While Christmas is meant to be a joyous time, the reality can be something else entirely. An ever-growing to-do list, extra financial strain and tension between family members can be enough to take an emotional toll on just about anyone.
The perils of stress and anxiety on our health have long been documented, with a study by neuroscientists at New York University finding that even the mildest of stress can hinder our ability to control our emotions, making potentially taxing times such as the holidays a recipe for a meltdown.
It’s important to reflect on what Christmas is really about: a chance to spend quality time with those you love. Don’t wait until the New Year to kick off any new fitness regimes. Exercise reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, long linked to altered immune responses, which is why we often get sick during times of heightened anxiety. And finally, curb your alcohol intake over the silly season. While it’s easier to reach for booze during periods of angst (especially if Christmas signals a tense reunion with some family members), you’re more likely to let your emotions get the better of you after a few glasses. Not to mention, your body won’t thank you for it the next day.