If holiday parties stress you out or increase your anxiety because you're worried about how you're going to feel after eating the food then this post is for you. Fearing the holiday's is no way to live. They're meant for joy and fun with the people you love so use these tips to tap more into that this holiday season! You don't need to suffer through the holidays with digestive issues.
All of the things in this list are completely free and don't add any additional stress during the holiday season. These are also the things I would focus on before you commit to doing the work of fully healing your gut OR if you're trying to maintain your gut health after healing. Before we dive in I need to mention how important preparation is.
Preparation is going to be a big first step for anyone with anxiety or increased stress because we all know winging it and hoping for the best is just not a great strategy. Preparation doesn't need to be anything wild though, it can be as simple as journaling out what you're truly anxious or stressed out about. Once you're able to identify the one thing that is putting you in a more heightened state you can begin to address it.
Once you start journaling you may realize that what you thought you were anxious about isn't really what you cared about and it may be something else. Journaling freely and without judgement can allow our brains to open up and interesting things come out if we let it flow.
1. Deep Belly Breathing
Doing a breathing technique like 4-7-8 breathing before eating your food can have a huge impact on your digestion if you're frequently eating when your anxious or stressed. Our body only has two states; fight or flight and rest and digest. Although, the fight or flight state has it's place, we obviously want to be in the rest and digest state majority of the time especially if we want our digestion to be working for us and not against us. Deep belly breathing can do this because it taps into the parasympathetic nervous system which is the one the promotes rest and digest. Breathing from the belly is a more calm and controlled way of breathing compared to the quick and frantic chest breathing.
2. Remind yourself you'll have
these foods again
One of the major hang ups with binge eating during the holidays is the idea that this is the only time it's appropriate for us to eat these foods which makes our brain think we're being restricted and that we need to get in as much as we can. Luckily, for you, you're likely living in an area with access to plenty of food... this is a privilege... remind yourself that you can and will enjoy these foods again and you can have them whenever you feel like it. This will allow your brain to ease up on the hibernation style tactics and you won't go apeshit on the Christmas brownies.
3. Recognize the nutrients in your food
Holiday food isn't all junk food, there is nutrients in the foods you're eating. Common holiday foods in the U.S. are potatoes, ham, turkey, cranberries, green beans, vegetable dips etc. Shift your perspective from "I can't believe I'm eating all this" to "I'm nourishing my body" which will bring down the stress around the food which means you'll better digest the food you are eating. A lot of the time the anxiety and stress around the food causes the digestive symptoms more than the actual food you're eating will.
4. Pairing carbs with fats and proteins
Pairing certain foods together can help how they are retrieved by the body. Pairing fats and protein with simple sugars or carbs can help lower spike in blood sugar which will help your stress and anxiety to not get exacerbated by the sugar.
5. Be mindful of your alcohol intake
Alcohol is an inflammatory but there are better choices to minimize the effects it may have on your body. If you're not a drinker, be mindful of the sugary drinks you may be consuming. Red wine is the best "gut-friendlier" option because it has resveratrol in it which is a rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and red wine is typically harder to over-drink - making it the best option over the holidays.
Which of these tips will you try out this holiday season?
If you're looking to fully heal your gut in the new year the January cohort for the Gut Calm Blueprint opens up for enrollment soon!! Get on the waitlist so you can start 2022 symptom free!
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Hey! My names Ashleen.