Holiday Stress Relievers

Tis’ the season to be … merry and jolly?  No pressure there! The holidays are in full swing and many people around this special time of year start to experience stress.  Whether you’ve overcommitted to holiday parties, financial strain to buy obligatory gifts, social anxiety, shopping baking, relationship strains (like your mother-in-law who is hard to soothe), all of this can make you feel sad, overwhelmed, anxious or disappointed in yourself.

I don’t have one magic pill but I have some good ideas that might help you. First of all, I want you to stop feeling isolated an alone. Most people experience some degree of stress during the holidays.  It’s normal unless you opt out of participating, and then you have a different set of stressors. Whatever your situation is, I’ve got some natural options to help you enjoy the holiday season.  Soon I’m going to give you information on magnesium, theanine, B complex, passionflower and others.
The natural remedies below are all available over-the-counter, and they have some clinical trials showing they are effective. That said, I don’t know if they are right for you, so ask your doctor if you can take any or all of these with your medical history, and list of medications.

Magnesium is a natural chill pill and it’s needed to drive hundreds of biochemical reactions in the brain, bones and muscles.  Many of you are chronically deficient in magnesium and as far as I’m concerned, this is the most common ‘mugged’ mineral in your body.  The mugging happens from medication you take which cause a nutrient depletion. See Drug Muggers for a complete list and for our purposes right here, I’ll tell you that acid blockers, laxatives, diuretics and blood pressure pills top the list for stealing magnesium from the body. Low magnesium and you’re easily stressed.  Magnesium supplementation has been shown to support a healthy mood and relaxation.  There are many forms of magnesium, most of which cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea. I prefer the magnesium “glycinate” or “malate” form myself, which doesn’t seem to cause quite as many intestinal upset.  Dosages vary, but typically a dose around 125mg taken twice daily could help.  Some of you could tolerate more, like up to 600 mg, especially if you have migraines, but just make sure your doctor doesn’t mind that kind of dosage.  Magnesium can reduce blood pressure so be careful.  Take it with food, and if you want better sleep you can stack the dose at night. For example, 125mg in the morning, and 250 at bedtime.

Here’s another idea with magnesium. Get naked with it! If you can ‘get away’ from your holiday shenanigans for 15 to 30 minutes, slip into a nice, hot bath with Epsom salts. Epsom is a form of magnesium (magnesium sulfate) and the magnesium goes right through your skin and into your blood stream. I dump about 3 pounds in my big bathtub because one cup simply doesn’t do it. Lock the door, turn on “Silent Night” and let your troubles float away! In addition to magnesium, theanine could help too.

I have created my own magnesium formula. Click here  if you would like to learn more.


This a  natural amino acid and is found in many foods you already eat or drink.  We usually drop the “L” and just call it “theanine.” You probably know this but theanine is what gives green tea its characteristic slightly bitter taste. Study after study has documented the relaxation support theanine offers.  It supports nerve health and brain function. Basically, it makes you think with a little more clarity without jolting you the way coffee might.

Theanine can relax you without causing drowsiness.  Look for supplements that contain 100-200mg of theanine per capsule.  Ask your practitioner if taking one or two capsules of theanine is okay for you. Keep in mind you can drink it in the form of green tea.  On average, 3 to 4 cups of green tea contains 60 to 160 milligrams of theanine.  My only concern with drinking a ton of green tea is the caffeine you will get. Green tea has a little caffeine and if you’re sensitive, it might cause restlessness and irritability.  I don’t normally recommend green tea in the evening because it could cause insomnia because the caffeine effect will override theanine’s relaxing effect. Try it and see how you respond.


This one sounds like it could help perk things up in the bedroom, but you’d be wrong. It’s actually a very calming herb and can put you to sleep. Studies show it supports anxiety and insomnia. According to researchers, passionflower increases levels of a chemical found in the brain called, GABA (gamma amino butyric acid). This neurotransmitter is what goes up while you sleep. It’s the same chemical that benzodiazepine drugs like Valium and Xanax seek to raise in a much stronger way than passionflower. GABA is inhibitory, meaning it slows things down and inhibits processes in your body that would otherwise keep you awake and excited.

