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Ahh, the holidays! Depending on your point of view, it’s a time of merriment or headache, joy or heartache, happiness or stress. No matter how you look at the holiday season, we’re all at a greater risk of the four holiday S’s:

  • Stuffed
  • Sugared out
  • Stressed
  • Sick

We tend to treat ourselves during the holidays, indulging in more refined carbs and sugar than usual. We run ourselves ragged rushing from this to that, maybe blowing the gift budget or coming up short on that perfect gift. More sugar and stress makes us vulnerable – there’s a reason it’s the cold and flu season!

Make a change this year with these tips and tricks for surviving the holiday S’s.

Enjoy the three-bite rule. The first bite is to sample flavor and texture, and to decide whether it’s worth going back for more! The second bite is to enjoy, and the third bite is to really savor this holiday treat. Four or more bites, and you risk turning this treat into a regret. So indulge wisely!

You can also try cheating the consequences of holiday goodies by taking enzymes. Signs of unhealthy digestion include inflammation, headaches, bloating, pain, weight gain and belching. It also negatively impacts your immune system, setting you up for illnesses.

Causes of digestion disorder can include:

  • Zinc and Vitamin B deficiencies (sugar and alcohol wipe out their production)
  • Too many refined carbs
  • Infection
  • Stress
  • Thyroid and pituitary dysfunction
  • Antacids (which can also increase your risk of pneumonia!)

Try digestive enzymes with betaine hydrochloride (HCL), which helps balance your pH level so your stomach can properly break down foods.

Take some time to really identify what matters to you during the holidays. Then be proactive about limiting everything else. From decorations to parties, baking to gifting, hold on to what’s important and allow yourself to let go of the rest. Find a charity or a family that needs help. Teach your kids how to help others this season instead of focusing on the “want list.” Find out what matters to your family members during the holidays, instead of tasking yourself with barreling through an endless task list. Remember to breathe and enjoy this season in your life. Take time to move. Exercise is a wonderful outlet for stress, and it will strengthen your immune system and bring you clarity.

Still stressed? Yoga can be wonderfully calming, and extra vitamins can be helpful too. Take whole food B vitamins, vitamins C and trace minerals to help combat the consequences of stress and overindulgence on your body.

If you’re read this far and thinking that you’ve failed at all steps listed above, don’t give up!

  • Make a plan to detox in early January. It’s a brand new year – there’s no better time to make a plan for health.
  • Start taking enzymes to balance stomach pH and improve digestion. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your daily routine as well.
  • Take whole food B vitamin and chromium to help reduce sugar cravings and its consequences.
  • Schedule a chiropractic adjustment to relieve nerve communication to the stomach and increase immune system. A block in the nervous system is like a kinked water hose. Instead of 100% water pressure, you’re dealing with 30 or 40% pressure or that equivalent in communication to your body’s vital organs.
  • Get up and get moving! Start a new fitness routine, find a gym or program that excites and challenge you. I personally love Freestyle Fitness and Evoke Fitness. Freestyle offers a varied schedule of classes seven days a week, plus a 30-day fitness challenge perfect for beginners that begins January 7 and includes unlimited classes and a detailed nutrition plan. Mention Dr. McSweeney for a $25 savings on challenge enrollment. Call Mena at Evoke for a special holiday discount as well.

Knowledge is power, so with a little luck, you can avoid the holiday S’s this year and enjoy a very merry Christmas!