Do you find yourself overstressed during the holidays? If so, you’re not alone. The holidays can add extra cleaning, shopping, cooking, wrapping, and entertaining. This could all be adding on to an already busy schedule. We know that stress is bad for the body. But what exactly is our stressful holiday season doing to us?
Holiday Stress can cause:
High Blood Pressure-
Have you ever noticed the physical response that stress has on your body? If your heart races when you get stressed, this is due to stress hormones. The Mayo Clinic reports,”your body produces a surge of hormones when you’re in a stressful situation. These hormones temporarily increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow.” High blood pressure is not good for the body and can lead to other more serious issues.
Obesity or Weight Gain-
Experts at the Mayo Clinic say “When you’re under stress, you may find it harder to eat healthy. Also, during times of particularly high stress, you may eat in an attempt to fulfill emotional needs — sometimes called stress eating or emotional eating. And you may be especially likely to eat high-calorie foods during times of stress, even when you’re not hungry.” This is especially true during this time of year. So many of our holiday traditions center around bad foods (think Santa cookies, for example). It can be hard to stay away from them. If you’re finding yourself stressed, remember to avoid overeating.
Scientists believe that stress hormones can raise your blood sugars, which in turn can cause diabetes. The American Diabetes Association states that “stress hormones may also alter blood glucose levels directly.” Over time, if stress continues and the sugars in the blood remain high, it can cause diabetes or prediabetes.
Simply put, the effects of stress on your body can cause heart disease. The American Heart Association reports that “stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity and overeating.” Over time, stress can seriously damage the arteries to your heart.
So when you’re starting to stress about the holidays, take a step back and remember that it can cause diabetes, unwanted weight gain, high blood pressure and heart disease. If you’re interested in learning techniques to manage stress, make an appointment with a provider today.