Have you ever had a great holiday, but in the end the stress was more memorable than the fun? This year you can resolve to do holidays a little differently and get a much better result. The greatest holidays were never about getting every single item on the to-do list done. The greatest holiday memories are about getting to the core of the holiday, and focusing on the things that really matter. 

Here are 3 tips for Less Holiday Stress:

 1. Simplify. 

Sit down with your family and prioritize the holiday events and traditions that you all love the most. Ask everyone to contribute one or two of their favorite traditions. Make a note of the top 3 family favorites, and try to get those scheduled. If you can manage more events than that, go ahead, but be careful not to over schedule your family. The holidays can quickly get so busy that it’s easy to forget what matters (family!).

2. A Harvest of Gratitude. 

Thanksgiving is a great time to make a list of all of your blessings. Some people like to add one item to the list every day in November. Gratitude is a healthy habit to schedule into your daily life, but if you don’t normally do it, it makes sense to start in November. Don’t stop in December. Keep the habit going, and you will be overwhelmed by all of the blessings in your life. Sometimes the people in your life are blessings, but sometimes it might be a special food or an experience you had with someone. Blessings are everywhere, and making note of them can make your holidays extra special.

3. Nourish. 

This one is easier said than done, especially during the holidays, but it’s really important. Focus on your favorite holidays foods that are healthy. Maybe you love the smell of fresh roasted turkey, or perhaps buttery Brussels sprouts make your mouth water. Whatever it is, keep your focus on what’s good for your body. This will keep your mind and heart balanced and less stressed. It will create a space for happiness in your life at just the right time. You can even have sweets and not feel guilty. Just use Sweet-N-Natural as a replacement for sugar in your favorite holiday recipes. No one will know! 

Nourishing your body during the holidays should also include taking your vitamins, and making sure a few key nutrients are included to help lower stress. 

6 Vitamins to Help Lower Stress

 1. B-Complex  is essential because you have to get it from food or from a supplement. Your body does not manufacture them on its own. B-vitamins are critical cofactors for important enzymatic reactions that support all parts of the body, but especially the mind and brain.  A study was conducted on the benefits of B vitamins.(1) Two hundred and fifteen men aged 30-55 participated. They were given B vitamin supplements to take for 33 days. Before and after the experiment, the men were questioned on their perceived levels of stress, their mental health, and their perceived physical well-being. The men that took the B vitamin supplements showed significant improvement in all 3 categories. The supplements also “improved cognitive performance during intense mental processing.” Keeping your B vitamin levels healthy is important for maintaining good moods and helping your mind deal with stress, and that’s no less true during the holidays. 

2. Inositol  is similar to the B vitamins because it is water soluble, but it isn’t officially a B vitamin. It’s just as popular though, and maybe even more well known for its calming effects. Inositol helps calm brain chatter by slowing down the brain waves, similar to how L-Theanine, GABA, and alcohol work. The great thing is that rather than having harmful effects from alcohol, it has beneficial side effects like improving memory, supporting healthy hair and helping burn fat. You can take it at bedtime to help calm your mind. You can also take it in the middle of the day to help with focus. 

3. 5-HTP is especially wonderful for holiday stress because no matter how busy your day was, you can always rest easier after you take it. 5-HTP stands for 5-Hydroxytryptophan and it increases serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps us feel happier and relieves anxiety. It also helps us get into the deeper REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Better sleep means we feel more holly-jolly the next day rather than like the Grinch. 

4. Magnesium Glycinate is a holiday essential. It helps support over 300 basic enzymatic reactions in the body, and it’s easily depleted during times of stress. It’s also depleted when we eat sugar, which, let’s face it...we will eat some during the holidays. Taking a Magnesium Glycinate supplement helps replace the magnesium lost through holiday stress, helps reduce tension headaches and improves sleep. 

5. Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb which helps our bodies adjust to stress. An herb can be an adaptogen when it has a “normalizing physiologic effect.” (2) Taking Rhodiola  during the holidays, or at any time, can improve focus and energy, even when you didn’t sleep as long as you should have. The adoptogenic properties of the herb helps your body respond to the stress in a healthy way. An example of this is the way Rhodiola  can help protect your endocrine system from adrenal fatigue. 

6. L-Theanine is an amino acid that helps relax body and mind. It helps melt away the day’s worries and improves focus and calmness. This can be helpful on those quiet evenings during the holidays, between busy holiday events. Take 100mg of L-Theanine ith a warm cup of tea, and feel the anxiety melt away.

Staying healthy during the holidays is a lot easier when you simplify your holiday plans, keep an attitude of gratitude, and decide to nourish your body. The holiday stress will melt away, and in its place you will find a harvest of beautiful memories. Resolve now to make this a low-stress holiday season, and you can look forward to your healthiest and happiest memories yet!