In this article, you will learn and discover tips for dealing with stress during the holidays.

A survival toolkit for a very enjoyable stress-free holiday season

Award-winning naturopath, stress specialist and nutritionist

Dr. Donnie Wilson, author of The Stress Remedy

The most wonderful time of the year has arrived, and with it comes incredible added stress in almost every aspect of our lives, from social events to year-end work obligations.

Just in time for seasonal stress, Stress Remedy (a definitive resource for understanding and treating stress-related illnesses) author Dr. Help comes from Donnie. Dr. Doney offers five step-by-step approaches to diet, rest, exercise, and more, to help people find wells of energy and vitality in their own lives and effectively manage holiday stress.

“Stress is at the root of all the ailments we experience,” Dr. Donny explains “One of the things you can do to improve your health and well-being is to rebalance your stress response. I’ve identified five key ways to turn off the stress response while turning on the relaxation response.”

In the midst of making your list and checking it twice, it’s easy to forget the essential task of taking care of yourself first. In stress treatment, Dr. Donnie helps us see the warning signs when too much stress is producing excess cortisol (the primary stress hormone) and how to deal with these situations by making time for yourself.

For example, in Stress Remedy, Dr. Doney helps identify the symptoms of stress — including physical symptoms such as anxiety and worry about life, feeling overwhelmed, being emotional, digestive problems, headaches, and more. She explains that it’s possible to put your body back together with simple self-care remedies. Here are some suggested self-love techniques:

  • Take time to plan and prioritize your day
  • Enjoying a cup of green tea
  • Schedule a message
  • Take a hot shower or bubble bath
  • Curling up under a cozy winter blanket with a good book
  • listening to music
  • Setting a reminder to eat every 3-4 hours and including protein with each meal
  • Getting enough sleep

Research has shown that all these seemingly simple tasks can actually boost our health tremendously. Both reading and drinking tea can reduce cortisol, increase endorphins and oxytocin, relax muscles and improve mood. Reading works its magic quickly: Just six minutes of reading is linked to a slower heart rate and muscle relaxation. Massages have the ability to rebalance the stress response by reducing cortisol, as well as increasing serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps create calmness, optimism and confidence, while dopamine is associated with motivation, excitement and pleasure.


Stress Remedies Tip #2: Disconnect from social media and reconnect with loved ones

Between work obligations, social commitments and travel plans, getting away from our normal routine of Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is often the furthest thing from our minds. In his new book, Dr. Donnie outlines that taking an occasional break from technology is an essential way to restore healthy cortisol levels and improve immunity.

Since the holidays have the added bonus of time off and different work schedules, taking a break allows us to take our eyes off screens and spend face-to-face time with others, which research has shown to reduce stress and even extend years. Your life. Connecting with others physically or emotionally has been shown to increase oxytocin, a stress-reducing hormone associated with bonding. Similarly, research shows that talking to a loved one can decrease cortisol, increase endorphins and oxytocin, relax muscles, and improve mood.

As a devoted mother of a young daughter, Dr. Donnie highlighted an interesting study in which young girls were given stressful tasks. After completing the tasks, some girls were allowed to call their mothers, others were not. Those who talked to their mothers had lower blood cortisol levels and increased oxytocin levels. Girls who hugged their mothers in person had similar reactions.

Stress Remedy Tip #3: Boost Brain Power by Adding Superfoods to Holiday Recipes

Several of the main culprits of holiday stress are related to food and behavioral eating. Whether it’s to avoid the stress that comes with holiday weight gain or the dreaded physical reaction from overindulging in seasonal foods, a wellness plan can be an important tool when stress attacks this year.

It’s not mandatory to give up all your holiday preferences, but to help your brain cells recover from stress in the most effective way, Dr. Donnie recommends including these superfoods daily:

  • Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts
  • Fatty fish: wild salmon, mackerel and sardines
  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries and cranberries
  • Leafy greens: spinach, kale, chard and more
  • Turmeric, otherwise known as curcumin
  • dark chocolate

Like most people, Dr. Donnie is pressed for time, and has a list of healthy places to go whenever he wants:

Starbucks, which is often nearby, has packages of green tea and nuts along with dry fruits.

