Mental Health for the Holidays
I’m a Business owner, a Mom, and a Wife. My top priorities are my health, my family and friends, and being of service to the world, in that order.
I can’t show up for the people I love and those I serve if I don’t take care of my health first, especially mental health and emotional wellbeing. Everything else falls into place when I am caring for myself.
That being said – I’m about to get real with you as a Nutritionist. While food is very important and contributes to your mental and emotional welling, there is NO perfect diet that can “fix” you and your life. You can seek to eat “perfectly” and still think negative thoughts about your body and ultimately, feel like crap. And many times, it’s that very thinking that leads people to binge/restrict at this time of year more than any other.
Take it from me – I binged and purged and refrained from eating food for far too long until I finally got help. Now I have found balance and peace with my body and my eating disorder, though it’s always a work in progress and needs continuous care and attention.
A Health Coach on my team feels the same – once she started focusing on her lifestyle foundations and non-negotiable habits rather than weighing herself, calorie counting, restricting then binging, and feeling fearful of holiday gatherings with food, life was experienced with far greater ease, pleasure, and REAL health!
The point being is that health is all-inclusive of your physical health, mental health, spiritual and emotional wellbeing. We teach this to our clients and they achieve far greater results than solely focusing on what’s on their plate! What’s on our plate is deeply tied to our relationship and beliefs around the body and food. You can’t have “plate health” without mental health.
Here are my top tips for how to boost your mental health this Holiday Season and carry it over into 2022:
- Keep your self-care routine intact for the holidays! What tends to happen is we get busy, experience more stress, and self-care goes out the window when that’s the thing we need most. This could be meditating, deep breathing, or yoga for just 5-10 minutes a day, keeping a self-reflective journal every morning before diving into activities, doing small Cognitive Behavioral Therapy exercises, etc.
- Dump “all or nothing” thinking – You CAN enjoy holiday food AND feel good doing it without binging, feeling poorly, and telling yourself you’ll binge now and restrict/diet in the New Year with yet another New Years’ Resolution – just say “no”. It’s that type of cyclical thinking that leads to yo-yo diets and throws your entire metabolism out of whack. You will have far more success with a healthy mindful 80/20 approach (more on that later).
- Get Cozy – the feeling of warmth and comfort can be felt, experienced, and enjoyed over the Holidays without it being about food. I love to wear Cozy Earth PJs, sip herbal medicinal teas when it’s dark out and cozy up with a blanket and snuggle time with my daughter. **FYI you can get 45% off Cozy Earth with my code ‘NAOWELLNESS45’
- Write what “The Holidays” mean to you – this season can bring about many feelings including isolation, loneliness, sadness, and/or increased feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. Is it any wonder we want comfort and relief?? Start to gently question those beliefs around the Holidays. Are the Holidays meant to be spent stressing over buying things and eating until you feel miserably full? Our culture has made the Holidays about consumption, rather than connection. The Holidays are, in my opinion, a time to reflect on the year and what you are grateful for, rejuvenate BEFORE the New Year, and reconnect with ourselves, others, and what matters most. Celebrate your wins and set new intentions that excite you. Begin to co-create and manifest your ideal vision of what the Holidays mean to you.
- Keep Accountability Strong – this has been huge for my personal and professional life, especially with ED. Yet it’s another self-care element that gets completely thrown out the window every November/December. I need coaching and mentorship, especially at this time of year. This is not the time to skip therapy, AA or other communal meetings, ignore your sponsor, or isolate yourself even further. We NEED each other. That’s the way life was meant to be experienced- in communion with those around us. Choose to stay connected to your personal accountability systems for mental, physical, and spiritual health rather than tossing it aside until January 1.
- Let yourself feel your feelings – Trust me on this one. If you suppress your emotions, life gets 10 times harder and the hamster wheel of the mind keeps going until your inner child feels “listened to”. This only amps up stress, anxiety, and depression. I love practices like Emotional Freedom Tapping for emotional release. I start with naming my emotion and how it feels on a scale of 0-10, 10 being the highest. I then begin Tapping on specific acupressure points and low and behold, within a matter of minutes the emotions are coming out and I’m experiencing relief like a balloon releasing air. Try it out and learn how to do it by checking out youtube tutorials, reading about it, and/or working with an EFT coach! I love Marian Buck Murray.
There are so many more tools out there for mental health. What are some of your favorites that help you experience the Holidays in a way that brings you joy, rest, and peace?