Integrative Nutrition Blog

Insights on Autoimmune Health and Inflammatory Conditions

How to Handle Holiday Flares

Dec 27, 2023 | Inflammation & Autoimmune Disease

Holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family and friends. However, it’s also a super common time to develop an autoimmune flare. They usually come from out of the blue and completely wreck your holiday plans. If that happens to you this year, I’ve got a few tips to help you calm these flares down so you can still enjoy your holiday.

Why do Flares Happen Over the Holidays?

Flares are incredibly common and inconvenient during the holiday season. But why do they usually happen this time of year? It could be a number of reasons, including:
  • Stress
  • Eating too much of your trigger food
  • Consuming more alcohol than normal
  • Weather changes, especially if you are traveling
  • Did I mention stress?

You can do everything in your power to prevent flares from happening, but sometimes they still just happen. So if you are feeling a flare coming on during this holiday season, here are a few things you can do.

Tip 1: Find some quiet time for yourself
Holidays mean lots of people – family, friends, neighbors, other travelers, etc. Even if you are a total extrovert, being around that many people can sometimes be stressful and overwhelming. When stress starts taking over in your body, it’s very hard to avoid a flare. The key thing to do is to carve out some quiet time for yourself. Even if you have a packed schedule, make sure you fit in your “you” time. I personally use my mornings as my sacred me time. I meditate, exercise, and get mentally prepared for whatever lies ahead of me that day. If you are not a morning person, maybe try to include some time at night to unwind, reflect, and process everything that happened that day.
Tip #2: Fill your body with nourishing foods
Yes, the holidays are a time to splurge on your favorite holiday foods. But I’m guessing that not every meal is a special, indulgent holiday meal. For those meals that are not, make it a priority to include high-quality, anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish, bone broth, and fermented foods. colorful vegetables and organ meats. You may also want to start reducing those trigger foods you indulged in earlier in the week.

Tip #3: Sleep
I’m a serious believer that sleep cures all. Sleep can also get very disrupted when you are traveling or eating later than usual, which often happens during this time of the year. When you start feeling a flare, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to sleep more. If you are on vacation, use this time away from work to get extra sleep. If you have kids, ask a family member or your partner to take over in the morning so you can get a few extra hours of sleep. The more rest and sleep you can get, the better you will feel.
Tip #4: Ramp up those anti-inflammatory supplements
If you already take supplements, great. Please continue to use them. I have specific supplements that I use for flares that have powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. My two favorites are specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) and Boswellia. Ask your health care professional for advice or reach out to me if you have questions about supplements.
Tip #5: Breathe
The bottom line, the holidays are super stressful and anxiety-inducing. It is essential for you to take moments throughout the day to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system. Doing breathwork is a really easy thing to do on the go that doesn’t require much effort or special tools. Breathwork can really help to lower stress and pain levels.
These tips will help you overcome any holiday flare-ups. As always, if you feel like you need more support in any of these areas, please contact me to schedule a free discovery call. You can also get more tips and tricks by following me on InstagramFacebook and YouTube.

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