It’s the first day of December! Call me crazy but I like to call this the first day of the Christmas period, writes Reading Chiropractor Beccy Norman. If you are enthusiastic like me, you may already have the tree up and have started buying for your loved ones. For many Christmas is a time of great joy. It can also be, and maybe particularly this year, the most stressful time of year.
You might see a message on the family WhatsApp group about who’s staying in what bubble and feel that instant churn in your stomach. You might be lying in bed worrying if you can afford that ‘must have’ present your son wants; or even have that horrible headache creeps up every time you sit down and start to write your Christmas cards. These are all physical responses to stress. This is why as a person who likes to take care of your spines and health, I think it’s important to try and help you out this Christmas….. and let’s try and avoid that feeling of the most stressful time of year!!
Stress is an emotion that triggers a physiological response, also known as the fight or flight response. Historically this was ready to prep you for the danger you have encountered e.g. a tiger if you’re a cave man! Your sympathetic nervous system kicks in and your heart rate increases, you sweat more, your muscles tense ready for action and your pupils dilate. Meanwhile your parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the ‘rest and digest’ part of your nervous system switches off. Who needs to do things like digest food when you’re running from a tiger! This is just another smart function our body has, but what happens when we run in this state on a daily basis?
It’s not all doom and gloom though, we can tackle these effects head on. I have listed my top favourites but there are lots of other things to do as well. Just chat to your practitioner about it in your next adjustment. Oh and stop reading the news – it doesn’t help!
Most important of all lets all help each other at this time of year, and do not let it become the most stressful time of year. All of us at Team Reflex wish you all the very best in the run up to a very Happy Christmas!
Blumenthal, J.A., Sherwood, A., Babyak, M.A., Watkins, L.L., Waugh, R., Georgiades, A., Bacon, S.L., Hayano, J., Coleman, R.E. and Hinderliter, A., 2005. Effects of exercise and stress management training on markers of cardiovascular risk in patients with ischemic heart disease: a randomized controlled trial. Jama, 293(13), pp.1626-1634.
Chandola, T., Britton, A., Brunner, E., Hemingway, H., Malik, M., Kumari, M., Badrick, E., Kivimaki, M. and Marmot, M., 2008. Work stress and coronary heart disease: what are the mechanisms?. European heart journal, 29(5), pp.640-648.
Curtis, B.M. and O’Keefe Jr, J.H., 2002, January. Autonomic tone as a cardiovascular risk factor: the dangers of chronic fight or flight. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 77, No. 1, pp. 45-54). Elsevier.
Khansari, D.N., Murgo, A.J. and Faith, R.E., 1990. Effects of stress on the immune system. Immunology today, 11, pp.170-175.
Song, Y. and Lindquist, R., 2015. Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on depression, anxiety, stress and mindfulness in Korean nursing students. Nurse education today, 35(1), pp.86-90.
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Reflex Spinal Health are a passionate, dynamic spinal health team. We are committed to help as many in our community of Reading, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire to enjoy the vitality of great health, to reach their health goals and feel truly alive! Our chiropractors and osteopaths offer the highest standards of care in a superb environment.