'Tis the season to overeat, overspend, over-travel, over-stress, and over-do-it until New Year's Day ... and then people plan their resolutions to get healthier.
Since Thanksgiving, many find themselves throwing caution to the wind and bending their typical health rules in favor of the holiday season. Exercise decreases, sugar consumption increases and people find themselves sleeping less, which all leads to unpleasant symptoms.
No explanation needed here. Thanksgiving was delicious. Sunday dinner divine. Baking desserts required multiple samplings, as did the cookie exchange. The office party was over the top, and everyone has chocolate on their desk.
There are many over-the-counter treatment options. Consider drinking 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or real lemon juice in some warm water before meals to stimulate digestion.
Take digestive enzymes to help break the food down better. For heartburn use 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda in a little water to neutralize the acid.
Did the above foods cause a major backup? Time to get serious about colon motility and get things moving again.
Remember to stay hydrated and drink a lot of water. Increase fiber through vegetables or consider using a fiber supplement to bulk up stools. Induce movement with 200-500 mg of magnesium or 2000-4000 mg of vitamin C taken at night before bed.
Late nights with the family, poor dietary choices during the day, alcohol-infused parties, stressing over holiday financial obligations, and unfamiliar beds while travelling can all lead to insomnia.
Consider 1-3 mg of melatonin before bed, which is known to maintain sleep. Taking 1-3 mg of magnesium used for constipation can also help with sleep. Drinking a calming night time tea with herbs such as valerian, chamomile or lavender may help.
4) Sore muscles
With all this winter weather, many are enjoying winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and snowshoeing, which lead to sore muscles at the end of the day.
Magnesium and calcium can help with muscle relaxation, as can Epsom salt baths. Epsom salt is magnesium-based and can be bought at any pharmacy. Use 1-4 cups in a bath, and soak to heal and soothe those aches and pains.
5) Common cold
Stress, travel, parties, diet, and weather can all influence the immune system, leading to cold-like symptoms. Dealing with sniffy, snotty, sneezy symptoms is no fun any time of year but especially at the holidays.
Remember health-saving tips such as hydration, washing hands, vitamin C (especially if constipated), saline nasal sprays for dry sinuses, good sleep, and immune herbs. These herbs include echinacea (must be taken at first sign of illness, not necessarily for autoimmune), elderberry, olive leaf, ginger and andrographis.
If any symptom becomes too much or does not improve, please talk with your health care provider right away. Also, check with your doctor before trying any new natural therapy. You'll want to make sure there is no conflict with current medications or health problems particularly if you are pregnant, or wish to try these natural solutions on a child. The goal is to have a safe and happy holiday season!
Giles, J., Palat, C., Chien, S., Chang, Z., Kennedy, D. Evaluation of Echinacea for Treatment of the Common Cold. Web. 23 December, 2013. Retrieved from
Kostoglou-Athanassiou, I. Therapeutic Applications of Melatonin. Web. 23 December, 2013. Retrieved from
Lacy, B., Levenick, J., Crowell, M. Chronic Constipation. Web. 23 December, 2013. Retrieved from
Reviewed December 24, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith