It’s been a while since Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé began hibernating again, but if you’re still feeling a little stressed after the holiday season, you’re not alone.
A new report from the American Heart Association revealed that a majority of adults in the U.S. experience negative feelings in the weeks following Christmas and New Year’s Day, potentially contributing to poor health.
According to the survey of 1,000 Americans, 63% said the holiday season is more stressful than filing taxes, while 51% responded that it “takes them weeks to feel less stressed after the holidays.”
“Chronic stress can negatively impact both your long-term mental and physical health in many ways if left unmanaged,” AHA volunteer Glenn N. Levine said. “The holidays are an easy time to justify putting off healthy habits, but it’s important to manage chronic stress and other risk factors to stay healthy during the holiday season and into the New Year.”
That continued stress could manifest in a cyclical eating habit that’s difficult to break, according to Noah Praamsma, Nutrition Education Coordinator for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
“Stress can lead to unhealthful eating patterns, and unhealthful eating can lead to stress. It’s best to avoid this loop entirely if you can,” Praamsma told VegNews.
Luckily, there are practices that can help curtail or prevent dietary habits that spiral out of control.
“A whole food, plant-based diet can give you plenty of energy to deal with stressful traveling or high-pressure holiday situations,” Praamsma said. “ … Vegetables may even help regulate a stress hormone called cortisol.”
Praamsma also noted that making healthier foods readily available in the pantry and refrigerator and moderating the amount of sweets and animal-based products can help curb cravings.
Though eliminating meat from meals is unnecessary, slightly reducing the amount of meat consumed can still pay massive dividends — both for you and the greater good.
The overreliance on animal agriculture has contributed to deforestation, biodiversity loss, and air and water pollution. Researchers recently said that getting the U.K.’s biggest meat eaters to switch to a low-meat diet could result in an environmental impact equivalent to removing 8 million cars from the road.
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