Sometimes we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed during this season. When we experience high levels of holiday stress, we often look outside of ourselves to relieve anxiety.
A 2018 Gallup Poll reported that Americans experience some of the highest levels of stress in the world. During stressful situations, the body releases the cortisol hormone. which can cause headaches, emotional instability, and insomnia. In contrast, during joyful times, hormones such as endorphins, dopamine and serotonin increase energy, clarity and relaxation.
You can reduce stress and anxiety this season by prioritizing self-care and practicing mood awareness. Create a mental health care strategy based on biology to feel more balanced and joyful during the holidays.
Let It Go
During this time of year, we often put too much pressure on ourselves to support our family and friends, and spend less time taking care of our own health.
If you start to feel overwhelmed with holiday stress, try measuring your mental load. Try these three easy steps to find more focus and reduce the weight of stress.
1. List Tasks
Write down everything that is currently weighing on your mind. Make a list of all of your concerns, doubts, and responsibilities. Try not to judge your thoughts and allow them to flow freely.
2. Choose Priorities
Read through your list and circle the top three concerns that you absolutely must address today. Circle matters that involve the immediate health and safety of you and your loved ones. Consider circling tasks that will help you feel more grounded, supported, and empowered once completed.
3. Take Action
Sometimes taking the first step can be the most difficult. Try to get moving on the task that seems the easiest and soon you’ll gain more momentum. Staying stagnant can often increase stress so by getting moving you can increase endorphins which are the ‘euphoria’ hormone.
Celebrate The Process
Once you accomplish tasks, make sure to take time to celebrate your wins and stimulate dopamine production. Dopamine is the “feel good” hormone that is released when performing an activity and receiving a reward. Dopamine is closely linked to memory. During the holidays we often feel nostalgic and reminisce on family traditions.
The Reward Foundation explains, “The amount of dopamine released by the brain prior to a behaviour is proportional to its potential for providing pleasure. If we experience pleasure with a substance or activity, the memory formed means we anticipate that it will be pleasurable again. After a time the brain gets used to the stimulus, so needs more of a dopamine boost to get a high…Hence the vicious cycle of dependency.”
Because the “dopamine hit” can become addictive, the key to authentic celebration happiness is to balance out cravings. If you normally reward yourself with coffee, sugar and alcohol, try to add in healthy rewards. Instead try going for a walk, dancing or listening to music. During the holiday season, choose an activity you enjoy such as baking or decorating. Your brain will start to correlate more healthy behaviors with rewards and your dopamine levels will rise naturally.
Increase Support to Reduce Holiday Stress
Holiday stress relief supplements can support your holiday mental health strategy. By absorbing essential nutrients, you can boost your immune system and balance hormones. When your nervous and endocrine systems are operating properly, your mind can focus more on what matters most.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body doesn’t have time to detox both physically and mentally. Support your healthy sleep habits with natural melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin helps regulate circadian rhythms and your body’s natural sleep cycle.
5-HTP can support relaxation and help you feel more rested. The brain uses 5-HTP to produce serotonin, a calming hormone. Serotonin regulates sleep, appetite and temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. 5-HTP can balance serotonin levels by helping us feel more calm, focused and grounded.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient in cannabis derived from the hemp plant. It can help treat conditions like pain, insomnia, and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels.
If you’d like to declutter your mood and mind, find more clarity with Tyrosine. Tyrosine is an amino acid that plays a critical role in dopamine production. Dopamine is the “feel good” hormone that is released to reward us for completing a task. Dopamine is also closely linked to memory. Tyrosine can improve mental alertness, attention and focus.
Merry, Happy, Healthy Holidays! ~ From Your NBH Wellness Family
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