Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas and Our Health

Although we all know Christmas can be a stressful time of the year, we think in terms of the time crunch or money issues and seldom consider the toll it can take on our health.  However, there can be very serious and long term consequences of how we approach the season.  

In an article in the GuardianDr Orla Dunn, a lecturer in health psychology said, "In terms of the health effects of stress, people who spend weeks worrying about Christmas can suffer a breakdown in their immune system, leaving them susceptible to colds. Coming into contact with more people at Christmas exposes people to more infections. Eating fattening foods, taking less exercise and stressful situations between family members can really take its toll on your health."

In another Guardian article, one writer points out, "Our wallets will not be the only thing suffering as we buy presents this Christmas.  The mind and body will also be put under dangerous levels of stress, a study has found.  Christmas shopping increased blood pressure to dangerous levels in 50 per cent of shoppers.  This can lead to hypertension, which can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney problems.  Even low levels of hypertension are linked with migraines, panic attacks and osteoporosis.Heart rates increased by an average of 10 per cent during Christmas shopping,  University of East London in partnership with Moneysupermarket Shopping found.  Their researchers asked 15 men and 15 women to purchase a variety of gifts within 75 minutes.  Men felt twice as stressed post shopping, while women were almost three times as stressed."

As we go about checking items off our shopping lists this holiday season, we need to keep in mind the toll taken on our bodies.  Review your lists and rethink their value, both to you and to those you love.  Identify that which is essential and let go of the unnecessary.  Your body will thank you.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

Good reminder. We've simplified our gift-giving a lot in recent years and I do most of it online. Frantic shopping in a crowded mall is something I avoid at all costs.