Brain Healthy De-stresscember: 4 Ways to De-stress During December
December, a cherished month for many, resonates with joy, togetherness, and the unmistakable warmth of the holiday season. Whether it's the gatherings with loved ones, the exchange of heartfelt gifts, or the simple delight in the festive atmosphere, there's an undeniable magic that envelops us. However, amidst the joyous chaos, the rush to check off to-do lists, and the temptation of indulgent treats, the toll on your stress levels can be palpable. In fact, a staggering 8 out of 10 Americans report heightened stress levels during this time, with women, often the primary planners, carrying the majority share of the holiday stress load.1
Chronic stress during the holidays not only affects our immediate well-being but has also been linked to an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.2 As you navigate the hustle and bustle, your well-intentioned brain goals often face unintended challenges. This De-stresscember, we invite you to embark on a journey of self-care. Join us as we unwrap the top tips and tricks to navigate the holiday season with grace, ensuring a December filled not just with festivity, but also with peace of mind you’re taking care of your lifelong brain health.
4 Ways to De-stress During December
1. Breathe In, Stress Out
One simple yet effective practice you can begin to implement at any point in your De-stresscember is breathing exercises. More specifically, slow-breathing exercises, which studies have revealed their remarkable ability to significantly lower stress levels in individuals.3 Slow breathing exercises, focus on purposefully taking slowed breaths, with a focus on deep inhalations and exhalations. This breathing technique is marked by a reduced respiratory rate, typically ranging from 6 to 10 breaths per minute, in contrast to the usual rate of 12 to 18 breaths per minute during rest. A few methods to look into for testing out breathing exercises for yourself include guided yoga classes or an app like Headspace.
2. Proper Nourishment for the Body and Mind
Fueling both body and mind, your dietary choices wield profound effects on your overall well-being. Recent studies underscore the intricate link between food and mental health, revealing that overconsumption of saturated and unhealthy foods is correlated with higher levels of depression and anxiety. On the flip side, embracing the vibrant array of foods found in the Mediterranean diet has been connected to promoting improved mental health and reduced stress levels.4 A colorful plate, rich in diverse nutrients, not only nurtures physical vitality but also contributes to stress reduction.
3. Restful Sleep for Nightly Renewal
As the holiday season sweeps us into a whirlwind of festive preparations and travel adventures, one precious commodity often slips through the cracks: sleep. However, research highlights the critical importance of quality sleep—defined as 7-9 hours—towards managing stress levels effectively. Constantly wrestling with insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently, or not feeling rested upon waking, is closely associated with heightened stress.5 Prioritizing your sleep becomes paramount during this season of celebration, as it serves as your brain's detox period, essential for clearing away accumulated toxins. Embrace a consistent sleep routine, aim for 7-9 hours, and gift yourself the rejuvenating rest your body and mind deserve, ensuring you wake up ready to savor the joy of the holidays.
4. Exercise the Stress Away
Apart from being good for your body, exercise can be good for your mental health and reduce stress you may experience. The act of participating in exercises releases many feel-good hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, lifting your mood while lowering stress. While it may sound daunting, you don’t need to start lifting heavy weights daily or running marathons, even moderate exercise like more walking throughout your day can have an impact on lowering your stress levels.6
Remember that prioritizing your health during the holiday season is not only an act of self-love but also a proactive step towards fostering overall well-being. As you prepare for the festivities ahead, commit to making the necessary adjustments in your routine, ensuring that your body and brains experience the joy of the season without bearing the burden of undue stress.
In the whirlwind of feasts and constant movement this holiday season, maintaining a balanced diet can be challenging. If dietary choices are proving difficult, consider our nutritional supplement, RELEVATE. With nutrients from the renowned Mediterranean and MIND diets, it's designed to nourish your lasting brain health, safeguarding both its functioning and structure.
Elevate your well-being this December with our December Special Offer, a thoughtfully curated bundle with two bottles of RELEVATE containing stress-managing, sleep-supporting, and brain-nourishing nutrition. Plus, enjoy a blackout sleep eye mask—sculpted for a perfect fit, blocking out light for a restful night of sleep. Enjoy the holidays without worrying about missing the nutrients or sleep your brain needs, for a limited time. Learn more by visiting here.
- Holiday Stress and Sleep in 2023: A Data Study | Sleepopolis. (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2023, from https://sleepopolis.com/education/holiday-sleep-survey/
- McManus, Elizabeth et al. “The effects of stress across the lifespan on the brain, cognition and mental health: A UK biobank study.” Neurobiology of stress vol. 18 100447. 14 Apr. 2022, doi:10.1016/j.ynstr.2022.100447
- Fincham, G.W., Strauss, C., Montero-Marin, J. et al. Effect of breathwork on stress and mental health: A meta-analysis of randomised-controlled trials. Sci Rep 13, 432 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-27247-y
- Selvaraj, Ramaneshwar et al. “Association Between Dietary Habits and Depression: A Systematic Review.” Cureus 14,12 e32359. 9 Dec. 2022, doi:10.7759/cureus.32359
- Scott, Alexander J et al. “Improving sleep quality leads to better mental health: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” Sleep medicine reviews vol. 60 (2021): 101556. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2021.101556
- Schultchen, Dana et al. “Bidirectional relationship of stress and affect with physical activity and healthy eating.” British journal of health psychology vol. 24,2 (2019): 315-333. doi:10.1111/bjhp.12355