Make Christmas Wonderful – Not the Most Stressful time of year!

It’s the first day of December! Call me crazy but I like to call this the first day of the Christmas period, writes Reading Chiropractor Beccy Norman. If you are enthusiastic like me, you may already have the tree up and have  started buying for your loved ones. For many Christmas is a time of great joy. It can also be, and maybe particularly this year, the most stressful time of year.

You might see a message on the family WhatsApp group about who’s staying in what bubble and feel that instant churn in your stomach. You might be lying in bed worrying if you can afford that ‘must have’ present your son wants; or even have that horrible headache creeps up every time you sit down and start to write your Christmas cards. These are all physical responses to stress. This is why as a person who likes to take care of your spines and health, I think it’s important to try and help you out this Christmas….. and let’s try and avoid that feeling of the most stressful time of year!!

What is stress?

Stress is an emotion that triggers a physiological response, also known as the fight or flight response. Historically this was ready to prep you for the danger you have encountered e.g. a tiger if you’re a cave man! Your sympathetic nervous system kicks in and your heart rate increases, you sweat more, your muscles tense ready for action and your pupils dilate. Meanwhile your parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the ‘rest and digest’ part of your nervous system switches off. Who needs to do things like digest food when you’re running from a tiger! This is just another smart function our body has, but what happens when we run in this state on a daily basis?

Long term effects of stress

  • If you are feeling stressed, our heart rates sit much higher than our normal resting rate. If this persists all the time it can be detrimental to our heart health. This puts extra stress on the heart vessels, raises our blood pressure and this can cause damage to the heart.
  • Weight gain – thanks to a protein called betatrophin that is stimulated by stress, this enzyme blocks the breakdown of fat. On top of this, if the body is in fight or flight most stressful time of year mode it won’ be digesting properly and this can also lead to symptoms of IBS.
  • Reduced immune response – There is no doubt that stress reduces the effectiveness of our immune system. I’m sure I don’t need to highlight why this is so pertinent at the moment! Chronic stress can also exacerbate both autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. It can also affect some of the musculoskeletal conditions that we see you for.
  • Muscle pain – The chronic stimulation of the muscles causing them to tense ‘ready for action’ will slowly cause chronic tension in the neck, shoulders and back. This commonly leads to pain and headaches.
  • Mental health issues – Stress Is one of the top triggers for various mental health issues. This ranges from insomnia, anxiety, depression and even personality disorders. Due to our constant level of stress and uncertainty during this current ‘covid’ period this is something that is so important to be aware of both in ourselves and loved ones.

Top tips for “the most stressful time of year”!

Chiropractic braintap at Reflex Spinal health Reading berkshire

The BrainTap Headset

It’s not all doom and gloom though, we can tackle these effects head on. I have listed my top favourites but there are lots of other things to do as well. Just chat to your practitioner about it in your next adjustment. Oh and stop reading the news – it doesn’t help!

Most important of all lets all help each other at this time of year, and do not let it become the most stressful time of year.  All of us at Team Reflex wish you all the very best in the run up to a very Happy Christmas!

christmas decorationsReferences:

Blumenthal, J.A., Sherwood, A., Babyak, M.A., Watkins, L.L., Waugh, R., Georgiades, A., Bacon, S.L., Hayano, J., Coleman, R.E. and Hinderliter, A., 2005. Effects of exercise and stress management training on markers of cardiovascular risk in patients with ischemic heart disease: a randomized controlled trial. Jama293(13), pp.1626-1634.

Chandola, T., Britton, A., Brunner, E., Hemingway, H., Malik, M., Kumari, M., Badrick, E., Kivimaki, M. and Marmot, M., 2008. Work stress and coronary heart disease: what are the mechanisms?. European heart journal29(5), pp.640-648.

Curtis, B.M. and O’Keefe Jr, J.H., 2002, January. Autonomic tone as a cardiovascular risk factor: the dangers of chronic fight or flight. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 77, No. 1, pp. 45-54). Elsevier.

Khansari, D.N., Murgo, A.J. and Faith, R.E., 1990. Effects of stress on the immune system. Immunology today11, pp.170-175.

Song, Y. and Lindquist, R., 2015. Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on depression, anxiety, stress and mindfulness in Korean nursing students. Nurse education today35(1), pp.86-90.

The post Make Christmas Wonderful – Not the Most Stressful time of year! appeared first on Reading Chiropractor Osteopath Massage Therapy.

By: Reflex Spinal Health
Title: Make Christmas Wonderful – Not the Most Stressful time of year!
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Published Date: Tue, 01 Dec 2020 15:36:58 +0000

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