The holiday season is full of joy and fun activities. More time spent with family and getting gifts can be so exciting. On the other hand, stress and anxiety might start to build up as holiday lists pile up and family time becomes overwhelming. This can build up and add tension in the family, which is exactly what we want to avoid! Here are some tips to decrease this anxiety with an explanation of neurofeedback training at the end.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is when you start to feel depressed during the fall and winter months. With temperatures getting colder and the skies getting grayer, it’s tempting to stay inside and watch TV all day. That, however, is going to make depression worse. Go outside and make a fire while roasting some marshmallows.
The cold temperatures might want to hold you back, but don’t let it stop you from playing in the snow and having a snowball fight with your family. Being outside for at least 15 minutes for two to three days and allowing the sun to reach your skin will give you more vitamin D. If it isn’t too cold out – Try to expose your arms, legs, and face to get the maximum amount of sun. If you know this isn’t going to be easy for you, look into taking vitamin D pills. Some doctors even believe that increasing the amount of vitamin D in your body is going to help with combating against COVID-19.(1) A lot of people use sun lamps to help treat seasonal affective disorder. Vitamin D helps to produce serotonin and melatonin. These are hormones that control mood and sleep.(2) They both play a big role in mental health.
It can be so tempting to eat sugar cookies, candy canes, and all the sweets that come with the holidays. However, don’t let this affect your mental health. There have been many studies that show how eating healthy can improve mental health. Too much caffeine, especially, can cause a rise in anxiety. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy a good apple pie when the family comes to town. Enjoy the food you eat without feeling guilty, but always in moderation. There are so many good holiday recipes that you can make that are full of nutrients.
Getting exercise is difficult with the colder temperatures, but there are a lot of ways you can get around this. If you can afford the extra money, try getting a gym membership and taking some fun classes. Yoga is an activity that everyone needs to try at least once in their life. Try to brave the cold and take a quick walk around the neighborhood. This is going to be so helpful in maintaining your mental health, even though it might seem frustrating to get started. Fun activities, like ice skating and sledding may not seem like they give you a lot of exercise, but you would be surprised at how a little bit of exercise makes you feel so much better. Make sure that you’re still staying hydrated!
The holidays might seem like a relaxing time to watch cheesy holiday movies and spend time with your family. However, all the holiday tasks that you might be doing will quickly pile up. Don’t let this craziness sneak up on you. Rest by spending time away from your phone and with your family. Looking at our phone might seem relaxing, but a lot of times it just makes us more anxious and stressed out. Set limits on your phone as to how much time you can spend on each social media site. Don’t look at your emails first thing in the morning. Try meditating or thinking of all you have to be thankful for right when you wake up. Some other relaxing activities you could do are reading a book or making crafts for Christmas presents rather than buying them all.
It can be easy to make excuses against talking to family that may be at higher risk. It could be fun to get the kids together and make a card to the extended family that you would usually see on Christmas. Your family can even send cards to people in the hospital. A lot of people are lonely in hospitals, because they can’t have many visitors. This is the perfect way to brighten their day. Making an effort to keep in touch with family is so important. Have a gingerbread house making contest over Zoom and vote on the winner over social media. Make a virtual bingo game or scavenger hunt over Zoom to play with the kids. This article has great resources on games and activities that your family could do over the holidays.
Thinking of how much money is spent on electricity, presents, and any other expenses during the holidays is extremely stressful. Be prepared this year by creating a game plan. Try creating a budget that will give you peace of mind on how much to spend for each family member. It’s not too late to decide to be debt free during the holidays. Make buying and wrapping presents a family activity that can be done with the kids. Your children will cherish the memories made during Christmas much more than they think they will cherish a game system or a new phone.
If you’re in college or even have a job that allows you to have a lot of time off for the holidays, you might find yourself getting bored over the break. Sitting around on your phone or watching TV is not going to be helpful for your mental health. Try setting goals, like reading a certain amount of books or cooking new foods. Find time to grab some coffee with people you might not see every day and catch up with them. Baking for your neighbors or helping out with a local charity are great ways to spend your time doing something greater than yourself. If you’ve always wanted to get certified in an area but didn’t have the time, set aside time over the break to take the next step in your career by adding a new certification to your Linkedin, or becoming a certified yoga instructor. In order to achieve all the tasks you’ve always wanted to, create a checklist of when you’re going to do each task.
These tips are all great starting points to relieve some holiday stress. Neurofeedback is the next best step to achieve better regulated brain waves in order to relieve anxiety and depression. This painless and easy to use method only requires a few steps. Through the use of operant conditioning, all you have to do is watch your favorite show connected to SYMMETRY’s innovative neurofeedback software and your brain waves will learn to self-regulate, thus alleviating anxious, depressed or other negative feelings. SYMMETRY @home training allows you to do training on your own schedule while still being supervised. The set-up process is quick and easy, so you can start immediately.