Written by: Amy Mejias
Editor’s note: The following article is written in partnership with Counseling Services and the Southern Accent.
The holiday season can be fun, exciting and joyous, but, at the same time, it can be chaotic, draining and stressful. This stress can not only be bad for your mental and emotional health but can also take a toll on your physical health and negatively affect your immune system. Below are some tips to stay healthy over the holidays so that you can enjoy them more and start the winter semester off right.
Get Some Rest
Rest and relaxation make you feel more energized when you wake up but also have other benefits. A benefit to your mental state, sufficient sleep helps lower anxiety, boosts your mood and helps you think more clearly. A full night’s sleep can help your immune system as well. According to Mayo Clinic, sleep deprivation causes a decrease in cytokines, weakening your body’s defenses.
What we put into our bodies has a huge impact on our mental and physical health. It is very well known that a long-term healthy diet can help a person maintain a healthy weight and protect them against certain diseases. But, eating well can also help your short-term health by boosting the immune system, especially when your diet includes foods such as blueberries, spinach, ginger and garlic. Eating healthy can greatly benefit the mind as well. According to Mental Health America’s website, people that have a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts are 30% less likely to experience depression. And don’t forget to drink your water! Staying hydrated can help with fatigue, concentration and mood.
You don’t need intense workouts to stay healthy. Daily walks have great benefits for your health. On top of losing and maintaining weight, daily walks can also help with strengthening your immune system, relieving stress and improving your mood, cognition, memory and sleep!
Take Time For Yourself
The holidays are usually non-stop busy and often involve a lot of gatherings, parties and socializing. It can become very draining and affect your mental health. If you start to feel yourself getting too burnt out, say no, and don’t feel guilty about it. Your peace and mental health are more important. You can also look at everything coming up and prioritize what to go to and what to pass on. Having Christmas dinner with your family, if they aren’t a source of stress, may be a better use of your energy than attending a work party, for example.
I hope and pray, no matter what your plans for the holidays are, that you have fun but also rest so you can begin next semester with a positive and successful start!