Don't Let The Holidays Hurt Your Helth: Six Self-Care Tips For Surviving The Festivities With Less Stress, More Joy Photo: Getty Images

According to Mayo Clinic, stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Dr. Bradley Nelson, veteran holistic physician, international lecturer and author of the bestselling book, “The Emotion Code,” shared with Latin Times self-care tips to help people beat stress through the holidays and year-round.

Dr. Nelson notes that unresolved emotions from difficult past experiences are a major cause of stress and anxiety people feel around the holidays. "For many people the holidays are fraught with emotion. Whether it’s trudging through mealtime with a dysfunctional family or the feelings of loss and loneliness experienced when the holidays are spent alone, these can be stressful times that can be disruptive to your body, your emotions and your routines,” he says.

Find below a few of Dr. Nelson's practical and proven tips for people to experience the holidays with less stress, more joy, and improved physical and emotional health:

  1. Choose Healthy Foods to Fight Depression, Anxiety and Weight Gain: "Eat foods that are as close to nature as possible," Dr. Nelson advises. "Fill up first on things that are good for you. Eat vegetables, have a good salad, so by the time the gravy and candied yams are there you can eat smaller amounts."
  2. What Not to Eat: Avoid foods with long lists of ingredients. "This applies in general not just the holidays. Any food that has a label that has to explain to you what is in it is probably not something you want," he explains.
  3. Move to Beat Depression & Stress: Exercise — even if it’s as simple as getting outside and walking — is the natural, drug-free way to combat depression. Moving your body throughout the day burns away stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol that can otherwise linger in your system for up to 24 hours, damaging your immune system and organs. "The secret reason exercise is so good for you is exercise burns those hormones out of the blood and prolongs your existence on the planet,” Dr. Nelson says.
  4. Drink Up! (Water, not Alcohol): Staying hydrated is the key to avoiding excessive eating and helps cleanse impurities from your body for better physical, emotional and mental health.
  5. List Your Blessings: "People suffering from depression tend to be focusing on the negative things in their lives rather than counting their blessings. One of the most important things you can do is to make a list every day of the things in your life that are actually good.”
  6. Find and Release Trapped Emotions: Emotional baggage from past negative and traumatic events can cause us to make wrong assumptions, react emotionally and contributes to anxiety, depression and most forms of illness. Dr. Nelson shares simple methods to release unresolved negative emotions that are a root cause of stress, anxiety and depression from his bestselling book, "The Emotion Code."

Download a free copy of "The Emotion Code" here.

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