GABA, when naturally produced, makes a person feel calmer and more relaxed. Passionflower helps you produce more GABA naturally, and safely, with absolutely no risk of addiction. One study discovered people with anxiety symptoms who took passionflower significantly reduced their anxiety symptoms compared to the placebo group.  You can find Passionflower supplements, or a gentle tea everywhere and it is naturally caffeine free! It could make a great stocking stuffer!

B Complex

Are you taking a high-quality B Complex? Please make sure because low quality ones contain synthetic or inactive forms of B vitamins. What good is that? If you take synthetic wanna-be vitamins, they just occupy your receptor sites and prevent your cells from latching on to the real B vitamin.  A classic example of this is folic acid. It’s not what your body wants. It’s synthetic. But natural folate is biologically active and more effective, that is the type of folic acid that you should be taking.

So many times we are deficient in essential B vitamins and that can be the cause of moodiness, anxiety, panic attacks or just plain feeling depressed.

Generally speaking, B vitamins play a critical role in manufacturing brain chemicals that affect mood and other critical brain functions. Studies have shown low levels of B vitamins may be linked to depression. There’s a drug called Deplen that is nothing more than high dose methylfolate.  I’m pointing out that even drug companies are aware of the power of B vitamins, they’ve gone and made a high-dose drug out of it!

We lose B vitamins, they are mugged out of our body. If you are taking any medications such as, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, birth control, diabetes medications, cholesterol-lowing medications (statins) or proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole), acid blockers, and many others, you are deficient in B vitamins. (Refer to Drug Muggers for specific lists of medicines that steal B vitamins).   If you aren’t taking a GOOD B Complex supplement, consider chaining brands and see how you feel after a few weeks.  You may also increase your B vitamin intake through diet by eating fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs and almond milk.


When you’ve got your nutrients and supplements in order, the next thing you should do is DISCONNECT!  As I think about it, disconnecting should be first on my list!

Do your best to avoid getting wrapped up in other people’s holiday pressures. You have your own to deal with. Maybe it’s okay to say “no” to that “Ugly Christmas Sweater” party.  Perhaps it’s easier to not engage your brother or step-father on something minor like the tinsel. Keep complimenting your mother-in-law for her hair and shoes, lol. I don’t know, just do your best to avoid confrontation. You can do this! Take care of yourself.  Focus on the spirit of the holidays and the beautiful time of year. Focus on gratitude for everything and everyone in your life. Appreciate people for their attributes and don’t sweat the passive aggressive comments they make. It’s a reflection of them, not you. Remember the holidays for what they are, a time to celebrate and to express love. This will be easier for you than focusing on what the holidays ‘should’ be, and what so-and-so should have said to you but didn’t.  Again, gratitude. Let people’s character speak for itself, and if their comments stress you out, trust me, everyone notices this and it’s a reflection of them, not you.  You’ll be happier in the long run by showing compassion and quiet grace. Happy Holidays!




  1. pam December 30, 2014 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    I wish I’d gotten this a week ago! But it helps to read it now. And the family week from hell is over!!!!!

  2. Ann Day December 30, 2014 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    I am not taking a B-complex at this time. Do you have one you can recommend?
    I really enjoy your blog, so informative. Thank you!

  3. Aya December 30, 2014 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much, Suzy, for your very insightful tips. Enjoy the holiday season and have a great year ahead….

