The holidays are almost here, and while it can certainly be a magical time of year, the season also brings serious stress for many people. In normal years, the added demands of shopping, cooking, preparations, travel, and other stressors were enough to increase anxiety and seasonal depression this time of year. Add in the extra stress of a post-pandemic world, and it’s no wonder that prescriptions for anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications are climbing. The good news is there is a lot we can do to reduce stress and boost mood this time of year.
With these nourishing, stress-relieving tips and practices, not only do we get to enjoy ourselves more, we also improve immunity against seasonal illnesses.
Eat Bright Foods for a Bright Mood
The holidays can be a test for your diet and cravings, with lots of sugary desserts and sweet treats, plus filling savory dishes that can derail your health goals. It’s common to overdo it on holiday foods, drink too much alcohol, not enough water, and lose sleep. This can fuel inflammation and make us exhausted, irritable, and anxious.
Throughout the holiday season, take some “you time” to plan healthy, nutrient-dense meals to fill you up and keep your will power strong, since low blood sugar makes us more vulnerable to the temptation of unhealthy foods. Eat fruits and vegetables, especially the brightly colored ones which have high concentrations of important nutrients and antioxidants. Eating fruits and vegetables every day has been shown to significantly improve mood.1
Establish a Sleep Routine
Restful sleep is critical for mental and physical health. Lack of sleep can fuel inflammation and reduce cognitive function, increase stress and anxiety, and raise your risks of chronic health conditions.2 Promote healthy and deep rejuvenating sleep by avoiding bright lights and electronics before bed, creating a relaxing nighttime ritual such as meditation or deep breathing, and sleeping in a cool, dark room.
Get Some Winter Exercise
Regular exercise is an important factor in boosting mood. Besides helping us maintain or reach a healthy body weight, , exercise also reduces stress. If the cold weather is keeping you from your regular outdoor running routine, try indoor exercises like yoga and Tai Chi, both of which are shown to reduce stress, boost immunity and offer other benefits. It’s also important to remember that risks of heart attacks rise during the winter, so keeping up with your regular exercise routine is key.3
Practice Mind-Body Meditation
Many studies show that meditation practice can benefit mood. Regular meditation helps break the cycles of negative thought patterns that are so easy to fall into. Simply taking 10 to 20 minutes to sit quietly and focus your attention on slow, deep breathing significantly reduces stress and improves cognition.
Enhance Your Wellness Routine with Natural Stress Relief Supplements
Incorporating a healthy daily lifestyle with diet, exercise, and self-care can support stress and anxiety, but sometimes, we need added support. That’s where natural ingredients, herbs and supplements can help enhance your stress relief and make an impact on how you feel.
With little sunlight in the winter, our natural vitamin D reserves get depleted, so supporting with supplements that include vitaminD3 can help enhance your body’s vitamin D3 production and help with your mood.. There is quite a bit of evidence that vitamin D deficiency plays a role in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is just another term for the wintertime blues.4
B vitamins can also help control stress and depression. One clinical study showed that supplementation with B complex over three months helped people improve mood and reduce stress.
There are a wide variety of herbs and botanicals that also help combat stress and boost mood. Two calming and relaxing herbs to add to your wellness routine are passionflower and lemon balm. Passionflower influences GABA, a neurotransmitter which promotes relaxation. Lemon balm is a powerful herb that can calm anxiety, support relaxation, and act as a sleep aid.
ecoSleep natural sleep support supplement includes a blend of lemon balm, passionflower, melatonin, and other calming extracts and herbs to promote natural relaxation and healthy sleep patterns for a deep night sleep. With just the right amount of melatonin, ecoSleep encourages healthy circadian rhythms, without dependency or feeling next-day drowsiness.*
Another important supplement for relaxation and mood support is honokiol. Purified from Magnolia bark, honokiol has the unique ability to support GABA activity in the brain, providing calming mood and sleep support. Our HonoPure pure honokiol supplement naturally supports a sense of calm, balances stress responses, and promotes relaxation; just take 1-2 capsules a day with food for powerful stress-relieving benefits.
Reduce Stress & Celebrate the Holidays
By creating an anti-stress regimen before the holidays are here, you can be better prepared to handle any mayhem and enjoy the magic that this season can bring. Beyond that, these healthy habits can help us jumpstart the New Year with a stronger foundation for overall wellness and energy. And that’s something to celebrate!
- McMartin SE, Jacka FN, Colman I. The association between fruit and vegetable consumption and mental health disorders: evidence from five waves of a national survey of Canadians. Prev Med. 2013 Mar;56(3-4):225-30.
- Benedetti F, Colombo C: Sleep Deprivation in Mood Disorders. Neuropsychobiology 2011;64:141-151.
- Modesti, P.A., Rapi, S., Rogolino, A. et al. Seasonal blood pressure variation: implications for cardiovascular risk stratification. Hypertens Res.2018; 41, 475–482.
- Premkumar M, Sable T, Dhanwal D, Dewan R. Vitamin D homeostasis, bone mineral metabolism, and seasonal affective disorder during 1 year of Antarctic residence. Arch Osteoporos. 2013;8(1-2):129.
- Woodbury A, Yu SP, Wei L, García P. Neuro-Modulating Effects of Honokiol: A Review. Front Neurol. 2013 Sep 11;4:130.