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In addition to managing stress by being in control of the details of your life, yesterday we had the first half of a guest post from Dr. Harvey Kitzman, explaining exactly what stress does and how it affects us. Below he shares his top 6 easy and inexpensive ways to help you start 2010 calm and capable.

Tips to Fight Holiday Stress and Holiday Blues, Pt. 2
by Dr. Harvey Kitzman

  1. Get enough rest. By making sure that you get enough sleep, you will decrease your cortisol levels (this is the hormone involved in the fight-or-flight response.  Elevated levels contribute to adrenal fatigue and increased belly fat).
  2. Continue your exercise program. Many of us, especially when we travel, get out of our normal exercise patterns. Regular exercise is well document as having stress reduction effects, especially by increasing brain hormone levels that are involved in mood regulation. I know myself that after a few minutes warming up on the elliptical trainer, I get “in the zone”, and I find it to have a very calming effect. Be sure to continue both cardiovascular and weight training.
  3. Don’t overindulge on the sweet foods. I enjoy Mom’s Christmas cookies every year, so I am not telling you to avoid eating them. Just watch your amounts so that you don’t get the sugar crash and feelings of lethargy that accompany them.
  4. Watch your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a depressant, and too much alcohol can affect your mood levels.
  5. Continue to eat well (as best you can). Rich leafy greens and fruits and vegetables that have deep rich colors not only provide the proper nutrients, but they can also provide the antioxidants that we need to fight free radicals. Again, you don’t need to avoid the holiday foods, just watch your consumption levels, especially if you are in a situation where you can not exercise.
  6. Nutritional supplements can help you to reduce holiday stress levels as well:
    1. A good multivitamin will ensure that you are getting the proper nutrients to maintain normal metabolic functioning, and to supplement nutrient deficiencies in diet. They will also help your body heal itself.
    2. Omega III Fish Oils perform so many helpful functions in the body. With respect to mood levels, they will provide essential fatty acids needed for normal neural functioning.
    3. A good antioxidant will scavenge free radicals, cutting down their levels.
    4. B Complex vitamins help decrease stress and improve mood, help maintain healthy levels of serotonin, increase energy, and help to maintain proper neural function.
    5. A good Greens supplement with probiotics will boost the immune system, and aid in providing the body with enzymes, nutrients, probiotics and phytonutrients that a vegetable-rich diet offers, helping individuals to receive well rounded nutrition.
    6. There are herbal formals available that contain adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogens are natural herbals products that help to increase the body’s resistance to stress, fatigues, trauma, and anxiety. They help to increase the body’s resistance to stressors and return it to normal physiological functioning.

If you have any questions about this information, or would like a free consultation to learn more about nutrition, nutritional counseling, or nutritional supplementation, contact Dr. Harvey Kitzman at [email protected] or 512-657-3432 (for your free consult, just tell him you read this article on the Blog).

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!