The songs tell us that this is “the most wonderful time of the year,” but many would disagree.

Twinkling lights and sugar crystals might sparkle like fairy-dust, but behind that magical facade there often hides the stress of unmet expectations and familial strife.

By the time the festivities are over many of us find ourselves more exhausted than we were going in.

Want to actually enjoy the festivities this year?

Then follow these 3 unexpected ways to stay sane amidst holiday madness.

1. Eat Your Greens.

What does food have to do with mental health?

Well, as it turns out, a lot.

More and more studies are coming out proving that healthy gut flora (also known as the microbiome) might actually be the key to mental health.

And the best way to support a healthy microbiome?

Eat lots of fiber-rich foods like whole fruits and vegetables.

Enjoy a few cookies, sure, but make sure you also feed those microbes lots of fiber-rich foods to nosh on.

You might also want to consider fermented foods and taking some extra probiotics for added reinforcement.

Because when your microbes are happy, you’re happy.

2. Stretch.

Another way to look at our bodies is as our subconscious, manifest in material form.

Think about it.

Feelings are called feelings because we feel them, physically.

If your body is tense, then so are your emotions.

When your emotions are tense, you end up acting in stressed ways.

And when you act in stressed ways, situations around you become even more tense, which makes you feel more tense, and then you get stuck in a vicious cycle.

So close your eyes.

Breathe.

Notice where your breath flows freely and where it feel restricted.

Notice where your body is constricted and then move in ways to open it up.

Even just a little more openness can make a huge impact on how you feel.

3. Smile.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

 

You might not feel like smiling when your toddler is screaming, the latkes are burning, and the gifts still aren’t wrapped.

But lift the corners of your mouth and press your cheeks up into your eyes anyway.

Studies have shown that smiling into your eyes can cause a physiological reaction in your body, releasing endorphins and make you feel a whole lot happier.

What do all 3 of these Mental-health tips have in common?

They are all based in the body.

Pay attention to how your body feels, listen to what it tells you and give it what it needs, and you’ll charge into the new year with gusto.

 

Now I’d love to hear from you.

What strategies do you use to make your holidays more fun?

Leave a comment in the comments section and inspire others with your ideas!

‘Til next time, happy holidays!

xoKaterina

 

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