PCOS Holiday Survival Guide

We all know it’s coming; it’s holiday time once again! For many this time of year is filled with celebration, but for those of us who suffer from PCOS it can prove to be tough. It’s only normal to feel more stressed at this time of year, as we try to accomplish everything on our “to do” list. Unfortunately added stress is never good for us with PCOS.
Not only that but all the holiday parties that are filled with rich foods, can really do a number on the delicate balance in our body. It can be hard to stick to our PCOS-friendly food items during these times.

The list of factors that can worsen the symptoms of PCOS seems to go on and on during the holidays. But instead of feeling blue, and getting trapped in a cycle, we’ve put together a handy “PCOS Holiday Survival Guide”. The idea is that we can refer to the guide throughout the season. So let’s get started shall we?


How the Holidays Affect UsHoliday Stress

First of all it’s important to realize you aren’t alone. Those of us with PCOS are in this all together at this time of year. Each and every sufferer can relate to the pain others are going through. Some of the factors that may be impacting us are:

  • Money stress due to gift buying, hosting obligations, and more.
  • Lack of good quality sleep either because we are too busy, or we’re feeling stressed making it hard to sleep.
  • The list of errands and things we need to get done seems to grow by the minute, causing stress and anxiety and a feeling of not being able to get it all done.
  • The shorter days/less sunshine can result in a lower mood.
  • We don’t have time to look after ourselves properly (exercise, yoga, meditation, etc.).
  • We are faced with all kinds of party foods that don’t match our PCOS diet regime.

Basically, all of this adds up to stress that is outside our normal level.


How to Juggle It All?

The golden question is how does one juggle it all and still keep their sanity and health? Well the easy answer is that we don’t! No one person can handle everything, never mind if when you’re someone like us who suffers from PCOS. We need to be aware of our own personal health at all times. There is no way to juggle everything; instead, it comes down to prioritizing. What is the worst that will happen if we can’t attend every event, host multiple events, and not be able to afford to buy for each and every person? The holidays will still go on, and they will include less stress on us!

One of the most important things to learn when entering into the holidays is that “no” is in fact a complete sentence. When we say no to something, then that’s it and that’s all that needs to be said. We shouldn’t feel the need to give explanations. If there is something we don’t feel up to doing, or we know it will leave us feeling stressed or unwell, then we shouldn’t feel pressured into saying yes. The word “no” can be quite liberating, especially when it means we are putting ourselves and our health first. If we don’t do it, who will?

Put Ourselves First

Putting ourselves first can often be frowned upon and looked at as “selfish”. It’s time to wipe all of those thoughts out of our head because it couldn’t be further from the truth. Each of us matter and so does our health, so we need to be our own advocate.

Putting ourselves first by taking time to indulge in a hot bath filled with Epsom salts, take time out and pamper ourselves with a spa day, schedule a relaxing dinner with our girlfriends, enjoy a night at home on the couch watching our favorite movie and cuddle with a warm cozy blanket, and get extra sleep whenever possible.

We’ve even come across a yummy dish that is perfect to take to holiday parties. The host will appreciate the gesture, and the other guests will love the taste of it. This is of course a PCOS-friendly recipe.

Cashew Mix

(modified from a recipe by The Barefoot Contessa)

toasted-cashews

Ingredients:

1 pound roasted unsalted cashews 

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary 

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper 

2 teaspoons sea salt 

1 tablespoon butter, melted 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cashews out on a sheet pan.

Toast in the oven until warm, about 5 minutes. 

In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, salt and butter.

Thoroughly toss the warm cashews with the spiced butter and serve warm.

Here’s another recipe to check out, this one is perfect for those cold evenings cuddled up at home.

Holiday Chai Tea Latte (it’s decaf!)

(modified from a recipe from the blog http://borninthewrongcentury.com)

Chai Tea

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp cayenne powder

20 cardamom pods, smashed open

4 thin slices ginger root

1 cinnamon stick

10 whole cloves

2 whole star anise

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

20 whole peppercorns

4 cups + 1/2 cup filtered water

4 tsp loose leaf rooibos tea or 4 rooibos tea bags

To serve: Place all of the spices in cheese cloth and tie with twine (I use my nut milk bag).  Put the 4 cups of water in a sauce pan and the 1/2 cup water in a small sauce pan, bring both to a boil.  Turn off the heat and add the spice bag to the large pan and the loose tea to the small pan.  Let the tea steep for 5 minutes and then strain into the larger pan.  Let cool, cover and then leave to steep for 24 hours at room temperature.  Remove the spice bag and pour the tea concentrate into a bottle.  Store in the fridge for up to a week.  To serve heat up the concentrate and add heated or steamed almond or coconut milk and stevia to taste.?

Make the Best of the Holidays

Above all we need to try to make the best of the holidays. This means going in with realistic expectations, and remembering it’s all about sharing time with our loved ones.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-age-anxiety/201111/10-common-holiday-stresses-and-how-cope-them-0

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544  

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