Christmas, it means so much to everyone. It’s filled with expectations and sometimes obligations. When we experience high stress events even when they are joyful, our mental health needs to be monitored and often given a boost to help it stay healthy. Here are some tips to help you maintain healthy mental health this year.
This time of year gets busy. There are scheduling issues, gift buying, finding time to wrap those gifts. After all the anticipation, Christmas finally arrives but there is still turkey to cook and food to prepare. It is easy to forget to take time to just enjoy. Over the holidays, stop yourself occasionally, take a deep breath to ground yourself and clear your brain of all the things you “should” be doing. Then you can focus on the person/people you are with and the activity you are doing together. This will allow your brain to stop multitasking and rejuvenate itself.
Gratefulness goes right along with being present. As you are going throughout the busyness, take a moment to take in the sights around you. Children laughing, presents being opened, food being enjoyed, watching the lights flicker on the tree. Whatever is around you, take some time to treasure it and the people who you are sharing it with. Tell yourself a few things about the moments you are thankful for. Studies have shown that when we practice gratitude it upgrades your hormones and your neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals in our bodies are what affects our happiness, so every time you give thanks for something, you are giving your body a boost towards happiness. Studies have show that we sleep better and are less depressed when we practice gratitude.
Often, we forgo rest because it is easy to get caught up in the fun-filled actives and people. This time is important and is a priority over sleep. Rest is different from sleep. To refuel ourselves we need little moments of restful activity. Ideas for restful activities are as simple as sitting on the couch chatting with a friend; reading a book to a child; taking a stroll down the road to admire the lights; or snuggling with your loved one while you drink a hot cup of chocolate. Restful activities interspersed between other fun events will restore your energy and keep your emotions balanced over the hectic holidays.
I hope these tips will help you stay healthy this holiday season. May you have a wonderful Christmas, and I hope that 2019 will be your year of health.