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How To Avoid Holiday Autoimmune Flares

It seems that once Halloween hits, the stress and pressure of the holidays falls upon us.  Once the crisp winds of Autumn arrive, I start seeing my schedule book up with holiday parties, gift buying, food preparation and lists of to-dos. As an autoimmune mom myself, I can feel the anxiety try to creep up on my nervous system.

The holidays, albeit lively, festive and fun, can take a toll on our bodies between all the preparation and rushing around.  Over the years, I’ve learned that I have to be even more diligent during the holidays to care for my body and reduce stress.  For this reason, I devised a full-proof plan for keeping flare-ups at bay and my body healthy throughout the season.

Take a step back and breathe

If you are feeling like, come October, you can already see the holidays quickly approaching and ready to take over, don’t let it.  The moment you feel the cortisol rushing through your body, STOP.  Take a step back.  Breathe.  For real – take 10 deep breaths.  You can use this to calm your nervous system down immediately.  Then take out your calendar and create a plan…which brings me to my next step.

Have a plan

This is the most important step to avoiding the food and mood roller coaster of the holidays.  List out the following things:

1. What simple fitness routine you will maintain throughout the holidays and when you will do this every day.  In the immortal words of Yoda, “No!  Try not.  Do or do not.  There is no try.”  For this plan, you will not try to maintain a regular fitness routine, you will do it!  You owe it to yourself and your body to stay healthy this season so make this a priority.  In as little as 8 minutes, you can set yourself up for a fit and stress-reduced day.  Here are some of my favorite quick mind/body workouts:

My favorite fast full-body workout though is yoga. Here’s a 5-minute yoga practice that works out your entire body.  Whenever I’m pressed for time, I’ll do this series for 5 minutes and within days my muscles are toned and more defined…not to mention it clears my mind, gives me time to breathe and helps me start the day refreshed and focused.

Tai Chi – this Tai Chi DVD is great because it’s broken up into short 5-minute Tai Chi or Chi Gong sessions.  Just stopping to do 5 minutes of this can greatly reduce stress and nourish your nervous system.

The 8-min Abs/Arms/Buns/Leg series – this power-packed series is great for building muscle quickly in a gentle way.  The cheesy ‘90s workout gear will keep you laughing as you tone.  There is a more updated version of this series, but it’s not as good.  The older series can be hard to find and expensive, but there are always used DVDs being sold for a reasonable price.  I’d check out buying a gently used version from Amazon or your favorite media seller:

8 Min Buns and Legs
8 Min Abs and Arms
The Combo Pack

2. Now that we know your fitness is taken care of, let’s focus on your belly.  The best way to navigate those holiday food landmines is to come to a party prepared.  As I wrote in one of my other AutoimmuneMom posts, “Paleo, Grain Free, Dairy Free Ideas for Thanksgiving + Tips for Holiday Eating Away From Home” I usually eat a salad and an apple before heading to a holiday shindig and I bring a dish that I know I can enjoy.  I also keep to my regular meal plan on all “non-party” days and decide before showing up some place on what treats will be deeply satisfying without inflaming my system.  I know my limits so instead of piling on sweet treats that challenge my belly, I’ll load up on healthy food before and during the party and choose a treat or two to indulge in…indulging in five treats, now that’s a different story for me.  It never goes well.

Enjoy yourself!

The holidays are meant to be a fun and festive time.  A time to celebrate with family and friends and let our hair loose a bit.  Have fun, laugh a little, smile a lot.  Don’t focus so much on avoiding all the fun party foods or doing everything perfectly that you can’t enjoy the blessing of the season.  With a little forethought and a simple plan, you’ll have a rockin’ good time and still avoid flaring up autoimmune symptoms.

Happy Holidays!


About the Author
Jen is a Holistic Health Expert and Vitality Coach, specializing in thyroid and autoimmune disorders and providing one-of-a-kind, long-lasting health and lifestyle overhauls through her services and websites The Healthy Plate and Thyroid Loving Care. Jen brings extra helpings of joy and humor to the table and has degrees in culinary arts, psychology, transformational coaching, nutrition, and Italian. She spent a year honing her cooking skills in Italy and is passionate about physical rejuvenation, family, laughter and helping people craft the life of their dreams.

This blog post was originally published by, written by Jen, and first published on Dec 19, 2013.

This post contains the opinions of the author. Autoimmune Association is not a medical practice and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is your responsibility to seek diagnosis, treatment, and advice from qualified providers based on your condition and particular circumstances. Autoimmune Association does not endorse nor recommend any products, practices, treatment methods, tests, physicians, service providers, procedures, clinical trials, opinions or information available on this website. Your use of the website is subject to our Privacy Policy.


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