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4 Ways to Manage Your Holiday Stress

More than any other time of the year, the holidays are a crucial time for testing your stress limits. Whether you’re bracing for holiday-table debate sessions or just facing a to-do list that seems to lengthen by the minute, a bit of stress relief (maybe a lot of it) could make your season merry and bright after all.

Stress management isn’t only good for your schedule — it provides plenty of physical, emotional and mental benefits, too. When you’re feeling the agitation or frustration of stress, your cortisol levels increase, according to Sara Gottfried, MD, author of “The Hormone Cure.” Those spikes can wreak havoc, she says, especially the longer you stay stressed.

“You deplete brain chemicals like serotonin that keep you feeling happy, and high cortisol also negatively affects your sleep,” she says, adding that stress can increase your risk of belly fat, fatigue and sugar cravings. That’s not exactly an ideal way to start the new year.

Fortunately, these four actions can carry you through the holiday season — and any time of year. Set these healthy habits now, and reap the benefits forever.

1. DON’T SKIMP ON SLEEP

Although it may be tempting to get less shut-eye so that you can get more done, that’s a dangerous approach, says Filomena Trindade, MD, of the Institute for Functional Medicine.

She notes that research indicates going from eight hours to six hours will cause higher stress levels within only a few weeks. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, inadequate sleep can even put you at risk for chronic disease like hypertension and diabetes.

“If you have holiday parties to attend and tasks to accomplish, it can be hard to stay on track with your sleep schedule,” says Trindade. “But the more you can make an effort to get 7–8 hours a night, the less stressed you’ll be.”

2. SNEAK IN A WORKOUT

When holiday schedules get packed, fitness may be one of the first activities to get cut. But it’s much better to see exercise as a must-have when it comes to stress reduction.

According to a survey done by the American Psychological Association, 53% of respondents said they felt good about themselves after exercising, and 30% said they felt less stressed.

Walking seemed to be the most effective activity for lowering stress, but other research has noted that any exercise — including yoga, strength training, group fitness classes and swimming — can be equally significant. That’s because exercise has been shown to reduce fatigue, sharpen concentration, improve sleep and decrease overall levels of tension.

3. EAT HEALTHY FATS

With office holiday parties, cookie swaps, cocktail parties and all the other food-based events that crop up during the season, you may think you’re off the hook for making your own meals. But that might increase your stress levels, says Brianna Elliott, RD.

“Fueling your body with healthy foods can actually help you deal with stress more effectively, because they’re energizing and keep hormones and blood sugar levels stable in the body,” she says.

For an especially quick hit of stress relief, she recommends omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in fatty fish like salmon, as well as walnuts and flaxseed. These healthy fats help keep you full for longer, and they also combat inflammation — which can be an issue when you’re under chronic stress.

4. TAKE SOME MINDFULNESS MINIBREAKS

Setting aside an hour for meditation might seem as likely as Santa stopping by for dinner. Fortunately, you don’t need much time to tap into the benefits of mindfulness, a technique that requires only becoming fully aware of what’s around you.

That might involve simple tricks like taking a few moments to look closely at familiar objects, or pay attention to the way your breath moves in your body, suggests Mayo Clinic researchers.

No matter what tactics you try, the emphasis should be on taking care of yourself, especially as the holidays get busier. Put stress reduction at the top of your holiday to-do list, and you’ll likely have a much more joyous season ahead.

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12 Cool Relaxation Techniques For This Holiday Season!

Relaxation Techniques For This Holiday Season!

Hello All!!!

With holiday season here, how many of you are playing host and how many of you are flying to another place for a family reunion? Things can get stressful with lots of relatives around! I hope you understand what I mean! You need your ‘me time’ to relax in such a scenario. Here are some cool relaxation techniques for this holiday season!

december-birth month and health

1) Drink green tea

Yes, green tea is bitter but it has a lot of stress relieving compounds in it. It will help you relax and live better. Green tea also has several health benefits to offer along with helping in weight loss! Read more about green tea here!

2) Try some dark chocolate

Chocolate in the right doses is good for you say studies. If you feel that you are stressed out, you should go in for a square of dark chocolate. Including dark chocolate in your daily diet will help lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. What a delicious way to stay healthy and ward off stress!

3) Take time out to meditate

When your close friend or relative gets on your nerves and you can’t do anything about it, just meditate. Do it as an early morning ritual for 5 mins. It will really calm your mind down. It works great on the days you go to work too. Meditation is also known to reduce the risk of depression.

meditation-for fitness

4) Take a power nap

For quick relaxation there is nothing in this world better than a simple and quick power nap. According to scientists, it can make you feel refreshed.

5) Do Yoga

Yoga is said to tone your body as well as reduce stress. You can do some poses when you feel stressed. You need not be an expert at it, just learn the poses that will help you out.

6) Dance your stress away

You can simply play your favourite number and start dancing to it. It will help improve your mood and you will feel a lot better. You should try it the next time you feel stressed out.

7) Quick massage

Cannot do yoga or dance? Just take your left hand and massage your right hand slowly with your eyes closed. Massage between each finger, rub your thumb and breathe deeply.

8) Go for a quick walk

Exercising is very important for your health and to get rid of stress. Scientists have found that a quick walk several times a day can help reduce your stress. Be it office stress or the stress of a personal kind (reunions I tell you!), walking can make you feel relaxed.

