Whatever winter holidays you celebrate, they come with traditions you love and, let’s be honest, some that stress you out. The holidays have magic, but it is indisputably a stressful time for most people, according to this study cited by HarvardThe top stressors cited by the survey are the financial demands of the season’s gift-giving and travel, negotiating the complexities of extended family, and maintaining personal health habits like your exercise routine. Now we’re just chiropractors, but we do actually have some useful expertise for each of these.

Here are our tips on how to shift the balance toward the joy and stay sane this holiday season:

Spend in line with your values 

Social media posts and the ease of free shipping will make you think you need heaps of spectacularly-wrapped, branded gifts. But spending out of sync with your priorities is a double ouch. Usually buy used? Keep buying used. Usually shop local? Shop locally this season. Usually spend money on health and not vices? Stick to it! Check out our gift guide in this newsletter for health-supporting recommendations for everyone on your list. We also highly recommend a Gift Card to see us or get orthotics!

Prioritize self-care

It’s important to take care of yourself during the holidays. A happy, balanced you has a longer fuse for your difficult cousin(s). This means getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods (squeeze in those greens!), and exercising regularly. Walking is an easy and great way to do all three. It is good for taming a sweet tooth, boosting immune function (according to Harvard Health Publishing), and can improve overall mood (according to the National Library of Medicine). People used to take smoke breaks to get a little moment to reset. Take yourself on a little walk instead!

Get in to see your Chiropractor!

Did you know that stress can have effects on your GI tract and ligament structures? According to the Journal of Applied Physiology, chronic stress can direct blood flow away from the GI tract and have detrimental effects on digestion, nutrient absorption, and tissue repair processes. Ligaments, for example, require adequate blood flow for proper repair and maintenance. Reducing blood flow to these areas due to stress can increase the susceptibility to injuries and slow down the healing process altogether.

Delegate tasks

Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask your family and friends for help. This will make space for you to keep your promises to yourself and maintain your healthy habits that give you the strength to get through stressful times.

Minimize jet lag

Here is a supplement we take to mitigate the inconvenience and waste of jet lag (as well as other sleep disruptions).

Maintaining your health routines

This can be especially challenging during the holidays. Here are some tips for exercising in hotels and on airplanes. You know you’re going to indulge so tend your wounds. Here are our favorite supplements for holidays and celebrations and for travel.

Dress Safely

You don’t have to wear the high heels. A perk to SF living? Fewer high heels. But they are so pretty. If you sprain your ankle in them, here are some coping tips.

Practice Gratitude

Most importantly, practice gratitude. Seriously: it works. We are so lucky to do work we love, to live in this gorgeous place, to have bodies that do so much so well. Daily listing specific points of gratitude can help you keep perspective and stay positive. And when you find it’s not enough and you’re giving yourself a headache from all the teeth-grinding, here is some advice to help ease the pain!

Remember, the holidays are a time to rejoice and enjoy your loved ones. Don’t let stress take away the joy of the season!