Our digestion can suffer during the holidays. Along with the end of the Gregorian calendar year, holidays can induce stress and excitement levels to ramp up. We have more food and more info to process, especially if you are trying to figure out the best Black Friday/Cyber Monday (week) deals. Just as we need to break down the food we consume to absorb its nutrients, we have to do the same with information for it to be useful. This is why robust digestion is important.
Research shows that faced with multiple choices, a common reaction is overwhelm, freeze, and non-action. When we fail to make decisions to meet our needs and satisfy our desires, we can feel disappointed, angry, or insecure, for example. These feelings are most often projected outwards, onto other people, especially when we are unaware. In this way, our feelings are reflected as theirs. This can lead to communication and relationship breakdown, further adding distress.
We don’t often tie this to our ability to digest, especially during the holidays. Usually it’s bloating, heartburn, or constipation that gets our attention. With the holidays, we may think it’s just eating more that’s getting us feeling not so great.
How well we digest is underrated and overlooked. So here are some tips for better digestion, for those family and holiday get-togethers and all the thoughts that arise when we are at the end/beginning of the year.
Tips for Better Digestion in the Holidays
Eat Well Before Bedtime
We’ve all heard eating late at night gives us nightmares. Eating a high-carb meal close to bedtime can induce night sweats, according to this Harvard article. We all of course respond differently. Some get heartburn, some get bad dreams, some stay hungry. When the holidays roll around, we often find ourselves eating bigger meals and having a few more tipples at later dinners or gatherings that end later. Or we are trying new foods – foods we may not be accustomed to digesting. If this is the case, aim for a lighter fare, rather than meats, fried foods, and heavy sauces. Or have an earlier meal before the get-together and go for the socialization and instead have a small bite.
In his article, 6 Unknown Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment, Dr Peter Hinz shares one such benefit is for better digestion.
There are nerves that run throughout your spine that control the stomach and digestive systems. If your spine is all out of whack, then these nerves tell the body that you need more acid, which results in a lot of discomfort. Not being able to properly digest food can also result in bowel issues and could even cause you to gain weight or deal with regular pain.Dr Hinz
Take Care of Your Emotions
Our emotions and our organs affect each other. This means compromised organs can affect how we feel. Unbalanced emotions can also disrupt the energy and functions of organs.
In Jin Shin Jyutsu, the stomach and spleen correspond with the earth element and worry, the large intestine with air element and grief, and the small intestine with the fire element and pretending. The liver and gallbladder also play a role. These two organ energy systems relate to the wood element and anger.
Learn to observe how you feel. Is there an automatic emotional pattern at play when you feel vulnerable, threatened, emboldened?
Harmonize Energetic Pathways for Better Digestion
Whether you are enjoying more parties or taking in more stimulus / environmental information, dissolving energetic blockages and harmonizing your energy can help you function more optimally. Here are some Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-Help to try:
- Cross your arms and place your fingers on the crease of the opposite elbow. Be sure to relax and breathe with awareness. This helps digestion.
- Hold your thumb to support the stomach organ function energy and to balance the earth element. The Earth element, when imbalanced, can show up as us needing more security or feeling more lethargic or resistant to change.
- You can also hold all your fingers. Perhaps three breaths each. Perhaps focusing on the finger calling for your attention.
- Place your right fingertips on your left cheekbone and your left fingertips on your left collarbone to support the stomach organ function. Then switch sides.
Observe how you feel. For myself, I experience a profound release through a deep exhale. Some people feel energetic movements. You can also do the Self-Help until you feel relief. See which Self-Help you resonate with and how you feel each time you gift yourself Self Help. And always remember to return to the breath.
While the holidays can exacerbate digestion, there may be underlying causes.
Stress is commonly at work. Do you know how to deal with your stress in a healthy way? Because the stomach energy is connected with worry, it’s also important to look into what you are really worried about and what you can do about it. How do you find inner peace?
Perhaps we can start by spending more quality time with people important to us and slowing down our pace. Be discerning about who and what comes into our field. Do you have more negative or positive people in your life? How do we learn to welcome diversity into our life to enrich it? How robust is your support network?
People who can help include life and spiritual coaches, counsellors, homeopaths, nutritionists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, Jin Shin Jyutsu and other energy work practitioners, and massage therapists. If you have chronic or serious digestive concerns, be sure to see a healthcare practitioner to explore further. Maybe you have a food allergy or a methylation challenge. So while digestion during the holidays may take a hit, it may require focused attention.