The holidays - they are the most wonderful time of the year, and they're the most stressful time of the year for many individuals. For those who are living with an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or multiple sclerosis, it can also be a time for flares as a result of the stress of the season. While you are busy making every meal and gift perfect, take time to read this blog from Innovations Stem Cell Center. Dr. Bill Johnson offers tips to reduce your stress and minimize flares so you can enjoy your holidays, too!
How Stress Causes Flares
When you are stressed, your body increases production of cortisol, a steroid hormone that serves as your body's alarm system that something is wrong. In turn, cortisol tells your body to kick up inflammation to "kill" whatever is "attacking" the body. When inflammation levels go up, your immune system response goes into overdrive. When this happens, the symptoms of your autoimmune disease flare up, resulting in pain and often life-disrupting symptoms.
Ways to Keep Stress (and Symptoms) in Check
1. Drink Enough Water. When you're busy with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it's easy to forget to drink enough water. Water helps your body's cells and systems handle stress better, so you can also reach for H2O to relax. Limiting your consumption of alcohol and caffeine can help keep your stress levels, and therefore your flares, in check.
2. Limit Sugar. While this may sound like a nearly impossible feat during a season full of sweets and treats, we suggest limiting how much you indulge. This is because consuming too much sugar can cause you to crash, which will make you tired and irritable, and can increase your stress. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, rich in lean meats and vegetables, but it is OK to have a bite or two of something sweet here and there. Just don't overdo it.
3. Exercising. With the busyness of the holidays, it's easy to skip your regular workout, but working out is a great stress reliever and helps to counteract cortisol and other stress hormones, which allows you to relax. Hit the gym or take a walk at least three times a week to keep your stress levels in check.
4. Get Enough Sleep. The holidays mean late nights at get-togethers, last-minute shopping and wrapping gifts, but when you don't get enough sleep, your symptoms can flare up. Also, when you're tired you may be tempted to reach for coffee or other caffeinated beverages late in the day to stay awake, but caffeine can fuel stress and flares. Aim to get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to prevent stress and keep symptoms at bay.
Don't let the stress of the holiday season cause your autoimmune condition to flare up. If you're living with the discomfort of autoimmune disease flares, give yourself a gift this season with fat stem cell therapy from the Innovations Stem Cell Center. Learn how it can help you today by calling 214-256-1462.