One key to avoiding stress is knowing that it’s okay just to say, “No, I’m not participating.”
It is long been known that on the scale of psychological stresses, the holidays rank near number one.
Why is that?
As you probably guessed, there are many reasons—who can’t name a few? Finances, our and our spouses’ expectations, and—often the biggest—family.
It could be this has been a physically or financially difficult year for you. If so, the holidays might bring dread rather than joy.
One of the most important things to understand is that it’s okay just to say, “No, I’m not participating.” Seriously, I read this many years ago in one of my favorite life simplification books.
Yes, this could be the right solution for you. Sometimes one of the healthiest things we can do is just choose not to participate in chosen—or all—holiday activities.
Psychologists will be the first to tell us that, as adults, the most stressful things the holidays bring are our own expectations that they will miraculously do something for us that they can’t.
So, some people will choose travel, go away for the day, or simply be by themselves. What keeps you happy and healthy is exactly what you should do!
Others seemingly will suffer through anything, and complain about it all the while. This is how you stress yourself out!
Yet others embrace the season with joy.
Whatever it is for you, start by making a healthy choice.
Like everything, keep in mind it is a choice.
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Holiday Stress? Just Say No. is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists
Pay particular attention to your body during the holidays, especially if you have neuropathy or chronic pain!
Even for the healthy, the holidays can be incredibly stressful.
Some surveys have even found that people are more stressed by the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas than by asking the boss for a raise!
But when you have:
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Post-Chemotherapy neuropathy
Since you now have the stress of the holidays to deal with too, your health could take a serious beating—that will take you months to recover from.
Here are some steps you can take to make the holidays (and the months following them) a little easier to deal with:
1. Understand How Stress Affects Your Body
Stress (both mental and physical) causes the body to release hormones that prompt the liver to secrete glucose. That can wreak havoc on your blood glucose levels if you suffer from diabetes. In Type 2 diabetics, stress can also block the release of insulin from the pancreas and leave that extra insulin floating around in the bloodstream. In Type 1 diabetes, the effects are a little different. Some Type 1 diabetics say that stress drives their glucose up, while others maintain that stress drives their glucose down. Either way, your energy levels are wrecked. On a good day, that can be difficult to deal with. At the holidays, it can be pure misery.
If you are feeling stressed and your energy is especially low, you are less likely to pay attention to your glucose levels, or eat as you know you should. Pay particular attention to your body during the holidays, and Handling The Holiday “Stress-a-Thon”
2. Do What You Can To Reduce Mental Stress
Many of the things that stress us at the holidays are easy to manage or control. Make your life as easy as possible during this trying time.
If traffic really works your nerves, leave home a little earlier or try getting to work by a different route and avoid the areas that are particularly congested.
If your boss is a nightmare, plan to take vacation around the holidays if at all possible, and give yourself a mental break.
Volunteer to help with the holiday activities of a local charity. Doing something good for someone else is a wonderful way to make someone else’s life better and make you feel good at the same time.
Resolve to start a new exercise program, learn a new skill, or start a hobby as soon as the holidays are over. Enlist a friend to do it with you so you can encourage each other. Giving yourself a goal and something to look forward to after the grind of the holidays is over will do wonders for your state of mind.
3. How Do You Cope?
Everyone has a coping style. Some people are the take-charge type and take steps immediately to solve their problems. Other people just accept the problem, recognize that they can’t fix it, acknowledge that it’s probably not as bad as it could be, and go their merry way. Still, others are hand wringers and feel perpetually out of control.
The take-chargers and acceptors have less problems with stress, both at the holidays and on a daily basis—as a result, their blood glucose levels don’t become elevated.
One of the most useful things you will ever learn (diabetic or not) is to relax. For many, the ability to relax is not natural, but it can be learned. Some ways to help you relax are:
Sit down or lie down without your arms or legs crossed. Inhale deeply. Push as much air as possible out of your lungs. Repeat the process but , this time, relax your muscles while you exhale. Start with this exercise for 5 minutes at a time and increase your time until you’re practicing breathing at least 20 minutes at a time, once a day.
Progressive Relaxation Therapy
Tense your muscles then relax them. Lie still and repeat the process for 5 minutes at a time, at least once a day.
We can’t say enough about the benefits of exercise. As we’ve said before, you don’t have to run a marathon to get the stress-reducing benefits of exercise. You can walk or stretch, too.
Watch Your Mindset
When it comes to reducing stress, a lot can be said for the power of positive thinking. It’s really easy to let your mind overwhelm you this time of year…
“I’ll never get it all done…”
“What if they don’t like what I give them?”
“Oh man, I have to spend time with my brother again this year…”
Just watch your mindset and you can eliminate much of the stress of the holiday season. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Say a prayer or recite a poem or a quote that makes you feel good. Think of something that makes you happy. It may sound trite, but go to your happy place.
