Don’t Let Stress Ruin Your Holiday

Don’t Let Stress Ruin Your Holiday

As Christmas items begin filling my mailbox and the shelves in my favorite stores I find it challenging to focus on anything other than making the holidays meaningful for my family.

Gift lists, special events, extra cooking, shopping, and decorating – I honestly love it all but I can absolutely feel myself beginning to experience the physical signs of stress from the very moment that I spot that first Christmas light. …

We all know that stress isn’t good for us – it doesn’t even feel good – the racing heart, and tensed muscles are pretty obvious and uncomfortable. But I was a little surprised how seriously damaging chronic stress can be to our brains

Chronic stress can increase distraction, forgetfulness, negativity, anxiety, fear, and aggression.  Continuous exposure to stress hormones can decrease brain function and the generation of new neurons ‘critical for learning, memory, emotional regulation and shutting off the stress response after the stressful event is over’ ultimately creating a negative impact on decision making, working memory,  complex cognitive behavior, and moderation of social interaction and impulse control – going so far as to change the physical structure of your brain!

‘The result is a brain that is less capable of learning and memory, and more prone to anxiety and depression’ with ‘significant consequences on the way we interact with others, our ability to learn, remember, make decisions and accomplish long-term goals.’ Making it more ‘difficult to successfully manage stressful situations in the future, leading to a vicious cycle.’

Sounds pretty dreary -lucky for us EXERCISE is a ‘very effective antidote to these negative effects’ which ‘can help build a stress-resistant brain in addition to increasing cognitive function and brain size.’

So, like I mentioned last week, even though you may want to hibernate as the temperature falls, keep moving your body and you might experience the most wonderful time of the year as your best self. And just in case you aren’t doing your Minute Movements – now would be a fabulous time to start!


Further reading:


Do I need Minute Movement if I hit the gym this morning?

Just how bad is a sedentary lifestyle?

According to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, prolonged sitting affected people’s fitness levels regardless of whether they exercised or not. In fact it looks like sitting for just two hours cancels out the cardiorespiratory benefits of 20 minutes of exercise. So, that might be okay if you can spend at least two hours at the gym to counteract all of the sitting that you have to do throughout the day – and you most likely are sitting most of the day (unless you are a teacher or work in construction). But very few of us even manage the daily 30 minutes recommended by the American Heart Association so ‘avoiding sedentary behavior throughout the day may represent an important companion strategy to improve fitness and health, outside of regular exercise activity.’

This may sound a bit hopeless until you discover that there are great ways to counteract this serious problem; “We also found that when sitting for prolonged periods of time, any movement is good movement, and was also associated with better fitness,” Dr. Jacquelyn Kulinski, a recent graduate from the UT Southwestern Cardiology Fellowship Training Program, said in a statement. “So if you are stuck at your desk for a while, shift positions frequently, get up and stretch in the middle of a thought, pace while on a phone call, or even fidget.”

Does that recommendation sound a little vague to you too? Not to worry! Each day you will find awesome exercises on the Minute Movement Members Page –  so instead of risking a dropped call when you pace into the office’s dead zone, you can take proven steps to improve your fitness every day!