Organic Avenue has many quick fixes from the superfood list, including kale salad.

Whole Foods isn’t just for grocery shopping—you can stop by the deli to pick up a superfood.

Now, here’s some news you’ll really love: An article in LiveScience reports a study linking eating one ounce of chocolate per day for two weeks with a reduction in cortisol levels. Remember, though, that chocolate can still contain sugar and lots of calories, so make sure you eat chocolate in moderation and choose dark chocolate!

Stress Remedy Tip 4: Beat stress by getting active and enjoying the natural beauty of winter

Although the weather outside can be intimidating, studies have consistently shown that people who make an effort to spend more time outside have less stress than those who don’t. Taking time to exercise, from something as simple as a leisurely walk to a more intense activity like hitting the slopes, is essential for reducing stress this time of year.

Between shopping and scrambling to meet year-end deadlines at work, it can be hard to squeeze in your usual workout routine. Instead of letting inactivity add to the stress, get creative and take advantage of nature this beautiful time of year:

Enjoy the snow with the kids by building a snowman, having a snowball fight or making snow angels.

Choose a favorite winter pastime in your local area such as sledding, ice skating, collecting pine cones, etc.

Take a leisurely stroll through the holiday fair shops, listen to carolers and admire the seasonal window displays.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, consider planning an active vacation and go snow tubing or skiing.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, consider planning an active holiday and go snow tubing or skiing on the Nashville Christmas Adventure.

More movement is known to reduce stress and bring all the body’s key systems back into balance. Just spending time in nature has been shown to decrease cortisol, increase endorphins and oxytocin, relax muscles and improve mood.

Stress Remedies Tip 5: Feel the seasonal emotions and be fully present

For many, the holidays can feel like an emotional roller coaster. Anxiety and depression are certainly more prevalent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but there are several ways to help alleviate those feelings and rebalance your body’s stress response:

be grateful

One of the most valuable, yet underrated stress-busting activities is practicing gratitude. While it may seem too easy to believe that just feeling gratitude can make you healthier, research has proven it.

Understand that emotions are normal

Another incredibly effective way to rebalance your stress response is to fully experience emotions, which stimulate both hormones and neurotransmitters that reduce stress. It’s completely normal to be more emotional during the holidays, and research shows that “talking it out” and fully acknowledging them is important to our health.


Studies show that laughter can lower your cortisol levels while increasing your endorphins and oxytocin, relaxing your muscles, and improving your mood. For example, a 1989 study published in the American Journal of Medical Science linked “cheerful laughter” to decreased cortisol levels.

Writing in a journal is also a great way to balance your stress response

A study published in Psychotherapy Research found that those in therapy who wrote about their emotions had fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression than a control group of patients who did not write. Journal authors also made better progress in therapy.

Dr. About Donnie Wilson

Dr. Danielle (Donnie) Wilson, a nationally renowned naturopath, teaches women, men and children how to use natural methods to make a life-changing difference in improving their health.

Suffering from environmental and food allergies, Dr. Donnie was inspired to create a special approach to food sensitivities and “eating for health” – The Hampton CleanseTM, a popular, gluten-free nutritional regimen that reduces inflammation, heals leaky gut (a digestive problem that leads to food sensitivities ), supports detoxification and weight loss and returns the body to optimal health.

In his new book, The Stress Remedy, Dr. Donnie discusses how and why we experience stress, its effects on health and well-being, and offers expert guidance on how to reduce stress and regain optimal health.

Dr. Donnie graduated from Bastir University and is a Naturopath, Certified Professional Midwife and Certified Nutritionist. Dr. Donnie is frequently called upon to discuss his approach and his research on stress in the media, as well as at both public and professional events.

He was awarded the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians (NYANP) Naturopathic Doctor of the Year Award and is respected in his field for serving as President and Executive Director of NYANP for over ten years. He continues to play an important role in leading efforts to license naturopathy in New York State.

Dr. Donnie, who is a single mother, is also no stranger to stress, and credits her good health to learning how to support the body, applying science, through diet, exercise, sleep and stress management.

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