Physical Things You Can Do To Manage Your Mental Health During the Holidays
There’s something about family gatherings during the holidays that can send stress levels skyrocketing. This year, we’re starting a new tradition, to enjoy the spirit of the holidays despite the drama that often comes with family and old friends. Last week we were more strategic and smart about using responses and mental habits to reduce stress. Now let’s talk about how taking care of your body can also take care of your mind over the next few weeks.
Sleep and Exercise
Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, if you take medication for anxiety or depression. Now is not the time to stop. If you are just starting medication, it can take some of them two weeks to get into your system for maximum benefit. Exercise is not only an antidote to stress, but it also elevates our mood and helps to lower anxiety.
One powerful technique is to visualize how you are going to interact with family members. Picture yourself having a good time. See your family getting along and enjoying a meal together. I want you to feel and act as if your goal of having a wonderful holiday meal with your family is a reality. The brain does not know the difference between what you visualize and what is. Visualization is a powerful technique that activates the subconscious powers of the mind. It can help us be more nimble and creative in the moment. In other words, you are training your brain for performance.
Manage your blood sugar and hormone levels.
Too much sugar and alcohol will increase insulin and cortisol. The insulin spike from sugar will make you tired and the cortisol will put your body in fight or flight mode. Do you ever notice how during the holiday’s someone is either arguing or leaving in a huff? That is cortisol at it’s finest. I know you may be thinking, “it’s not me that I am worried about, it is my family.” But whether it’s your cortisol levels or your families behavior, you can be triggered as well. So avoid drinking on an empty stomach and eat in moderation.
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