5 Tips to Combat Holiday Stress, Aches and Pains

Credit: rachel_titiriga, Flickr Commons

Credit: rachel_titiriga, Flickr Commons

Got back pain? Try eating some eggs.

Stress in the form of stiff necks and backs and weak immune systems doesn’t sound like a fun time. While the holidays mean exciting times with friends and family, the addition of travel, parties, and overall hustle and bustle can take a toll on our bodies. While it is common to blame it on lengthy layovers, cold and flu season, and cramped airplane seats, you may be overlooking what one billion worldwide are deficient in: Vitamin D.

Vitamin D, found in foods like eggs and fish, maintains normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, steering you away from osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer, and several autoimmune diseases. There are two ways to produce (yup! you make it yourself) vitamin D. You can create it through exposing unprotected skin to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays of sunlight, and by eating foods high in vitamin D to absorb them into the intestines. The catch? Most of us can’t rely solely on one or the other and need a combination of both.

During the holidays, we’re prone to decreased vitamin D levels and this has inflammatory effects. The lack of sun exposure because we’re bundled up or doing more indoor activities is one reason. When you add an overload of holiday goodies that accidentally take the place of the nutrient-dense food needed to create vitamin D, it’s a recipe for the fatigue, muscle weakness, and bone and joint pain we experience. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to depression, diabetes, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), even psoriasis and asthma.

How much vitamin D do you need?

You can find out your levels with a test that measures 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (a WellnessFX Baseline package covers this). A level of 20 nanograms/milliliter to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate for healthy people. Below 12 ng/mL indicates vitamin D deficiency. Be aware that there is such a thing as too much vitamin D, and everyone needs a different amount. The recommended daily allowance (age 1- 70) is 600 IU daily.

5 Tips You Can Use to Combat Holiday Stress, Aches & Pains

Arm your body with more vitamin D.

  1. Make it part of the menu

    Stock up on vitamin D-rich foods, such as fatty fish (sockeye salmon, mackerel, sardines), eggs, and grass-fed, fortified dairy (milk and yogurt). Recipe aggregators such as Supercook.com are an easy way to make use of what you already have on-hand.

  2. Eat!

    Even if you over-do it, jump back in the game with a small meal of protein and healthy fat to get back on track, stabilize your blood sugar and immune system. With potlucks and parties on the horizon, check out some healthy swap-outs for those holiday treats.

  3. Power down

    Limit your phone/laptop/TV/social media use before bedtime, to prepare your body for sleep, another immunity builder. Factor sleep into your schedule and don’t be afraid to bow out of activities just a little earlier to get your much-needed shut eye.

  4. Take mini breaks

    At a desk for work? Take a healthy break to walk outdoors. Ten minutes of sunshine is the minimum needed to produce more vitamin D. Not in an area with the sun peeking out? Take the break anyway and walk around inside the building or tackle a couple flights of stairs. The break recharges you mentally and alleviates back and neck pains associated with sitting for long periods of time.

  5. Move more

    Keep or build up your workout schedule. Vigorous exercise boosts vitamin D levels and regular exercise is key to building your immune system. Don’t be afraid to take the stairs up to the friend’s 6th floor apartment or do a set of squats while you brush your teeth. Or you can even do this.

For healthy holiday tips beyond vitamin D, check out “21 Tips to Stay Healthy for the Holidays” or read how other WellnessFX users have improved their vitamin D levels.

Don’t forget that all WellnessFX members have access to the full line of Thorne supplements, so if you’re looking for an easy way to purchase your vitamin D supplement, it’s easy to access from your account online or in the our mobile app. We even use your WellnessFX information to make the account creation process simpler. When you log in to your WellnessFX account, you’ll see an option to Buy Supplements up at the top to get you started.

If you want to discover and track to your own “set point” to improve your biomarkers and achieve your optimal health you can test with WellnessFX – Vitamin D is a notable marker we made available in our flagship Baseline package.

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The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.