One of the challenges we face in our society is that our holiday season schedules hardly ever mesh with the natural rhythm of the season. Winter should generally be a time for rest and restoration. Temperatures grow cooler and daylight hours lessen, suggesting that we sleep more and conserve energy. Trees lose their leaves and some animals enter hibernation. It is what we call a time of “yin” in Chinese Medicine – a quiet time.

However, for most of us, our winter schedules are not a time of yin. Instead, it is often the busiest season of the year. On top of our regular schedules, many of us have the added pressure of thoughtful (or last minute…) gift shopping, late night holiday parties, travel or families visiting, baking and cooking, and often indulging in sweets in lieu of more nourishing foods.

When you compare our winter agenda to what nature encourages, it’s easy to see how our bodies and spirits can get out of balance, particularly our adrenal glands.

The adrenal glands are two small glands which play an essential role in the amount of energy we can access and utilize. As we push ourselves to get more done during the holidays, we place an increased demand on our adrenal glands and immune system, allowing fatigue, irritation, and depression to take over.

Here are a few simple ways to take care of your adrenal glands and whole being without sacrificing too much of the fun and excitement of the holiday season:

1. Maintain a healthy blood sugar – Try to include some protein and healthy fat with every meal. If you indulge in sugary treats, try to make sure you add some protein before, with, or shortly after your goodie. Blood sugar is important to adrenal health and restoration, as well as helping with mood regulation.

2. Balance a night out with a night in – Enjoy your holiday parties and evenings out on the town, but follow it up with a relaxing night in staying warm. Getting enough rest and sleep will help ensure a strong immune system.

3. Exercise moderately – Even though there are less light hours, try not to sacrifice your exercise routine entirely (some light yoga or an evening walk to admire the Christmas lights count!)

4. Meditate – Honor the time of yin with some self-reflection by working in some meditation and stillness into your life. A few minutes of slow deep breathing or a guided meditation can be very grounding and restorative.

5. Find time for yourself – With the expectations that come with the season, try to find at least a few minutes per day for yourself and indulge in an activity that you enjoy (reading, hiking, a good tv show, playing with your children etc.)

6. Remember the true meaning of this season! – The holidays are a time to enjoy and be with your loved ones. When we look back on our favorite moments, it’s not a “perfect gift” or finding the perfect outfit that we will remember or value most. By staying in the moment and focusing on the blessings instead of the stressors, you will likely create better memories for yourself and everyone!

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or a lack of energy feeling this season, consider coming in for acupuncture or picking up a customized herbal or nutrition protocol. All three can be an effective way to help rebalance and reset the body back to its natural state of health and good cheer.

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– Audrey Guss