The Hidden Benefits of Christmas for Your Brain Health
Not only is Christmas an important social, cultural and religious festival for people of all faiths (and none) but it is good for your brain and your mental health.
This happens to such an extent that some have argued that ‘Christmas Cheer’ could be an emotion in its own right.
More good news….
It’s a dopamine and oxytocin binge.
Some foods your brain will be thankful for:
Snack on smoked salmon (or walnuts)
Tuck into the Turkey
A Dash of Cranberry Sauce
Pile on the Parsnips
Make friends with some Brussel Sprouts
Cook up some roasted chestnuts
Nibble on some roasted nuts
Keep peeling your clementines
Pour plenty of hot chocolate
What if you are dreading it?
Reframing – How can you be your own best friend this Christmas?
- Give yourself permission to do things your way
- Keep your inner voice kind and forgiving
- Remember that you are loved. YOU are wanted
- Give yourself permission to be you
- Think of it as a time of year to recharge and rest if you want to
Boundaries – what is your agenda this Christmas?
- Balance your needs with those of others
- Question what needs to happen - what would happen if it didn’t?
- If you need time out for quiet and calm give yourself permission to find some space for you
Actions – what self-care and day to day activities can you keep doing?
- Get as much time outside as you can
- Make time for yourself - meditate, read, listen, have a bath
- FaceTime someone that makes you feel loved
- 5 minutes to yourself can be just what you need
- If you struggle with sleep, stick as close as possible to your usual routine
- Try to keep up with your self-care routine – exercise, sleep, socialise, walk outdoors
- Create your own expectations, experiences and happiness.
- If Christmas with your family can be tough then plan something to look forward to with your ‘chosen family’ for afterwards
- Uncertainty may increase our stress or anxiety, so, take the time to think of a plan
Remember Christmas is more than one day.
If science can give you anything this year, let it give you the gift of Christmas Cheer.