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The holidays can be a blast. But the onslaught of partying, shopping, and forced get-togethers with extended family can certainly take its toll. If this stress goes unmanaged it can lead to a rather unhealthy couple of weeks.
The low-grade, chronic stress that people experience around the holidays can lead to behavioral and biochemical changes that can affect the body, according to Shawn M. Talbott, a nutritional biochemist.
Behavioral changes include exercising less, eating more “comfort foods,” and drinking or smoking more regularly. Biochemical changes increase stress hormones, suppressing the immune system, increasing blood pressure and cholesterol, and boosting appetite. Stress hormones can also reduce sex drive and cause depression, fatigue, and mental confusion.
It sounds overwhelming, but don’t let stress get the best of you. Here are seven pieces of advice from our experts when it comes to staying sane during the holidays.
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