Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • November 2017
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Five natural ways to manage holiday stress

Whether it’s hosting your entire extended family for Thanksgiving, worrying about overspending, not being organized, having concern about family dynamics, or trying to find the time to shop for gifts, the holidays can be an incredibly stressful time. With so many commitments, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and you may forget to take time for yourself. This season, it’s time to say goodbye to holiday stress!

We’re always looking for the best ways to naturally support our health, especially around the holidays. We’ve come up with five tips that may help you have a happy and stress-free holiday season!

Eat well

Sometimes it seems like the holidays have become synonymous with overindulgence. From the peppermint brownies your coworker brings to the office to the pecan pie your grandma makes every year for Thanksgiving, almost every holiday get-together offers an opportunity to eat poorly.

This year, beware of sugar! This source of empty calories can contribute to feelings of stress and tiredness. Too much sugar may also dampen the receptors that tell your brain to stop eating, so you may end up consuming far more than you intended.

Focus on food that is filled with the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Choose to incorporate leafy greens, whole grains, citrus fruits, and protein-rich foods like chicken and fish into your diet. You’ll feel better and be giving your body the nutrients it needs to function optimally.

You may also consider having a healthy snack before holiday parties, so you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.

And, just like any other time of year, be sure to drink plenty of water!


Even though the colder months make it tempting to curl up on the couch with a blanket, making the time to exercise can have many potential benefits throughout the holiday season. In addition to supporting your overall health and maintaining muscle health, exercise can be a great way to manage stress.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports, “Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep and improve self-esteem.”

Whether it’s taking the family on a hike or hitting the gym for 30 minutes, you might be surprised how exercise calms your mind and leaves you ready to tackle your next holiday to-do.

If you need extra motivation to get moving, try finding a workout buddy to keep you accountable, or sign up for a local race that benefits a good cause. Of course, picking the perfect playlist and fueling up with your favorite green shake is also a great way to get in the workout mindset.


While it may seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day (especially at this time of year), taking the time to get a proper amount of rest may support a healthier mood and outlook. It may seem obvious, but a lack of sleep can contribute to your stress levels.

According to the American Psychological Association, there is a direct link between sleep and stress. In a stress and sleep survey, adults who got less than eight hours of sleep per night were far more likely to report stress-related symptoms such as feeling irritable, overwhelmed and angry, and lacking interest, motivation and energy.

If you find that you’re having difficulties getting a full night of sleep, try fitting in a short nap during the day. The National Sleep Foundation reports that a nap of 20-30 minutes can potentially benefit your energy levels, mood and alertness. You can also try a sleep supplement.


Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils to support health, and these oils are used to support everything from head pain relief to memory support. This holiday season, trying aromatherapy may be a natural way to calm your mind during times of stress. You can choose a holiday specific scent like fir, frankincense or peppermint, or scents like lavender and vanilla that seek to support a healthy mood. Many oils are also available in blends that offer stress support.

Essential oils are also versatile — you can diffuse them, use them as massage oils or add them to bath products. Simply find the oil that works best for you and makes you feel happiest.

Take time for yourself

One of the secrets to a stress-free season is making sure you re-center and refocus yourself, and remind yourself of the things that matter. Depending on your preference, taking the time to slow down and enjoy your favorite cup of tea, read a few pages of your favorite book before bed, practice your coloring, or start your day with a few calming breaths can be the perfect balm for recharging your mind and may help you with holiday stress.

While the holidays can be a source of stress, they can also be a time of joy. Focusing on the time spent with family and friends may also help you to relax and enjoy. We hope that these tips can help you have a more restful and healthy holiday season! 

Theresa Groskopp, CN

Theresa Groskopp, a licensed certified nutritionist, is the founder and president of Natural Healthy Concepts, which has a retail location at 310 N. Westhill Blvd. in Appleton. She firmly believes that the foundation of health and wellness lies in proper nutrition. To supplement proper nutrition, Natural Healthy Concepts carries a wide variety of pharmaceutical grade supplements, homeopathic remedies and herbs — all of which are derived from the highest quality ingredients. The store also offers a nice selection of natural health products, including nontoxic sunscreens!

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