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Top Tips for Mental Wellness During the Holidays

The Holidays are a really exciting time, and with that excitement, we can sometimes experience stress or difficulty regulating how we’re feeling and how we are working with others.

The state of our body has physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The mind and the body are one. The mind, the body, and the emotions are one. The mind, the body, the emotions, and the spirits are one. When we are talking talking about mental well-being, we can definitely still think about the physical state and how what we do in the physical state impacts how we feel and how we think. There is the gut/brain connection, where what we eat, process, and absorb actually impacts how we think. I definitely want to highlight that, because I hope that everyone in Michigan can avoid the Michigan 10 this year, so that we can really focus on getting better year, even in the winter.

How does your mental state affect your body?

If you’re having a sad day, how are you feeling? If you’re having a good day, how are you feeling? Those states of feeling strong are often related to feeling really positive. Something that a lot of women say, is that when they don’t feel good, they make an extra effort to look good. There have definitely been some days when I didn’t feel good, so I made the effort to look better, and that actually made me feel better. I pick something that I love to wear, or add some makeup that I love, put on my favorite earrings, something of that nature. That helps me feel better. How we have our mental state definitely affects our well-being and the rest of our body.

During the holidays, if we’re looking at some of the more stressful things that happen, like people are often rushing from here or there, or adding extra activities, buying presents or going to parties, there are so many extra activities that occur in the holiday season. Sometimes people do things like miss a meal, or maybe they have extra alcohol that they’re not used to or availability to really good, yummy treats. It happens a lot during the holidays. Start thinking about how, if you’re stressed and hungry, and then you have an opportunity to eat something that you wouldn’t normally eat, if you’re stressed, the cortisol kicks in, and for something that is high sugar or high carbohydrate, it starts propagating this hunger. It’s really important to connect with where you are. Make sure you do a little bit of planning for self care so that you have your meals or at least a solid snack that is available to you. This is especially true if you know the day is going to run long or be filled with a lot of activities.

I’ll tell you one little hint for me. I like to limit the number of different kinds of activities that I do in a day to three. I find that if I do five different kinds of activities in a day, it is too much for me. Recognizing the days where I need to do three or more kinds of activities, and preparing myself a little more psychologically, and making sure that I have downtime in between as best I can. I try to limit how much time I’m at those things so that I can take care of myself, and also realize that if it’s going to be depleting for me, and I’m ok with that, then I just need to know that I’m going to be able to go home and rest and recover and take care of myself. I think it’s ok to be excited about the holidays and be excited to all of these extra fabulous things. That’s fun, that’s life, but if it’s tiring, especially when there is a high flu season and the flu strains are very extreme, you want to make sure that, if you’re giving yourself extra to do, then you are also giving yourself an extra moment to take care of yourself.

Someone said to me that they really wanted to just sleep in the other day, and they never do that. It’s ok. Do it. You don’t want to get the flu because you’re doing so many wonderful things with the holiday and you don’t take the extra time to listen to what your body needs. Also with the weather being so cold, it can be very strenuous to the body. Just take some time to recover, and know that it’s going to be a little more taxing on the body.

Those are reasons that your mental state can affect how your body functions. If you’re going, going, going, and in the holidays there is a lot to do, your mind will tell you not to rest or to get up early to get that extra present. You have to realize that if you’re going to overdo it, sometimes you have to give yourself a balanced equation to allow for that recovery time.

What are ways to promote good mental health?

I’m going to put a spin on this, because, as I mentioned earlier, we have to think about the gut/brain connection. What I want to highlight here is sugar. Sugar is loved by candida. A lot of people wonder what is candida? Candida is a fungus that naturally lives in our body, and it can have overgrowth when exposed to a lot of sugar. I’ll give you a hint. If you look at a piece of cake, and you’re with a friend, and that friend never sees you eat the cake, they only see the cake full and then they see the cake gone, that is likely candida overgrowth. Your body is taking the sugar in, and the candida is actually converting it into a sugar alcohol. That’s what feeds the candida. You’re eating these mass quantities of sugar, and you don’t even know how to space, regulate, or chew, and you don’t realize how much sugar you’re getting in because you’re basically like a vacuum sucking in the sugary food to feed the candida.

If that’s the case, you need to recognize that it is a medical problem, and it is definitely going to affect your mood. A sugar rush can cause a huge spike and a huge drop in how the rest of your hormones are regulated in the rest of your body. It’s really important to recognize if you have a candida overgrowth, then it’s really important to recognize how much sugar you’re having and the quantity. A lot of times, the adage of one is too many and a thousand is not enough works really well when we look at sugar, and alcohol, and sugar alcohols, candida overgrowth, and addiction. If one is too many, and a thousand is not enough for you for something at a holiday party or during the holidays, make an effort to avoid it so that you can maintain your health in the long run.

Tell me how you’re doing with that! I’d really like to know. I’d love to support you during the holiday season and as we get into the new year. We have a lot of exciting programs going on. We have something coming up, I call it the sampler platter. It’s a great way to explore some new ways to improve your health. It may be some things you hadn’t thought about doing, but you can maybe sample some different activities that we offer at the center, so that you can try it on and experiment with it and see what you like.

See you next week!