Say what? Hearing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at a coffee shop for the twenty-fifth time doesn’t bring you joy? You don’t make like the lords-a-leaping when your horrible aunt asks you to pass the potatoes, and why you aren’t married?
Ah, the holidays. They bring with them a satisfactory helping of difficulty along with an amazing amount of calories. There are ways to help – with nutrition, with exercise and with the balance between tradition and time out.
There will be cookies at the office; there will be eggnog at home. No one lives in nutritional paradise. Start your morning right with some of the following choices that may help you to think more mindfully during the day:
1) Greek yogurt. With more calcium than milk, this can help produce neurotransmitters. Translation: happiness! The bonus is that it’s chock full of protein, which will make you fuller for longer, delaying the first snack of the day.
2) Honey. Add some to tea or yogurt, or stir into oatmeal. Honey contains quercetin, which helps to prevent the holiday blues by reducing inflammation in the brain.
3) Coconut. Again, sprinkle on yogurt or bake into muffins. Think about adding a little coconut butter on top of your oatmeal to melt. It has medium chain triglycerides which are fats that promote better brain health and fuel chipper holiday moods.
We know you’re busy. There are holiday parties and cards to write and online shopping to conquer. But if you keep revving along with high levels of cortisol, over time, key connections in your brain won’t work as well. This means forgetfulness at a time when you need to be on your game. Here’s some inspiration to keep you moving:
1) The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, sweat it out. Just 20 minutes can have a 12-hour elevation in mood, increasing feel good chemicals and raising your brain derived neurotropic factor. In other words, holiday cheer can be found at the gym.
2) Staying sedentary can leave you more responsive to stress. Without much movement, every minor disturbance may leave you feeling crazed. You need the GABA neurotransmitters that controlled stress – like exercise – can give you.
3) Weight gain will not make you happy. The next time you find yourself dealing with an energy crash with sugar or caffeine, hold off, drink water and take a deep breath. Make some time for a yoga class or even a few desk stretches. Yoga and meditation are fantastic additions to your lifestyle as they reduce stress and increase satisfaction.
Now, pencil in some time for yourself. In between decorating and fa-la-laing, you may hit the end of the year feeling burnt out. With time for mugs of tea in the bathtub and warm nights for the fire, you’ll have more of yourself to give- which is what the season is all about, isn’t it?