While the holidays can be one of the most joyful times of year, they can also take a toll on your physical and mental health due to busy schedules, holiday travel and other factors. Your mental health and your brain can actually be affected by the holidays more than you think. During the holidays, the brain is accountable for remembering more than normal such as extra social engagements, gifting, family dynamics, financial pressures all while maintaining daily routines like work and exercise. To navigate all of these situations, the brain is constantly switching functions from memory, emotion management, organization and planning and more. On the flip side, the act of giving gifts, receiving gifts and spending time with friends and family can trigger positive reactions in the brain.

At Kuether Brain and Spine, we want you to enjoy a stress free holiday season. The best way to do this is keeping the following five tips in mind.

  • Meditate: Whether it is in bed for the first five minutes of your day or the last five minutes of your day, meditation can help keep your mind clear and less stressed during the holiday season. Clear your mind and recenter your intentions to improve your mind set, mood and emotions. Guided meditations are available online, through phone apps or often featured elements of yoga. Taking five minutes for your mental health can do wonders for the next 24 hours.
  • Exercise: Similar to meditation, exercise is a powerful tool for clearing your mind as well as treating your body properly. No matter how busy the holiday season, a workout class can be squeezed in for 30-60 minutes. Or find ways to add other movements into your day: go for a walk, dance to Christmas music, shovel snow. Any sort of exercise can greatly improve mental health and mood.
  • Practice Me Time: Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself every day even if you’re visiting friends or family. If you need 15 minutes to journal in the morning, account for it and make space for it. By giving yourself time to reflect and recharge, you’ll be able to enjoy and savor the time you spend with others.
  • Sleep: While it can be really tempting to stay up way too late watching the Hallmark Channel, it is likely you’ll wake up in a way better mood after a long night’s sleep with a healthy bedtime routine. Sleep is where the brain restores itself. A lack of a quality sleep also can decrease brain productivity in the following days. Set yourself up for success by tucking in and getting a full eight hours.
  • Stay Hydrated: There’s always plenty of beverage options throughout the holidays, but don’t forget to stay hydrated. Holiday travel, parties, shopping, road trips and more can make it difficult, but staying hydrated while keep your brain in top shape and help keep you healthier for longer.

Happy holidays from the Kuether Brain and Spine staff!!