I love the holidays, but I do get anxious as I think about how quickly they’re approaching. While it might be “normal” to feel stressed from November until New Year’s, it can also be shockingly bad for you. Here’s why:
- Central Nervous System – When our central nervous system fails to go back to normal after a stressor occurs, this can cause headaches and insomnia.
- Respiratory and Cardiovascular Systems – Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and raise your blood pressure, allowing less oxygen to get to your brain. Frequent stress can slow your brain action and put you at higher risk for a stroke or heart attack.
- Digestive System – Stress causes your liver to make more blood sugar, which is reabsorbed by your body. It can also cause heartburn, acid reflux, and encourage existing ulcers to act up. Stress can also lead to diarrhea or constipation.
- Muscular System – Stress causes our muscles to tense, which causes body aches and pain. This may lead to taking medication versus exercising or a decrease in exercise performance.
- Sexuality – Stress can lead to a lack of desire for sex and may also interfere with sperm production.
- Immune System – Cortisol, which is produced when stressed, can comprise your immune system, leading to viral illnesses like the flu or colds. Stress may also increase our recovery time from illness or injury.
This wonderful season should be full of giving, laughter, and memories—old and new. The Stress Less Holiday Challenge was created to support UW faculty and staff during this busy time of year.
Whether you stress chronically or just during the holidays, register for the Stress Less Holiday Challenge. The Whole U will provide you with tips to plan ahead, free meditation and yoga opportunities, and weekly articles that will help you avoid or manage the extra holiday stressors. Last year over 700 UW faculty and staff took the challenge. This year we would like to see more than 1,000 commit to stressing less.
Sign up now to receive eight weeks of tips on creating new traditions, homemade and inexpensive gifts and décor, healthy yet delicious meals to try, coping without (or with) your family, learning the positive effects of giving, ideas for department gatherings and parties, realistic exercise routines to try, and how to set new goals for 2016.
Let’s welcome this season in a positive way! Register now.