  4. Eileen Orsett December 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    I have bubbles as my doctor says on my thyroid. They want me to have an ultrasound which I have scheduled. What should I expect? I appreciate you for what you do to help those who have no other choice. I believe in what you say and so does my sister and my friend. My husband has been sick since 2001 and I have been caring for him in the flight fight mode all this time. Now I have Hoshimoto and am in pretty good shape because of you and your friends that have helped me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have a long way to go but I plan on getting there. Bless you for what you do. Happy New Year. Eileen

  5. Jeffrey December 30, 2014 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    Methylcobalamin: I have asked 10 different pharmacist in our city about this form of B12 rather than Cyanocobalamin. They all give me a blank stare and say they have never heard of the other forms of B12.. Guess you must be either a very exceptional experienced pharm or these people have not been in the profession as long as you or are just too busy earning their money. They still seem to be more objective/ knowledgeable about medicines compared to the Doctors here in my area of the country in Wisconsin. Guess thats not saying much orjust simply fits into the norm of life. Just wanted to share. Lots of frustrations and enlightment.

  6. Eva December 30, 2014 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    Thank you so very much for all your help. I love your books, I have the one on diabetes and 24 hour pharmacist.
    And I love getting your newsletter.
    A very happy and prosperous New Year to you and your loved ones.
    Eva Donovan

  7. Maurisa Solomon December 30, 2014 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the advice you post. I detest Rx meds and will do anything I can to find a natural alternative. I’m going to try passionflower in lieu of the tiny amounts of diazepam I take to help me sleep. A while back you recommended FluNada and I tried it when nothing else helped to rid me of a virus. The FluNada knocked it out of my system immediately. I’ve recommended the product to several people since. Thank you so much…I’m extremely grateful for your knowledge and for sharing it. Best wishes for continued success in 2015.

  8. Helen Niels-Ecksten December 31, 2014 at 12:54 am - Reply

    Thank you for all the reminders. Enjoy all of your health information. Sometimes it is
    difficult to keep up with everything as I am a senior on a limited budget. I know how
    important it is to eat good quality food . I try to do just that and it makes a difference.
    I didn’t know that B vitamins helped that much with mood, depression.
    Thank you.

  9. Sylvia Elbaz December 31, 2014 at 2:38 am - Reply

    It’s about time that someone like you came on the scene. We’ve been needing you. Thank you for sharing

  10. Sylvia Elbaz December 31, 2014 at 2:40 am - Reply

    It’s about time that someone like you came on the scene. We’ve been needing you. Thank you for sharing.

    • Suzy Cohen January 4, 2015 at 7:08 pm - Reply

      Hi Sylvia, nice to meet you. I got on the scene in 1999, glad you found me now 🙂

  11. steven jackson December 31, 2014 at 4:17 am - Reply

    Suzy,I have a very outdated windows xp..I can’t send you e-mail or use
    facebook to contact you and thank you for saving my life. I have been hit by 4 cars and inherited type 1 diabetes,high cholesterol,severe vascular problems,and HIGH b.p. In the emergency room and was told i should have a stroke.I started out on 9 meds.,4 for diabetes.Over a period of 8 years 9 meds turned into 25 meds.I had so many health problems i regretted for many years was depressed waking up.I saw
    your book the 24 hour pharmacist and even though I suffered brain trauma…seizures and short term memory loss.I read your book 20 times and thanks to you I am down to 3 meds. today thanks to YOU
    I was disabled at such an early age that iI have no pension or retirement benefits so I barely make it buy and can not afford to buy your supplements but i hungerily await to read your life saving info.
    Thank God I came across your knowledge 13 years ago or so. I wish you the best…I literally owe you my life and if I can somehow come across some money to work with Dani Johnson from home I will definitely purchase your no doubt high quality supplements.sorry this
    is so long but i have tried for years to be able to thank you for your
    pioneering work against the destructive nature of prescription meds.What a HERO you are and I tell everyone about my mirac-
    lous recovery by proving by showing an old presription list.
    Suzy thank you for compassion and I wish you and your family
    a HAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR. I hope we all have you around
    for many more decades.What a legacy you have already created.
    Your 98% recovered patient Steven J.By for now.

