our symptoms drives our choices and it’s our choices drive our outcomes.

Sources of Stress

Stress around the holiday season can bring on a multitude of body signals.  Stress can most definitely come in the form of excessive food and alcohol intake, or sweet and calorie-rich foods.

There may also be stress from late nights, long travel days, high states of family distress and emotional turmoil, poor sleep in different beds and let’s not forget the financial stress that the holidays can bring on with over-spending.

We can even have physical stress from long drives, poor bed arrangements, or sitting too much – all of these stresses add up.  When they exceed your body’s ability to adapt, the body begins to let you know that there is a problem.

Voila!  The body signals begin and we manifest them as symptoms and thus you may experience the Holiday Hangover.

If we aren’t careful and manage our stress, we can start the year off on the wrong foot.  We don’t want to drug away our symptoms because, well, that only masks the problem and doesn’t solve anything.

So let’s end the Holiday Hangover and get back on track!

With the New Year comes a renewed sense of a fresh start.

“I’m gonna lose weight this year!”

“I’m gonna quit smoking!”

I’m gonna be nicer to people!”

If you made a New Year’s resolution (and even if you refuse to make one each year) and have quit already, then listen up! Most people have fizzled out by week three in January.

EAT FOR RECOVERY:

How we eat plays a huge role in our weight and our energy levels. When you have a low energy level, it’s difficult to get the motivation to stay active and exercise. However, when you give your body the proper nutrition, you can have more energy, lose more weight, and stay more active.

Here are MUST-DO’s:

  • Never Go Hungry – eat lots of smaller portions and meals.  Starving yourself doesn’t work
  • The Battle is Won at the Register – if you don’t buy the bad foods, you won’t eat them
  • Don’t Drink Your Calories
  • Avoid the White Stuff (bread, pasta, white flour etc)
  • No Refined Carbohydrates and Sugar
  • Fill Yourself With Healthy Foods*

*Instead of focusing on the foods, you shouldn’t eat, let’s highlight a few foods and supplements that can help you stay active, energize, and get ready to shed those pounds.

Subtraction by Addition

Eating well is critical to getting rid of the holiday hangover.  Here are a few high energy foods (without that sugar crash): blueberries, strawberries, salmon, lean meats, nuts, whole grains, vegetables.

Supplements such as fish oil and probiotics can help you reduce inflammation and keep your gut healthy and happy.
Focus on having protein at every meal.

Stop mixing fats and carbs or protein and carbs.  Fats and proteins.  Carbs on their own.

Eat a handful of nuts once a day.  Raw is best.

Some other tips:

  • Unlimited Vegetables
  • Plenty of Lean Cuts of Natural Meats, Fish, and Eggs
  • Some Fruit, Nuts, and Seeds

For healthy foods to give you an energy boost, it’s all about eating the right ones at the right time. Eating small meals and snacking throughout the day is a great way to keep your body fueled and your energy levels high.

Start by eating a few small meals per day and snacking every few hours in-between. This will help keep your energy up throughout the day. You’ll feel better, think better, and be more motivated to stick with your exercise routine.

Slow it Down

“IT’ is your brain.  Your nervous system takes on all of the stress.  Since we live our lives through our nervous systems, we experience all of our stress through it.  We want to calm it down after the holidays.

Exercise is a great way to burn off steam.  Take a walk.  Hit the gym.  Do a yoga class.  Punch a heavy bag.  Whatever you want.  If you’ve been sitting for the majority of the holidays, then its time to get active.  Pick something that you enjoy doing and get to it.

Another fantastic way to calm your nervous system is simply through breathing.

Try this out!

While laying on your back in bed, place both your hands on your heart.  In this position take ten deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.  You want to feel your breaths lifting and dropping your hands up as your chest rises and falls.  After ten, move your hands to the top of your abdomen but below your ribcage.  Take ten more breaths here.  Finally, move your hands to your lower abdomen over your belly button.  Perform another ten breaths.  Then move your hands back to your upper abdomen for another ten breaths and finally back to your heart for the final ten.

Ahhhhhhhhh!

This is a great exercise for when you are having trouble sleeping.  The key is to concentrate solely on the rise and fall of your breaths and the action of taking the breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Nobody likes a hangover.  They are terrible.

