November 20th, 2020
HOW TO PUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH FIRST THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
The most wonderful time of the year is all about family, gifts, and celebration. But for many, the holiday season brings feelings of stress and anxiety. Here are our top 5 tips to protect your mental health so you can have a holly jolly holiday.
There’s no denying how special the holiday season is. It’s a time when we gather with loved ones to celebrate and spread love and cheer. But for many, the “most wonderful time of the year” brings on stress, anxiety, and depression.
In fact, 64% of people with mental illness reported that holidays make their conditions worse. While this season should bring on feelings of comfort and joy, it’s easy to see why so many people report being bogged down by stress.
The pressure of holiday planning, gift-giving, and social events is enough to make anyone feel like the grinch. On top of that, the holidays can be lonely, tense, or uncomfortable, depending on your relationship with your family.
This year has brought on many challenges, and as we reach for 2021 it's more important than ever to make self care your #1 priority. After all, your mental health has a direct impact on your physical health.
Today we’re sharing ways to put your mental health first, so you can start prioritizing the “me” in merry.
5 WAYS TO SELF-CARE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
Practicing a little self-care each day can help you manage stress, boost your mood, and support your overall well-being. Here’s how to take care of YOU this holiday season.
SCHEDULE "ME" TIME
What does “me” time look like for you? Is it calling friends? Watching your favorite Netflix show? Or curling up with a good book? Whatever it is that brings you joy, try to schedule time to do it each day.
In a 2015 study, researchers found that those who engaged in quality “me time” had better psychological well-being, better work-life balance, and were more engaged at work.
But if you’re a busy parent, or work full-time, you might be thinking “I never have time for myself!” And we get it – sometimes it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to worry about self-care. Luckily, it doesn’t require a lot of time. Even taking 15-20 minutes per day to recharge your batteries will make a big difference in your overall health.
MAKE SOMETHING DELICIOUS
You’ve probably heard the quote “let food be thy medicine…” a dozen times. And while there’s no denying the powerful benefits of good nutrition, that age-old saying might mean more than you think.
As it turns out, it isn’t only healthy eating that’s good for you, it’s being in the kitchen! Research shows that cooking and baking can have positive effects on your mental health.
Nicole Farmer, a doctor and staff scientist at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, says “Cooking gives us a feeling of autonomy and the opportunity to master something. It can give us a feeling of purpose and personal satisfaction.”
In addition, comfort foods like mac and cheese and cookies activate the brain’s reward system, meaning they literally make you feel good! So, are you ready to whip up something tasty? Click here for 10 healthy comfort food recipes!
GET ACTIVE, GO OUTSIDE
Did you know? Exercise releases endorphins (aka feel-good hormones) which trigger positive emotions and ease stress levels. But you don’t need to lift weights or run a marathon to boost your mood...
Yoga, dancing, or even a walk around the neighborhood can really improve your mental health this holiday season. And if you’re able to exercise outside, you reap even more benefits.
Natural sunlight provides vitamin D – a nutrient responsible for keeping your health in check. It improves bone health, the immune system, brain function, and may help lower symptoms of depression. But fewer sunlight hours in the winter means you’re getting a lot less of this essential vitamin. Our advice? Try taking your lunch break outside, or soak up the sun with your morning cup of matcha.
Does this sound like you? One minute you’re catching up on the news, and the next thing you know you’ve spent over an hour doom scrolling. It seems like there’s another breaking news story every second - it’s almost impossible to keep up!
Although it’s important to stay informed, “information overload” can be dangerous for your mental health. And in an effort to protect your well-being, it may be time to set some bad-news-boundaries and start practicing healthy phone habits.
Here are a few healthy ways to break the cycle:
- Leave your phone in another room
- Pause push notifications from news sources
- Save positive pages or accounts that lift your spirits
- Meditate instead of scrolling before bed
Do you find yourself saying “yes” to everything, then later stressing out about following through? Being a “yes” person isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be overwhelming.
Committing yourself to something, only to avoid disappointing others, can end up causing you more stress and anxiety. Instead, try setting boundaries with your peers and loved ones.
According to psychologist and coach Dana Gionta, “Having healthy boundaries means “knowing and understanding what your limits are.”
Giving yourself permission to say ‘no’ can be the easiest and most helpful way to reduce your stress this holiday season.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!
Do you have a hard time putting yourself first during the holidays? How do you practice self-care in the season of giving? Comment below!
Written by Reigna