Rock the Holiday Hustle

by Jennifer Smith

It is no secret that emergency room visits increase during the holiday season, with stress being the main contributor. From the physical stress of food and drink overindulgence, to the environmental stress of Aunt Clara’s air freshener collection, to the mental stress of over-committing, we can work ourselves into a psychological frenzy without even realizing it.

A variety of effective strategies can reduce holiday stress, allowing you to find temporary zen amidst all the hustle and bustle. Here are a few:

Walking. It has been proven that a simple, brisk walk can regulate blood pressure, boost immune function and reduce cravings for sweets.

Deep Breathing. Smooth, diaphragmatic breathing can increase oxygen flow to the cells, reduce toxins, improve mental clarity and relieve stress.

Meditation. The health benefits (including stress reduction) of meditation have becoming widely known, but it doesn’t come easy for everyone. To realize the benefits sooner, there are meditation coaches, guided meditation podcasts, and devices such as the BrainTap, which incorporates binaural beats, light synchronization and creative visualization.

Yoga. Increased flexibility, improved respiration and cardiovascular health are all benefits of this stress-reducing practice that can be achieved in one blissful hour.

Adaptogenic Herbs. Because our adrenals often kick into overdrive during the holidays, we can show them some love with these “smart herbs” like rhodiola, schisandra or ashwagandha. A holistic health practitioner can help you choose an adaptogenic herb or blend that supports your stress response.

Healthy Indulgences. Treating your body and mind to a massage, pedicure or facial can improve circulation and emotional well-being. Indulge with deep gratitude, knowing that when you look good, you feel good.

Don’t get so wrapped up in doing for others that you neglect yourself this holiday season. Minimizing stress can keep you in the spirit and out of the E.R.

Jennifer Smith, CHHP, is the owner of Enlighten Wellness, located at 880 S. Pleasantburg Dr., Suite 4D, Greenville. Fore more information, call 864.483.3341 or visit