It’s beginning to look like Christmas…actually, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas which isn’t always so great. Ho ho whoa…everything seems so overwhelming. You worry about the craziest things; that Santa will be coming to town and because every hotel in the area is booked, will want to stay with you. (You already have more out-of-town guests than you can handle). That Amazon closes for the holiday. That you don’t have a chimney. Your latkes will turn out leaden. You do too much. You eat too much. You sleep too little. Holidays can send the already delicate balance of your 50 or so hormones seriously off the skids, making you feel anything but comfort and joy. Cortisol, leptin, insulin, thyroid hormones, progesterone, estrogen, even the normally happy, fuzzy, feel-good hormones serotonin and oxytocin. All of them, together or by themselves can cause a list of health issues longer than your list of gifts which even includes the person at your groomer who sweeps up the hair of your beloved Havanese:
- Insulin overload
- Low energy
- Mood swings
- Heartburn, diarrhea, constipation
- Overall aches and pains
- Low immune system
- Low libido
- High blood pressure
- Even risk of heart disease
But before you get your tinsel in a tangle, we’re going to give you some help to keep the ho ho in your holiday.
On The First Day Of Christmas
Start ordering your Pumpkin Spice Latte decaf. “Unthinkable” you think. Well, a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, links excess caffeine intake to a jolt of cortisol, which will not only cause you to experience increased stress and anxiety, but severely disturb your sleep. It also stresses the adrenal glands.
On The Second Day Of Christmas 1st/2nd Day of Kwanzaa/4th day of Hanukah
Party, just not so hardy. If you’re on the holiday party circuit and staying out for a go-go night, then awakening early for a go-go day, you’re setting yourself up for leptin dysfunction. When leptin levels are low, your appetite increases and your metabolism slows.
On The Third Day Of Christmas
Raise your glass only not as often. Alcohol raises cortisol (stress hormone) levels. If you’re already stressed out, alcohol takes a further toll on the body, exacerbating anxiety, low mood and headaches. Plus alcohol is stored as belly fat. And hormones aside, it’s not a time to get behind a wheel.
On The Fourth Day Of Christmas
Eat more protein. The thyroid can’t function properly without adequate protein. This leads to a slowing down of the thyroid, which you’ll feel as fatigue, sluggishness and persistent weight gain. One way to resist unhealthy sweets and foods this season is to incorporate more protein into every meal. You’ll feel fuller, so you’ll eat less and cut down on all those elf nibble and Pin-perfect tidbits.
On The Fifth Day Of Christmas
Breathe deep. Whether you do yoga, meditate or simply take a 20-minute time-out for yourself, deep breathing into the lower and upper lungs has a calming effect on your body, telling it that it’s safe to focus on making sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) rather than stress hormones (cortisol and cortisone). Watch that low libido go.
On The Sixth Day Of Christmas
Disappear for a while…get a massage. Research has shown that massage has a direct impact on lowering the levels of stress hormones that create the “fight-or-flight” response, and can boost “feel good” neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin.
On The Seventh Day Of Christmas
Resist the big binge-o-rama of non-stop food. The average person consumes nearly 6,000 calories during Christmas day. This might be why people gain an average of 6 pounds in the nine days between Christmas eve and New Year’s. Go into meals with a game plan. Don’t deprive yourself, but don’t go overboard either. (Like with 3rd helpings. Yes, you, you know who you are.)
On The Eighth Day Of Christmas
Sleep. Most people are wired during the holidays. So they rarely get their optimal 7.5 to 8.5 hours each night. And their sleep patterns are non-existant. Studies on sleep show that this can make you prone not just to emotional irritability, but to mild to moderate cognitive impairment and motor skill impairment. Think falling off ladders putting up tree toppers. Or toppling all those candles meant to light up the holiday, not light fires. (It happens.)
On The Ninth Day Of Christmas
Exercise. During the holidays, it’s tempting to throw your workouts by the wayside with the promise to start again after the New Year. If you can’t fit in a sweat session, even walking 30 minutes a day will do the trick. Regular exercise lowers the level of stress hormones. It also helps release endorphins and improve your sleep quality. Reduce depression. Elevate mood. Works wonders.
On The Tenth Day Of Christmas
Say no. You don’t need to buy every item on your kids’ lists which they have been adding to since last December 26. You don’t need to lead the caroling brigade while cooking up an endless storm. Ask Siri and Alexa to trim the tree. Stress depletes the calming, “happy hormone” progesterone. And maintaining a healthy level of progesterone is absolutely essential since it converts into other hormones as needed (including estrogen and testosterone) supporting natural hormonal balance.
On The Eleventh Day Of Christmas
Cut out your expanded consumption of sugar. (We’re not saying to red light the pecan pie or tell those yummy gingerbread men to take a hike. Just be rational. Eating an excess of sugar-laden foods, can mess with your gut, which messes with your cortisol, which makes you crave more sugary foods. Sugar not only creates highs and lows in mood and energy, it disrupts the hormone insulin, which in turn impacts all other hormones in your body. Not so sweet.
On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas
Increase your “me time” under the mistletoe. Researchers have found that expressed affection, of which kissing is a prime example, was directly related to lowering the stress hormone cortisol throughout the day. Kissing activates the brain’s reward system, releasing neurotransmitters like oxytocin, “the love hormone. It also raises testosterone which increases sex drive. (Oh joy, oh joy…)
On any day of Christmas, ask Dancer or Prancer for a lift (OK, so maybe just take a Lyft) to see the hormone experts at Denver Hormone Health. Instead of worrying about all the gifts you’ll have to return, focus on returning your hormones to the levels they need to be And don’t say you don’t have the time. With just few simple tests the hormone professionals at Denver Hormone Health can determine if your hormones are unbalanced and know exactly how to get them where they are supposed to be. So put down the Pfeffernüsse and make an appointment with Denver Hormone Health now.
Helping you feel your best, is their gift to you.