Right around the corner is the season of joy, family and fellowship. Alongside all of those is the ideal season for a sweet tooth. All the way from the pumpkin flavored lattes to peppermint Christmas items, the final quarter of the year is filled with abundant and tempting flavors. While there is fun in discovering our seasonal favorites, it is also important to maintain a healthy nutritional balance for physical health and, just as important, mental health.
Nutritional health and mental health are interlaced. Especially in seasons of stress, anxiety, pressure and challenges, they are even more reliant on one another. Hormones, focus, energy, sleep, and so much more of our physical well-being is influenced by what we put into it.
Here are a few simple, nutritional, health hacks which can greatly influence our mental health wellness.
1. Make Water a Priority
Even though the need for H20 may appear as the basic 101 to daily health it is often a struggle in living one’s busy life. Holidays are no exception to that.
If you are feeling tired, hungry, unmotivated, mentally drained, consider drinking some cold water. It helps meet the basic human need and supports energy and mental clearness. So often dehydration is the underlying need behind mental and physical factors that can be easily addressed.
Drinking regular water will also help balance all the decadent treats the season may offer.
2. Consider Nutrition & Vitamins
Vitamin D is often provided by sunlight and most easily obtained in the months of March to about September. Amongst other biological factors, sunlight is often more a struggle in the later months of the year. Vitamin D can be a great tool for those who do not get enough sun exposure and experience depressive symptoms.
Alongside that, keeping blood sugars consistent through high protein and a lower carbohydrate diet can greatly alter one’s mood. Clinicians from the Trust Based Relational Intervention program emphasize the need for high-protein food about every two hours in lives of those that have experienced trauma.
Other common health tools which reduce anxiety symptoms includes Kava extract, Vitamin B6 with Vitamin B complex. Vitamin A, C and E are identified as promoting mental alertness.
3. Live in Moderation
There are many fad diets and crash health plans when the holiday seasons and new year plans are before us. In general, life events pressure us to set polarized limits on ourselves and others in many areas of our health. The key though is to live in moderation.
When you are going to eat a treat for the season, do so in moderation. When you are going to implement a new plan for self-care or goal-oriented success, take steps in moderation. Focus on one specific goal rather than a full-life change to manage it in steps. The probability of success in meeting your goals is much higher and most often, healthier overall. More than that, it is most often the journey to a success that impacts us the most and our physically influenced mental health is no exception to that rule.
The three tips above may seem basic, but they are no less important to keep in mind. And they are not just for the holiday season, but for any time. The journey to living healthy is an ongoing, but ultimately rewarding, one.
Amber Jewell is a licensed master social worker with over 15 years of experience working with youth and families in child protective services, education and mental health services. As an educator and an advocate for promoting change for and value within people, Amber works to inspire and motivate others to grasp their own form of hope. She is also a motivational speaker and has experience in the foster system. She is the author of Finding Hope: The 12 Keys To Healing Hardship, Hurt & Sorrow.