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Health & Fitness

Coffee Mate Offers $5k to Those Who Skip the Turkey Trot

Is the stress of a 5K race around the holidays bad for mental health?

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Coffee mate is taking issue with the annual Thanksgiving 5K. The brand claims waking up early and zipping out the door to make it to the starting line disrupts the morning coffee routine. So, to emphasize their stance, Coffee mate is offering people the opportunity to win five thousand dollars to those who take the pledge to skip the turkey trot.

“Here at Coffee mate, we know better than anyone that the morning coffee routine is not only personal, it’s sacred. Every Thanksgiving, the infamous 5K run poses a potential disruption to that ritual,” said Leonardo Aizpuru, Nestlé Senior Director of Brand Marketing and Leader of the Creamer Business Unit. “As coffee’s perfect holiday mate, we’re encouraging people to slow down this year and savor Thanksgiving morning – a holiday where comfort is king. This pledge is a fun way to honor our fans’ individual coffee routines, whatever the perfect morning cup looks like to them.”

While the pledge sounds silly it does pose the question: Do you have to do it all? Are you taking on a little too much during the holidays?

One in four Americans plan to skip Thanksgiving altogether in 2022 due to financial stress. In October, the American Psychological Association conducted a survey that found 76 percent of Americans have experienced negative health impacts due to the last three months of stress. The study predicts this number increasing during the holiday season.

So the question is: Should you really skip the turkey trot this year? 

Our Answer: Not if you don’t want to!

Rachel Wallace of Emerald Psychiatry says a 5K is a great way to curb stress. Recent studies actually suggest that running is equally as effective as antidepressant medication. However, Wallace adds that if you choose to run the turkey trot, it’s important you get enough sleep and manage stress levels before doing so.

“Getting more sleep can decrease cortisol levels,” Wallace says. “So if you’re not used to waking up at 5 a.m. to get ready for this Thanksgiving race, your body might release a surplus of cortisol initially.”

It’s important to note that this is common when waking up. In anticipation of your morning alarm, your circadian clock sets off a plethora of hormones that release cortisol. That level does gradually decline as the day goes on.

In general, morning workouts and runs are perfectly fine, depending on the person. But Wallace notes that the annual Thanksgiving 5K is in the midst of when someone may be experiencing an intense amount of stress and might be a layer of extra pressure on top of everything else. 

“If you’re going to do it, make sure to take care of your mental health by de-stressing beforehand,” Wallace says. “Turkey trots can be so fun – don’t show up with tensed muscles and dark circles under your eyes because that’s never good for you.”

What to Eat to Beat Stress

Getting stress-free before race day means the fuel you eat has to be anti-inflammatory and packed full of vitamin B. The Mediterranean diet is ideal for this, as fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains are all great for lowering cortisol levels. 

B12, in particular, can greatly reduce cortisol levels. You can find B12 in beef, chicken, eggs, nutritional yeast and organ meats. Sardines, for example, provide 554 percent of the daily value of B12.

You’re also going to want to eat foods high in magnesium such as avocados, bananas, broccoli, dark chocolate, spinach and pumpkin seeds. These options will reduce inflammation and help the body relax. Magnesium is essential for a healthy blood pressure and decreasing risk of chronic diseases. Note: If you opt for dark chocolate, make sure it’s at least 90 percent cacao.

Foods to avoid when managing stress include alcohol, caffeine, high-sugar foods and processed, simple carbs.  

For more tips and tricks to stress down during the holidays, check out the articles below:

7 Foods to Ease Stress and Soothe Anxiety

Pamela Salzman’s Anti-Stress Latte

Just Say “No”—And 4 Other Tips to Help Beat Holiday Stress

8 Easy Ways to De-Stress Your Holiday