What is your reaction to the first Christmas jingle you hear and the realisation that yet another Christmas season is approaching. Is it one of anticipation or dread? Will it be a time to share with loved ones and celebrate with wonderful gifts? Or will it be a stressful time wondering whom you will spend Christmas with and how you will afford to buy everyone suitable presents? Do you look forward to all the Christmas parties and shopping? Or do you hate the unavoidable and seemingly endless socialising and trudging round crowded shopping malls that now seems to encapsulate the ‘Christmas experience’? For most people Christmas equates with STRESS above anything else, as we all struggle to attain the much-promoted goal that this is the happiest time of the year.
Many of us are stressed before the Christmas season even approaches and the additional stress tips us over the edge. Warning signs that you have a stress overload are numerous and include the following:
MENTAL: depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders (e.g. constantly washing hands or checking light switches) irritability, irrational outbursts, indecision, memory loss and low self-esteem.
BEHAVIOURAL: increased deviant behaviour (this can include anything from physical aggression to eating binges and shop-lifting), increased smoking and drinking, nail- and lip-biting, teeth grinding and constant finger- or foot-tapping.
PHYSICAL: high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, diarrhoea and an increased susceptibility to every bug doing the rounds!
If you suffer from any of these it is time to take stock and treat yourself more gently, or your Christmas season will leave you feeling jaded, hung-over and unable to face 2003 with any degree of vitality or enthusiasm.
Regular exercise, relaxation techniques and massage are some of the most effective ways of counteracting the harmful effects of a stress overload. They are especially important in situations where it may be impossible to remove the source of the stress, such as after the death of a loved one or nursing someone with a serious illness like Alzheimer’s disease. Even common situations can be extremely stressful such as exams, looking after young children, unemployment or doing a very demanding or an extremely boring, unfulfilling job.
Stress is a vital aspect of our survival and life experience; it can stimulate creativity and resourceful change. Many people can relate positive periods of personal growth and creativity to some particularly stressful time or event. But if stress is not resolved and does not lead to adaptive behaviour or change it will eventually harm us mentally, behaviourally and physically. Stress stimulates the release of stress hormones which increase heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and perspiration, and stop digestive processes. This prepares us to either fight or flee if danger threatens. This is why it is called the fight or flight response. These changes use up certain key nutrients such as the B and C vitamins. Stress-induced behaviours, including an increased alcohol intake, increased smoking and binge eating (particularly of refined sweet foods) also use up these particular nutrients. However these are the specific nutrients that the body needs to maintain mental health and a good immune response. If the stress continues unabated a chronic deficiency of these nutrients develops which leaves the person mentally and physically depleted and less and less able to cope with any stressful situation at all. Outright disease will then often follow. As the brain requires B vitamins to use glucose for energy (and therefore to function), it is now accepted that psychological symptoms like depression may offer the first warning symptoms that the body is deficient in certain vitamins. Mentally healthy volunteers who went on a vitamin B-1 (thiamine) deficient diet rapidly became depressed and listless. These symptoms were just as quickly cured by the restoration of thiamin to their diets.
One of the best ways to therefore ensure that your body does not suffer the results of a stress overload is to guarantee an adequate supply of these mental and immune-protective nutrients.
De-stress and Revitaliser combines the right combination and dosage of B and C vitamins to cope with the increased stresses of modern living and to make good the deficiencies resulting from modern food processing methods.
De-Stress and Revitaliser, in combination with regular exercise and relaxation, can transmute the pre-Christmas triad of dread, hangover and lethargy to one of anticipation, balance and vitality. True alchemy indeed.