The Christmas holiday season can bring 2 unwelcome guests: stress and depression. The extra demands of shopping, cooking meals, buying gifts and even worrying about staying healthy and safe at family gatherings due to the virus chaos can wreak havoc with 1’s mental health.
But according to the Mayo Clinic, there are simple tips that can help minimize the stress while staying mentally healthy and strong.
These “happiness habits” can get you through a rough spot but are not meant to replace professional help for serious depression, acute anxiety, or other clinical issues. If your seasonal blues continue, see your doctor for expert advice.
• Studies have shown that your brain is affected by visual chaos. Clutter may also raise the stress hormone cortisol, especially in women. Sort unused goods to be given to charity.
• Retail therapy can boost your mood, especially if you buy something nice for yourself. We are always thinking of others during this season, but why not buy something special just for you?
• A good read is a great mental escape if it is pleasant and riveting. Studies have associated reading with improvements in depression symptoms and improved mental clarity. Try to avoid reading about the news or something controversial and escape with a good book.
• Studies have shown that listening to your favorite music, whether it is Mozart or classic rock can lower both blood pressure and heart rate. Put on the headphones and enjoy your groove!
• Eat the Mediterranean diet, following the Mediterranean diet that features fish, nuts, and fresh Organic vegetables and fruit, eases anxiety and stress.
• Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression, and in some cases as effective as antidepressants. Start with 5 mins a day walking or any activity you enjoy. Soon, those 5 mins of activity will become 10, and 10 will become 15. Walking in nature has a 2X bonus. According to a Y 2015 study people who take nature walks have lower activity in the parts of the brain that contain negative thoughts.
• Laughter not only reduces stress and anxiety, but it can also bolster your immune system. Find the things that make you laugh whether watching silly videos, funny podcasts, or jokes from magazines. Laughter is one of the best mood lifters around.
• Lonely or isolated? Then seek support from a trusted friend of family member. It is helpful to address your anxieties and concerns rather than keep them bottled up inside. Offer to help others as well. Some research has found that it can be even more uplifting to give support than to get it.
Have a happy, healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!