But….

The New Year is a great time to improve your health, get a little extra motivation and even lose a few pounds in the process!  Now it’s time to recover.

I see you

Yesterday, I had a patient of mine tell me how challenging her life has been the past 6 months. She has been working 6 days a week, 12 hours days and it is now causing her to gain weight, lose sleep and feel pains in her body she hasn’t felt before.

Earlier yesterday, I had another patient who is 4 months pregnant who is taking a sick leave from work because she is so tired and nauseous throughout the day that she can barely function to get out the door to get to work, let alone actually be productive.

I’ve put some thoughts here to speak to you – yes YOU.

To all the women (including my wife :)) out there, we see you.

We see how hard you’re trying. We see how much you’re working. We see you doing everything you can to hold it together.

We see you rallying to create the best lives possible for your kids. Running from one place to the next, somehow trying to be seven different places all at one time. We see how many people need you, rely on you, and count on your love to get them through the day. We see the stress of trying to be all things, for all people.
In case you ever wondered, YOU ARE SEEN. You are appreciated, admired and truly respected.
Between your Costco runs, school drop-offs and pick-ups, hockey, dance recitals, and basketball practice, we can only imagine the energy it feels like it would take to add One. More. Thing. Especially if that one more thing, is solely for you.

Permission

We are here to say, that in case you needed permission or extra encouragement; you, your body, and your spirit deserve that One. More. Thing. We promise you it’s easier to give from a full cup. We promise everything important will still get done. We promise that you deserve a spot on that list of important things. In fact, we insist on it.

We don’t want you to give up all the things that you’re doing. You can’t! So let’s play in the possibility that everything else will run more smoothly in your life, if you are operating from a place of less stress. Stress has been a buzz word for the last decade or so and for good reason. Stress in quantities that are too high, stop us from living the life we deserve to live.

Stress comes in many different forms: physical, chemical, emotional, mental, spiritual, etc. The list goes on But, we remind you that stress doesn’t have to dominate your life. Not for long anyways. Too much stress robs us of our ability to maintain a healthy life. When it conquers us we make decision and choices out of fear or anger and that is a terrible position to be in.

We want you to have a healthy, balanced, THRIVING life. We don’t want you to wait for the next ‘crash’. Incessantly putting out fires should be the last thing on your plate.

We specialize in helping women (and all humans for that matter) increase their ability to adapt to the stress in their lives. We totally get that it’s silly to think that the day-to-day stressors can be eliminated. What we do know, is that your body, your brain, YOU, have the ability to change how you adapt and handle it all.
If you’re looking for a support team, here we are.

We believe in you.

We admire you.

And we see you.

Dr. Craig Hazel’s mission is to help families THRIVE. After graduating from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education, he went on to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy from Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas Texas. He is passionate about seeing children and families in his private practice at Synergy Chiropractic in Kanata Ontario. A sought after speaker, he has been featured regularly on TSN Team 1200, CTV and Rogers TV. He is also the Chairman of the Alliance for Chiropractic of Ontario.

Stressed Out and Sneezing

August is here and so begins the ‘sneezing season’ for some allergy sufferers.  Ragweed wreaks havoc on many this time of year.  Itchy eyes and ears, sneezing, scratchy throats – it can be crippling.

What many people don’t realize is there is high levels of stress can cause your allergies to become worse. This has been confirmed by research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology.  Mental stress can upset the balance of your nervous system and immune system. If your nervous system is overstimulated with stress, it can affect the response of your immune system to an allergen.

How is that possible?

Our nervous systems have two divisions – the sympathetic (gas pedal) and parasympathetic (brake pedal).  You probably remember the terms ‘high or flight’ (sympathetic) or the ‘rest/digest’ (parasympathetic) from high school health classes.  Both of these systems work simultaneously to keep us constantly adapting to changes in our bodies and outside our bodies every second of the day.  Think of both systems working together like two kids on a teeter totter.  Sometimes the sympathetic system needs to be ‘up’ and at other times, the parasympathetic system takes a turn working harder.  Both offset each other to avoid one system becoming dominant.

