How to Minimize Stress and Overeating During the Holiday Season


The holiday period is about social gatherings, cultural traditions, and establishing deep-rooted memories. But what can help you when stressful situations get in the way? From organizing your family’s schedules to creating the menu, this joyous time can be a lot to handle.

If you are experiencing extra stress this time of year, you are not alone in your feelings. A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association revealed that 38% of men and women have increased stress levels as they celebrate the holidays. Here are tips from our experienced gastrointestinal (GI) specialists at Arizona Digestive Health on how you can ward off holiday stress and the overindulgence that often comes along with it. Please reach out to our GI team in Phoenix, AZ for further information.

Tip 1: Limit processed food to aid in digestive health

That rumbling in your stomach might not be due to the fact that you went back for seconds. The bacteria in your stomach may change after you eat processed foods. The addition of processed foods allows molecules to get through your gut and into your immune-processing pathway. This increases irritation in the stomach.

Limit processed options and instead opt for preparing your meals with fresh foods. Prepare your green bean casserole with fresh green beans. Make a dessert with fresh berries. Swapping out canned and processed foods for freshness makes quite a difference.

Should your digestive health concerns require further assistance, our experienced gastroenterologists at Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, AZ can offer solutions to help you get back to feeling normal.

Tip 2: Have a bite of food prior to leaving home

Overindulging is extremely common during holidays but can lead to gut problems. Between warm pie, seasonal casseroles, and homemade cookies, avoiding gaining weight during the holidays is challenging.

Have a carbohydrate with a protein to keep you full until dinner. This can be as simple as wheat toast with a nut butter. Other protein and carb snacks ideas include:

  • Hummus and peppers

  • A healthy granola bar option

  • Grapes and cheese

  • Hard-boiled eggs and fruit of your choice

Tip 3: Choose smaller amounts to keep from overeating

With the variety of delightful food available, you will likely want to snatch it right up and go. Be sure to pace your food consumption and place less food on your plate. Eating smaller amounts of food can help your GI tract more readily digest the foods you eat. You should not feel as bloated and uncomfortable when you follow portion control.

Listening to your gut is a good idea when trying to prevent overeating. If you become satiated before eating everything on your plate, simply stop eating. Your stomach is signaling that it has had enough for now.

Tip 4: Make a list to combat stress

Making lists can help you remain on track and organized. Making a list helps to ensure trips to the store stay on task. Additionally, list-making assists in organizing your family's busy schedules and provides a feeling of gratification.

Composing a list provides structure to disorder. It helps reduce worry and vanquish the holiday tension you have been experiencing.

Tip 5: Respond to holiday tension with goodwill

The saying “Treat everyone how you wish to be treated” holds true all throughout the year. But this maxim is especially true during the holidays when tensions are higher than normal.

When seeking out methods to minimize stress, answer to each obstacle with a kind approach. Diffusing your sense of frustration and, instead, offering kindness soothes worries. Doing so also makes everybody feel wanted and assured.

Take on the holidays without all the stress

Whatever your holiday schedule might be, our Phoenix, AZ staff is proud to provide solutions to help you enjoy this time of year with your family and friends. Realizing you have these tips at hand to help you manage stress and anxiety can make the season easier. In the event you experience GI health issues or need further ideas, please get in touch with our experienced GI physicians at Arizona Digestive Health.