Ways To Keep Your Mental Health And Physical Wellbeing At The Forefront This Holiday Season

The holiday season is supposed to be full of friends, family, and fun. In addition, there may even be some gift giving in your plans. As you celebrate the holidays this season, consider giving yourself the gift of mental and physical health. As we take care of others and extend ourselves beyond our normal routines regarding socializing, indulging, and gift giving, it can take a toll on our overall wellness. A 2014 study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 64% of people who experience mental illness feel the holidays make their condition worse.

Although it seems daunting, there are many ways we can put our mental and physical health at the forefront this season. During a time that is all about spoiling your loved ones, remember that it's much easier to do that if you feel good. Feeling good requires you to prioritize your health while giving love to others. Put this at the top of your to-do list and reap the benefits beyond the holidays.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Keep your diet full of superfoods

We know it's true that our gut dictates our overall happiness, but we don't have to deprive ourselves of good food. L'Officiel explains that superfoods are those abundant in nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants that promote a range of health benefits. If we focus on superfoods and whole foods in our diets, we'll not only feel full, but our skin, joints, and minds will benefit from the care we've taken with ourselves. Popular superfoods include goji berries, avocados, lemons, nuts, and sweet potatoes. These foods promote smooth skin and clear minds, making us healthy from the inside out, so eat plenty during the holidays.

Move your body

Cardio and resistance training are both good for our overall strength and heart health, but this holiday season, consider adding in yoga to your routine. According to the Harvard Medical School, yoga is incredible for you physically and mentally. Yoga increases chemicals like gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain, which helps decrease anxiety and improve your mood. In most yoga practices, we are forced to slow down and take into account how we are feeling. Checking in with ourselves like this helps ground us. If yoga isn't currently in your workout rotation, consider incorporating it into your home fitness routine this season, and begin reveling in the benefits.

Take time to meditate

Meditation is credited with giving us a peaceful outlook and a calm mind. When the hectic holiday season approaches, integrate a meditation practice into your mornings or evenings. While meditation cannot cure depression, it can help you meet your difficult feelings and acknowledge how they are affecting your life (via Mindful). There are many types of meditation apps and videos out there. YouTube has plenty of guided meditations and peaceful music for meditation, and there are apps like Headspace and Calm that offer more of a quiet space for your breathing and thoughts.

Enjoy tea in your evenings

Instead of indulging in cocktails, wine, and beer this holiday season, make tea a common rotation during your winter days and nights. Research has shown that teas battle inflammation and help your immune system to function, per Penn Medicine. Herbal teas like chamomile and peppermint are particularly well-known for their calming effects on the body. In addition, green tea has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Pamper yourself with tea this holiday season and reap the benefits from this yummy drink.

Give back to your community

A way to keep moving and give yourself purpose is to donate your time and energy to your community. The Mayo Clinic says that volunteering helps to lower stress and releases dopamine, which can bring about positive feelings. Giving your time to help others also gives you a sense of purpose. By giving our time to others, we have less opportunity to think about the stress in our own lives, and we can see the benefits that our energy provides by giving back.

As the holiday season approaches, don't forget to take care of yourself before you take care of others. By trading out some of your unhealthy habits for those that heal you, you'll have more energy for your family and friends.