The goal of a physically healthy foundation needs a consistent focus all year long, but especially during the holiday season. The extra food and the neglect of exercise, the choices affecting us physically, significantly contribute to the demise of our joy after the holidays.
After years of struggling with depression and having the holidays be the lowest point of the year, I finally realized this startling truth and began to understand how diet and exercise played a huge role in my mood & energy.
Physical & Mental Connections
We simply cannot escape the fact that the choices we make regarding our physical bodies directly and significantly impact us physically. What we do — or don’t do — physically directly connects to how we feel mentally and physically.
- Our guts produce 95% of our serotonin. (Note: The human body creates Serotonin, which works as a neurotransmitter. Some researchers regard it as a main chemical responsible for maintaining mood balance. Many believe a deficit of serotonin leads to depression.)
If your digestion isn’t healthy, what impact might this have on your mental health?
- Dietary choices can bring about changes in your brain structure (chemically and physiologically), which can lead to altered behavior.
Is it possible that there are dietary changes you can make to achieve a more consistent mood?
What could 20-30 minutes, 3 days a week do to improve your energy levels?
Is there a way to establish a more consistent level of sleep for the benefit of improving your ability to think clearly?
Can you add just a glass or two more of water a day to improve your mood and energy?
These basic principles operate uniquely within every person. The more and longer we neglect this impact, the increased likelihood of ill physical and mental health.
A Physically Healthy Foundation
Of course, the goal is a consistently healthy lifestyle all year long, but maintaining is certainly more difficult during the holidays regardless of individual levels of diligence and self-control. Incorporate the following tips to help maintain physical and mental health during the holidays and beyond.
- Eat healthy food first. Choose fruit and veggies before heading to the dips, sauces and sweets. You’re sure to eat less of the unhealthy stuff when you eat the good stuff first.
- Find creative ways to be active. Park in the farthest spot from the entrance. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Commit to a certain number of push-ups or sit-ups a day. These small steps produce an immediate impact simply by choosing to implement them.
- Be diligent about rest & sleep. As much as possible, stick to a normal sleep schedule and have regular down time to rest. Don’t be afraid to take short power naps either.
- Drink more water. Comparable only to the impact of adequate sleep, staying hydrated significantly benefits mental and physical health. If you incorporate no other tips, drink more water and get enough rest.
- Take basic supplements. A good multi-vitamin and a probiotic are likely to benefit everyone. The mental and physical changes even after a couple of weeks will surprise you.
These tips provide the small steps needed for a physically healthy foundation. Having this core base of health allows for flexibility in your diet and schedule from time to time, something that can be helpful during the holidays. It also provides the ability to rebound more quickly after the busy season abates.
Small Steps Add Up
You may not be able to completely control what is available to eat at parties or the busyness of the season, but you can do a lot to find more balance during the holidays. This involves taking small steps that add up over time to make a big difference.
Determine to control what you can by taking small steps toward a healthier you. Consider immediately incorporating one or more of the above tips even before the new year arrives.