6 ways to support your mental health during the holiday season.
For many people the holiday season is not the most wonderful time of the year. Between jam-packed calendars, deadlines at work, reunions, cooking or all of the above - the holidays can be a stressful time for some. This can often lead to symptoms of anxiety, loneliness, or a feeling of sadness. Discover 6 easy ways that can help support your mental health during the holiday season.
Not feeling like Buddy the elf? Don't worry, it's okay! The holidays can be loaded with an overwhelming amount of triggers. From gift giving, prepping for family to come over, and more it can be difficult to reduce stress. What's important to remember is that there are ways you can help alleviate those symptoms you might be experiencing.
In hopes of helping others enjoy their holidays to the fullest, our team has listed their 6 favorite ways to help support mental health. Who knows - it might be just the thing you need to read before heading over to be with family for the holidays.
1.) Let's talk about feelings.
Surprisingly, changes in our mental health during the holiday season are actually not that surprising at all. A study by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 31% of men and 44% of women experience high levels of stress during the holidays. Not only is it difficult to manage stress, but for those who already struggle with their mental health the holidays can be even more unbearable. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) discovered that approximately 40% of people find that the holidays make their condition “somewhat” worse, and 24% reported it being “a lot” worse.
Although it may be hard to acknowledge these emotions, it's very important not to ignore them. Listening to your feelings helps you better understand why you are experiencing them. Once you accept their existence you can learn how to protect your mental health. Take a moment to sit back and ask yourself:
• Why am I stressed or not feeling joyful?
• Does the holiday season bring feelings of guilt or shame?
• Am I worried about financial matters and gift giving?
Communicatingwith yourself is vital to understand how to deal with your feelings in a healthy way. Checking in with yourself and acknowledging the (why, when, how) allows you to better manage your expectations and take the time to express your feelings.
2.) Soak up the sun - Get outside!
Did you know? There's a type of depression that's related to the changing of the seasons. This condition is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can directly impact your mental health. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), approximately 5% of adults in the United States experience S.A.D., which can last around 40% of the year.
Get outside, walk in nature, and breath in that fresh air! Whether you're working out, taking the dog for a walk, or simply enjoying a beautiful view, having access to sunlight can have a positive impact on your mental health.
3.) Did someone say self-care?
This is a team favorite! Besides scheduling plans with other people, it's important to remember to make plans with yourself. Self-care helps reduce stress and not to mention, it also feels amazing. When we make time for ourselves, we're allowing our mind to reset and focus on recharging. Here are some of our most loved self-care activities:
• Taking your dog for a walk
• Listening to music you love
• Reading a book
• Taking up a new hobby
• Getting a massage
• Watching a good movie
• Working out
• Taking a nap
4.) Boundaries are a must.
The holidays can become complex, especially when it comes to saying "no". Although it might be difficult to stand your ground, it's important to acknowledge your triggers and protect your mental health ahead of time.
When we identify our emotions we are allowing ourselves to acknowledge those limitations. Setting boundaries for ourselves can help us better communicate with friends and family. Practicing self-awareness allows us to create a mental space where we can recognize and accept those feelings.
5.) We're all about the healthy and gut-friendly foods.
Wanna know what has a large impact on mental health? We'll give you a hint...GBA. That's right we're talking about the Gut-Brain Axis. Also known as the "second brain", the GBA is responsible for the signaling that occurs between our gut and brain. Researchers have found that a healthy gut and microbiome are essential for brain function and emotional behavior.
The blk. saying goes "a happy gut is a healthy gut" and for that reason, we gathered 6 tips that we love for keeping a balanced digestive system:
1.) Diversity is very important! Soil based polyphenols play a huge role with your microbiome, nutrient absorption, and overall health. These organisms, found in fulvic, give the protection and support your gut needs. Fulvic acid is enriched with 77+ trace minerals, making it easier for your body to recognize and absorb nutrients. This helps improve digestion and balance your immune system. Infused with fulvic, blk. provides optimal nutrient absorption to keep your gut thriving!
2.) FIBER is a necessity! Fiber gives your gut the good bacteria it needs. When our bacteria breaks down fiber they create metabolic compounds, which have beneficial effects for the entire body. Including fiber rich foods in your diet such as vegetables, grains, and fresh fruits, can naturally nourish gut bacteria. These foods are healthy and easy to incorporate with any holiday dish.
3.) Remember that nap you wanted? This is your body's way of saying, "quality sleep is needed". Inadequate sleep can negatively influence the diversity and number of bacteria in the gut. An optimal amount of sleep ranges from 7-9 hours, however some people may need variations of sleep. Always listen to your body.
4.) Are you staying hydrated? Drinking lots of water has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the mucosal lining of the intestines. Staying hydrated is an easy way to promote a healthy microbiome, but when you have the right kind of water it makes all the difference. Try blk. to support a healthy and diverse microbiome. Each bottle contains natural ingredients that make for the perfect addition to your holiday season. An optimal environment for your microbiome involves powerful ingredients that help support your overall health, namely your immune system and digestive system.
5.) Eating fermented foods. Foods that contain live microbes such as yogurt, tempeh, and kimchi are extremely healthy for both you and your microbiome. There are also many other options that are a great source of good bacteria to ensure you're getting enough live cultures to keep your gut thriving.
6.) We like to move it, move it! We like to... MOVE IT! Our microbes love a good workout! It has been shown that people who partake in more physical activity have microbiomes that are more healthy and diverse. It also helps destress the body, which can positively impact mental health.
Having the support of a community makes challenging times easier. Whether it takes the form of a support group, friends, or health professionals, support is a necessity. If you're finding yourself needing additional support never hesitate to seek professional help. Always reach out to your doctor or mental health professional.
Although the holidays can be difficult to manage, just know there are steps you can take to help ease your mind. With a little planning, self-care, blk., and support, you might find the holiday season a little merrier than before.
This has not been evaluated by the FDA. * The content in this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and does not constitute medical or other professional advice.
* The content on all websites associated with blk. is for informational purposes only, is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and does not constitute medical or other professional advice.