    • Suzy Cohen January 4, 2015 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Oh my God thank YOU Steve, you are a HERO for your commitment and courage in the face of such non-stop discomfort and pain. I am SO HAPPY to finally meet you here and read your story.
      The truth is, YOU are why I keep going, for it is no easy task to do what I do in a drug-crazed society and peers who don’t always understand.
      🙂 Suzy

  12. Barbara December 31, 2014 at 5:44 am - Reply

    Thank you, Suzy, for some wonderful advice! The Epsom salts bath is something we don’t often think about, but sounds like it would promote great relaxation.
    Happy new year!

  13. alicia December 31, 2014 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Thank you Suzie, great advise

  14. Peter J. Pagano, DDS December 31, 2014 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Great recommendations to relieve stress and quiet the sympathetic nervous system! I really like the natural, simple supplementation regimen of using magnesium, L-theanine, Passion- flower and B complex along with gratitude and appreciation. I’m going to immediately implement using Passionflower as a premedication for my more anxious patients in place of Vallium or other benzodiazopines. Thanks! Make 2015 your best your ever!

  15. Marykay Rogowski December 31, 2014 at 11:21 am - Reply

    I love your articles and will forward this one to several people I know who are stressed.
    Not just during the Holidays but pretty much during the year!
    Thanks and Happy New Year!

  16. Patti Barnard December 31, 2014 at 11:40 am - Reply

    I feel like my mind is stimulated.have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep cause I cant turn it off.have had anxiety my whole life and it just seems worse now and just plain focus
    Any suggestions?

  17. Candi December 31, 2014 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    What brand of B’s do you recommend? I am currently taking Vitacosts B 50 complex. I love your articles. Thank you.

  18. Julie Foley December 31, 2014 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    You are a blessing, Suzy. Thank you for these much needed reminders to focus on the positive.

  19. Mary Frances December 31, 2014 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Thanks for all your advice,

  20. Tianna Galgano December 31, 2014 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this article Suzy. I had my family over for a holiday party last Sunday. They were stressed for several reasons. One snapped at me in anger assuming I was saying something about her behind her back…an untrue and vastly unfair situation. I did not respond. I actually was in a state of shock. Today I was still “talking to myself” about this. Your article was exactly what I need to hear to get over it.
    I just want everyone to be happy and get along…but that is wishful thinking.

    • Suzy Cohen January 4, 2015 at 6:54 pm - Reply

      I have learned that I can’t even control the thoughts that run through my own head, no less those in my company. It’ll drive you insane to try.

  21. Janice Redden December 31, 2014 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Hi I am repling not for this post but a previous post in which you mentioned Magnesium Oil. I am interested in getting this because I do have to take a medication for my Afib, although I have refused to take the blood thinner, because my diet already keeps my blood thin enough and I am on a gluten free diet. However, I could not find any information on this oil and where you get it. I would appreciate your input on this. Thanks

  22. Carol Wolney January 1, 2015 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Hi! I was recently told by a doctor that I have a cyst on my pancreas and a tumor on my kidney. Do you have any suggestions for helping me with these issues?

  23. Megan January 6, 2015 at 12:37 am - Reply

    I have had some run ins with mental health diagnoses. It started when I was 18 and I’m 34 now and finally on something that I think helps some. I went to an alternative M.D for awhile and the only thing he could really help me with was B vitamins and Good Fish Oil. He retired and I no longer get the B vitamin Shot, which seemed to help . I got some B vitamins from Spring Valley Company but I couldn’t figure out if they are the right kind. I looked at the labels from yours, I really don’t think mine are the good kind. Sorry this was so long just found you and trying to put some of the pieces together.

    • Suzy Cohen January 7, 2015 at 10:35 pm - Reply

      Hi Megan
      Glad you found me.
      There are many doctors who can prescribe the B shots you said you like, that is not something that has to stop just because your physician retired. Any doc can do it.
      As for B vitamins, the one I make is biologically active, I don’t trust that we -as humans- can activate the B vitamins to their cell-ready absorbable form, so I just encapsulate them in their bioactive form. We offer a hassle free return policy, in case you decide to try.
      Good luck to you. (Oh, here my other site

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