9) Sing your heart out

Bathroom Singer benefits of singing

When you feel stressed out, it would be great if you can sing your favourite song. Crooning is said to help you relax no matter how bad it is (Just make sure you do it alone if you are a bad singer!)

10) Smell flowers

Smelling flowers can help you relax. Got a vase full of flowers? Just let the scent enter your mind! You will feel refocused and satisfied.

11) Cuddle your pet

Cuddling your pet is said to be a time-tested way of relaxing. Just a five minute cuddle will send signals to the brain and you will get de-stressed.

12) Laugh

Get along with your family and friends and laugh it out! There is no better therapy than laughter!

I want you to enjoy this holiday season so remember the above relaxation techniques that hold good for other days too!

Merry Christmas!

Hope you liked this post on simple and easy relaxation techniques!

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The post 12 Cool Relaxation Techniques For This Holiday Season! appeared first on Indian Weight Loss Blog.

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Stress-Free Christmas Morning Casserole

Christmas Morning Casserole

Start off your holiday morning with Food Fanatic’s bacon, egg and cheese breakfast casserole. Ready in three easy steps, with help from refrigerated biscuit dough, this no-stress morning casserole is perfect for Christmas or any special occasion.

Stress-Free Christmas Morning Casserole

Ingredients

  • 7 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 (16-ounce) package refrigerated flaky biscuit dough, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 medium green onions, chopped
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked, drained on paper towels and cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F, and lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and milk. Add the biscuit pieces, cheese, onions and bacon and gently turn to evenly coat in the egg mixture.

Pour into the prepared baking dish, and bake for 25–30 minutes. (Eggs should be firmly set and the biscuits puffy and golden.)

Nutrition Information

Serves: 12 |  Serving Size: 2-inch slice

Per serving: Calories: 220; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 124mg; Sodium: 559mg; Carbohydrate: 18g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 10g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 82mg; Iron: 8%; Vitamin A: 7%; Vitamin C: 2%; Calcium: 10%

Recipe and photo created by Heather of Sugar Dish Me.

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The 10 Most Popular Stories on MyFitnessPal in 2016

It’s been quite a year, MyFitnessPal users. We’ve collectively lost millions of pounds, logged thousands of different kinds of foods and done hours upon hours of workouts.

We’d like to think we helped you along your way this year. Below, we’ve pulled together the 10 most-read blog posts on MyFitnessPal in 2016.

Did you read them all? Employ any of the strategies we gave you? Prepare any of the recipes? Try out any of the workout routines? Let us know in the comments below! And if you missed any of the Top 10, now’s your chance to study up before the year is out…

10. The Workout You Need to Do If You’re Trying to Lose Weight
Weight-loss math is simple: You need to burn more calories than you take in. But it’s not necessarily about sweat sessions at the gym. Here’s one simple workout plan brought to you by SELF Magazine that’s optimized to help you shed pounds.

9. 5 Unusual Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight
So about that simple math… maybe it’s not so simple. Your body may be a machine, but everyone’s is different. Here are some of things you might be doing that are affecting your ability to slim down.

8. Ask the Dietitian: What’s the Best Carb, Protein and Fat Breakdown for Weight Loss?
Let’s be honest, macronutrients are complicated. For every new diet fad you read about, there’s some new strategy as to how to approach three of the most important macros. Our dietitian broke through the fray to lay it out simply.

7. 15 of MyFitnessPal’s Most-Pinned Recipes
Want a quick gauge of what our most popular recipes are? The near 165,000 who follow MyFitnessPal on Pinterest already have their favorites, from apple pie muffins to jalapeño cheddar puffs and much more. Here’s some quick inspiration for your kitchen, vetted by the community!

6. A Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning
Meal planning is a secret weapon — not just for weight loss and healthy eating but for simplifying your family routine and doing it all on a budget. Here’s our step-by-step guide for it all, from making a shopping list to the recipes you need to be successful.

5. The Most Common Weight-Loss Blunders Dietitians See
The pros have seen it all. And they know exactly what pitfalls pop up as obstacles on our weight-loss journeys. Here are 11 of those mistakes, as told by registered dietitians to SELF Magazine.

4. The 28-Day Squat Challenge You’ll Want to Start Now!
All hail squats? They’re easy, and they work out multiple muscle groups, including the butt, thighs and core. Give this challenge a try, and you’ll find you’re getting results — and having fun — with different variations on the humble squat.

3. How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?
Good news: You can definitely weigh yourself too often. And although you think you’re doing the right thing, you’re actually working against yourself. Here’s why small changes in your body affect your weight — and how to keep your eyes on the prize.

2. 10 Make-Ahead Breakfasts Under 300 Calories
Wouldn’t your mornings be easier if you had a hearty, healthy breakfast ready to go? Here were our picks for the 10 best recipes you can prep ahead of time, including hearty oatmeal cups, simple egg dishes, grab-and-go bars and — celebrate! — breakfast burritos!

1. 8 Signs You’re Eating Too Much Sugar
That modest little doughnut hole isn’t going to hurt you, right? Maybe not. We’re all guilty of snacking on too much sugar — here are some of the telltale signs that you might not even realize you’re ignoring.

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