So here’s how it affects you as an allergy sufferer.  The sympathetic system is responsible for our response to allergens.  When pollen or dust contacts the membranes of the nose or eyes, the body launches an immune assault to resist it.  This drives up histamine.  If the sympathetic system is overly dominant, then the histamine levels can be greater than necessary.

Schedules, finances, workloads, not enough exercise, poor diets, chemical stress and more can press down on our ‘gas pedal’ causing our system into sympathetic dominance.

So with that understanding, by decreasing mental, physical and chemical stress, your immune system can function better and head off many allergies at the pass.

Why it Matters:

Exciting new research has showcased how stress reduction can reduce the symptoms we associate with seasonal allergies. Meditation and chiropractic adjustments have been shown to reduce stress levels. And with reduced stress levels, your immune system has the potential to function at a higher level. Feeling more relaxed is something all of us could benefit from- and it may even help reduce your seasonal allergies.

– Physical, chemical, and emotional stress can cause your immune system to become hypersensitive.

– A hypersensitive immune system often overreacts to a potential threat resulting in worsening allergies.

– Reduce stress, and allergies, with a stress-reducing activity like exercise, meditation, or even getting chiropractic adjustments!

Next Steps:

Aside from putting you in a bad mood, being over-stressed has far-reaching effects on your body. If you “start to feel your allergies coming on” find stress-reducing activities that you enjoy. It may be reading a book, meditating, getting a massage, or perhaps even getting a chiropractic adjustment. Feeling better mentally and reducing your seasonal allergies are just a few of the benefits you can expect by lowering your stress levels!

Take a moment and think about one thing that you could do to reduce your stress and plan how you intend to do just that.

Science Source: Stress and Allergic Diseases. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2011.

Dr. Craig Hazel’s mission is to help families THRIVE. After graduating from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education, he went on to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy from Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas Texas. He is passionate about seeing children and families in his private practice at Synergy Chiropractic in Kanata Ontario. A sought after speaker, he has been featured regularly on TSN Team 1200, CTV and Rogers TV. He is also the Chairman of the Alliance for Chiropractic of Ontario.

How to Reduce Stress in the New Year

holiday stress

Holiday stress can carry over well into the new year.

Are you overwhelmed by stress?   Got the Holiday Hangover from the recent holiday season?

Well, you’re not alone. Studies show over 54% of people are concerned with the amount of stress in their daily life. Many of us carry this stress in our shoulders and neck. Muscle tension in our shoulders can contribute to headaches, neck and back pain.  Chronic stress can lower your energy levels resulting in irritability, illness, and even depression. But, there is good news! A few simple changes to your daily routine can help you dramatically decrease your stress level, boost your energy, and ultimately live a healthier and happier life. Keep reading to learn how.

Why it Matters

One of the best ways you can increase your energy levels and reduce stress is with motion! Our bodies are built to move. Improving spinal motion, or segmental motion is one the ways that chiropractic adjustments help you move and feel better. Research has shown that chiropractic adjustments can significantly reduce muscle tension in the shoulders, helping reduce pain, improve range of motion, and decrease stress!

“…cervical muscle tension was significantly reduced bilaterally after (an adjustment).”

“…we observed metabolic changes in the brain and skeletal muscles, as well as reductions in subjective pain, muscle tension… (after a chiropractic adjustment)”

Next Steps: If you know someone who gets sick around the holidays it is likely due to stress. Show them you care and share this research with them. These simple tips for reducing stress will help them have a happier and healthier holiday season!

Science Source:
Glucose Metabolic Changes in the Brain and Muscles of Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain Treated by Spinal Manipulation Therapy
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2017. Article ID 4345703
Central Motor Excitability Changes After Spinal Manipulation: A Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Study
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Volume 25. Number 1. January 2002
Stress in America Survey. American Psychological Association. 2010
Dr. Craig Hazel’s mission is to help families THRIVE. After graduating from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education, he went on to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy from Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas Texas. He is passionate about seeing children and families in his private practice at Synergy Chiropractic in Kanata Ontario. A sought after speaker, he has been featured regularly on TSN Team 1200, CTV and Rogers TV. He is also the Chairman of the Alliance for Chiropractic of Ontario.