Chiropractors Strategy to Straighten Out Seasonal Stress
Date: 10th December 2013
Chiropractors Offer Strategy to Straighten Out Seasonal Stress
Members of the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) are providing holiday season tips to reduce seasonal stress and have a happy, healthy Christmas.
NZCA spokesperson and chiropractor Dr Hayden Thomas says: `At this time of year our member chiropractors see a big increase in people consulting them for what turn out to be stress or tension related physical disorders. Stress is not just a mental or emotional problem but has flow on effects to the entire body through elevated levels of stress hormones.’
Seasonal stress is widely recognised as a clinical condition overseas by institutions such as the Mayo Clinic in the USA and by the NHS in the UK. For many people Christmas is a time of increased stress with arguments over where the children will enjoy the festivities, competing grandparents, new partners and other family tensions, financial worries, time pressures, over indulgence and even summer swim suit body image issues.
According to a new poll of more than 4,000 British adults, more than 40 per cent of divorced or separated Britons find the festive season "very stressful", and 33 per cent claim they "just want the Christmas season to be over as soon as possible".
Dr Thomas explains: `Our bodies are intelligently wired to respond to stress through our sympathetic nervous system which detects potential threats and produces a fright, flight, or fight response for increased survival. This fear and protection response is fantastic for short term action, however, long-term chronic stress can cause damage and contribute to numerous health problems as the heart is placed under sustained pressure, blood sugar levels remain elevated for long periods, and resources are directed to the muscles for action at the expense of the immune system, digestive system, reproduction, healing, growth and repair.’
New Zealand chiropractors are helping out by advising on a number of easy and highly effective ways to reduce the stress response in the body and have a happy, healthy holiday season:
1) Get moving. Simple walking helps unwind the stress response. Do it as a family or with friends each day. Choose Christmas presents for your kids that encourage activity and interaction. Plan some games for Christmas day - it can be as simple as playing hide and seek, tag, or cricket on the beach.
2) Eat fresh fibre first. Add more fresh vegetables and fruits to your diet. Reduce sugar, grains, and other simple refined carbohydrates. Start putting together some healthy recipe ideas for Christmas lunch or dinner. Make a break from the traditional ham and processed treats - think bountiful salads, fresh local fruit and berries, and nuts and seeds to snack on.
3) Always shop full, with a list, and in a relaxed frame of mind. This will help you to avoid grabbing the highly processed sugary, fatty foods and overspending.
4) Non-alcoholic alternatives. A tropical fruit punch or fresh pressed vegetable juice is a perfect choice for summer celebrations. Humble water with a sprig of mint, slice of lemon, or even some strawberries makes a healthy, cheap and refreshing option.
5) Thoughts become things - choose good ones. Start and end every day with gratitude. Be thankful for what you have and who you are. Tell others how important, loved and appreciated they are. Life is a gift - extract every drop of joy out of it that you can.
6) Be mindful. Make your choices based on how things will make you feel afterwards.
7) Sleep. Along with exercise, sleep is one of the most powerful ways your body metabolises and neutralises stress hormones. While socialising over the holidays is great, be sure to have early nights to recharge and rejuvenate.
8) Sit and stand tall, and get adjusted. The NZCA recommends having every member of the family checked by an NZCA chiropractor to ensure the spine and nervous system function at an optimal level. Chiropractic adjustments to areas of spinal stress and nerve interference can help reduce tension and enhance health. Doing the three-minute set of simple exercises recommended by Straighten Up New Zealand every day will help improve posture, stabilise core muscle groups, and prevent spinal disability. It is also important to encourage family members to stand or sit straight and to take frequent breaks to walk around and stretch if they have been sitting down for a while. This will help to stop muscles getting tight and strained. Remember that it is always advisable to have any symptoms that are severe or not improving checked out promptly by your family chiropractor.