I’m going to go out on a limb here. 

I’m guessing that most, if not all of us, have experienced stress, either chronically or occasionally. 

If that’s the case for you, you know stress can be an uncomfortable feeling, especially when paired with additional symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

Stress has adverse effects on the brain and can disrupt systems and processes throughout the body. Even occasional stress – such as holiday season stress –  can have significant negative side effects on an individual. 

How could you possibly be stressed on holiday? 

Good question.

It turns out the holiday season is one of the most stressful times of year for Americans in particular. It makes sense: money and family are at the top of the list of sources of stress for American citizens. Seeing family, communicating necessary boundaries with the family, and spending past a budget are a few reasons for heightened anxiety. 

In addition, some folks might experience travel anxiety, especially after the events of the past couple of years. Holiday stress is also prevalent due to high expectations and vastly different environments, interactions, and daily routines. 

What happens when you are stressed?

When an individual experiences a culmination of stress, it is common that it will disrupt other behaviors, including diet, activity, and the ability to rest properly. 

Many studies have reflected that stress at any age can affect sleep patterns. Lack of sleep routines can ultimately lead to individuals withdrawing from future activities to preserve their energy. 

 Even short periods of stress and anxiety can set lifelong physiological behaviors within the neuroendocrine, autonomic, and immune systems.

When unchecked, it is possible to be thrown out of whack for quite a while after experiencing a particularly stressful holiday season, seasonal depression, or any other kind of occasional anxiety or stress symptoms. Some common symptoms of occasional stress include: 

  • Feeling tense, nervous, and flighty. 
  • Having an increased heart rate and hyperventilating. 
  • Feeling weak, tired, unmotivated, and uneasy. 
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal problems, issues with digestion, and constipation. 
  • Having a hard time concentrating on anything and avoiding challenges that require more focus. 

So, what can I do to avoid stress?

Sometimes stress and anxiety are unavoidable, especially when one is prone to these symptoms. But, even if you are prone to stress, there are things that you can do to set yourself up for greatness when getting ready for an event – such as the holidays – that you know might put you, or a loved one, on edge. 

Our body is always trying to care for us through moments of heightened stress. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) regulates the body and its systems in order to maintain homeostasis. Fighting to maintain homeostasis throughout the body in the wake of stressful stimuli, the ECS addresses and soothes the body’s various responses to stress. The stress response activates a complex range of actions involving the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. 

The good news is that we can supplement the ECS with regular phytocannabinoids, such as the multitude of beneficial cannabinoids found in full-spectrum CBD.

When using CBD products, such as a full spectrum tincture, or a targeted topical, you provide the ECS with an increased load of maintenance workers. In addition, these phytocannabinoids help the ECS protect against any stimuli that may challenge the goal of maintaining homeostasis. 

Here are some ways to get through the holiday season and minimize the stress: 

  • Set boundaries with the family before the event. It is possible to set limits while remaining compassionate and loving. Remember that people do not read minds – and we can’t expect them to. If there is a subject you know will stress you out if it comes up, politely ask for it not to. Our loved ones need ongoing instruction in caring for us because we are constantly changing our needs and boundaries.
  • Allow yourself the time to get away from it all. Having a hobby or task to escape gives us a brief time to relax, restore, and soothe our troubled nervous systems. 
  • Allow yourself more time to sleep, and set up a sleep environment that is beneficial to your needs – a dark room, no electronics, and white noise are helpful tools to create a soothing environment to increase the time that you stay asleep.  
  • Practice deep breathing, meditation, or slow movement. When we move with intention, we are more aware of our whole body and give ourselves the time to check in to how we are feeling. 
  • Give yourself a massage or have a trusted comrade pamper you with a targeted CBD topical.
  • Take a CBD tincture or CBD gummy with your morning supplements or whenever you need a boost. Try adding a CBD tincture to your morning tea or coffee for added benefits. 

 

Sources: 
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961
Hill, Matthew N., et al. “Functional interactions between stress and the endocannabinoid system: from synaptic signaling to behavioral output.” Journal of Neuroscience 30.45 (2010): 14980-14986.
American Psychological Association. “Stress in America: the impact of discrimination. 2016.” Washington, DC: Author (2017).
Sadeh, Avi, Giora Keinan, and Keren Daon. “Effects of stress on sleep: the moderating role of coping style.” Health Psychology 23.5 (2004): 542.
Yaribeygi, Habib, Yunes Panahi, Hedayat Sahraei, Thomas P. Johnston, and Amirhossein Sahebkar. “The Impact of Stress on Body Function: A Review.” EXCLI Journal16 (July 21, 2017): 1057–72. https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2017-480