Choose one or more of these methods to relax and do it daily. Relaxing doesn’t come naturally to us, but we can definitely learn to do it with practice, and the health benefits are beyond measure.
Face the fact that many holiday stressors are not going away. The relative you don’t get along with, the traffic, the never-ending list of things to do will always be there.
But you can learn to manage the holiday stress. And if you can learn to manage holiday stress, just think of what you can do the rest of the year.
Talk to us and explore ways to handle the holiday stress and make it a healthier and more enjoyable experience this—and every—year, even with neuropathy or chronic pain!
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The post Handling The Holiday Stress appeared first on #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment.
Don’t Take a Vacation from Neuropathy Self Care During the Holidays!
The holiday season can be a stressful time for anyone, whether it’s the positive stress of gathering with loved ones or a more negative experience due to personal hardships. Of course, most of us have a mixed experience of both positive and negative stressors during the holidays.
When you are suffering from the discomfort of neuropathic pain, holiday stress can take an even bigger toll—not just emotional but physical. You’re likely to be feeling more fatigue or a chronic pain flare-up during this time.
It may seem that neuropathy self care is just another stressor during the holidays. Sticking to your at-home treatment protocol of a healthy diet, nutritional supplements, light exercise, and mindfulness practice may seem like an imposition or even just another thing on your rapidly growing to-do list!
But the truth is, the most positive step you can take to reduce neuropathy symptoms during the holidays is to prioritize your neuropathy self care above all else.
If you’ve already fallen off the wagon in terms of your neuropathy self care plan, then it’s important to realize that you don’t have to wait for a New Year’s resolution to get back on. You can start right now.
And if that feels too overwhelming, then remember that you can add in healthy habits just one at a time. Every small improvement will have a cumulative effect on your well-being and help reduce neuropathy symptoms.
Need a refresher about the basics of good neuropathy self care? Here are a few key elements of your at-home care to reduce neuropathy symptoms and holiday stress:
- A diet focused on protein and vegetables, with fewer carbs and unhealthy fats
- Good hydration with plenty of water
- Light exercise as prescribed by your medical team or NeuropathyDR® clinician, possibly including stretching, yoga, or other low-impact activities
- Relaxation exercises or meditation
Above all, try to maintain focus on the joys and pleasures of the holiday season and let go of any preconceptions about how things should go.
To read more about at-home neuropathy self care, take a look at our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!
Neuropathy Self Care is Vital During the Holidays is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment
The post Neuropathy Self Care is Vital During the Holidays appeared first on #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment.
Holiday stress can contribute to worsening of neuropathy symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about how to effectively cope at this time of year.
Hands down, the holidays are one of the most stressful events we encounter in our lives… and they come every year, just like clockwork!
That’s true for anyone, but it’s also true that people with neuropathy related to diabetes or chemotherapy cancer treatment may have higher stress levels than most. In this situation, without a strategic self-care in place, you may be feeling far from thankful or joyful. Holiday stress can add a physical burden to your already overburdened body.
But there’s good news. Holiday stress can be significantly reduced with just a little advance planning. Here’s how you can reduce the impact of the holidays on your neuropathy symptoms.
First, begin by understanding the physical toll that stress takes on your body’s systems. Whether it’s mentally or physically based, stress activates the release of hormones that tell your liver to create glucose, which can wreck your blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic. What’s more, people who are stressed and tired are more likely to ignore their glucose levels or stick to a diabetes-friendly diet.
The second strategy for reducing neuropathy aggravating stress during the holidays is to know yourself and what is most stressful for you. Do what you can to control and minimize your exposure to stressful situations. For example, if driving during rush hour frays your nerves, try to vary your route to work to avoid some of that traffic or leave home at a different time than usual. Or consider alternatives, such as public transportation or carpooling. If you hate to cook but feel obligated to provide a lavish Thanksgiving meal, think of a different way to accomplish the same goal, such as ordering an already prepared turkey or asking a family member to share the cooking responsibilities this year.
Third, it’s a great idea from a neuropathy treatment standpoint to teach yourself a couple of simple relaxation exercises now so that they are easily accessed in your memory when you really need them. Start by reconnecting with your breathing—not by trying to change the pattern of your breath, but simple noticing how it feels to breathe. Spend at least twenty seconds relaxing into your breathing pattern. Progressive relaxation, in which you tense the muscles of each part of your body and then relax them, can also be an effective way to deal with holiday stress.
Be sure to talk with your NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best ways for you personally to minimize holiday stress. He or she will be able to prescribe specific types of exercise, supplements, and healthy eating that can support you best during the stress of the holiday season.
If you need help connecting with a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area who can effectively monitor and treat your neuropathy, click here.
Neuropathy and the Holidays: Ways to Reduce Damaging Holiday Stress is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment
The post Neuropathy and the Holidays: Ways to Reduce Damaging Holiday Stress appeared first on #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment.