Inside Columbia


Set Yourself up for Wellness Success this Holiday Season

By Inside Columbia
kimber092523 267862 min

Photo by L.G. Patterson

When I think about the holiday season approaching, I like to think of it as a time to set myself up for wellness success. I’m sure most of you have the holiday routines down for decorating, traveling, gift giving and annual holiday events, and if not, there are plenty of tips you can easily find.

Taking a smarter, stronger and healthier approach now can help improve the quality of life in your golden years. But have you ever thought about how much time and energy you put into your wellness routine during this season? It’s so important for each of us to fill up our own cup, so we have the resources to pour into others. Here are some of my wellness routine tips for the holidays.

Starting your day with a morning routine is key to setting up the rest of the day for more wellness wins. I like to wake up, grab my cup of Happiness Drinks detoxifier, set myself up by sitting up in my bed against the headboard to meditate for five to 10 minutes and then I journal and/or do my gratitude journal for about five minutes.

You can do your own meditation practice or there are many guided meditations on YouTube or through a myriad of apps available. Meditation is renowned for its ability to lower stress levels by promoting relaxation and reducing the production of stress hormones like cortisol. Happiness Drinks detoxifier is great for helping to eliminate toxins in the body such as heavy metals, pesticides, impurities and liver detox, which we all can use to help with during the holidays.

Grounding in cold weather is something I try to practice a few times a week and it can help alleviate symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder by promoting the release of endorphins and boosting mood. Grounding is simply a way of connecting to the Earth and being fully present, often achieved by being barefoot in nature or just touching nature. It has been shown to reduce stress levels by regulating the body’s stress response and lowering cortisol levels.

Physical activity is important for overall mental health and stress reduction, as well as peak physical health. Yoga, weightlifting, running, CrossFit or any exercise you enjoy will help reduce cortisol and increase oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, anandamide and more! The holiday season is one of the best times to grab a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while to go for a walk or find holiday sales on workout classes to attend together. Interacting with loved ones and forming social bonds during exercise can trigger the release of oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone” or “bonding hormone.” Social interaction during exercise can also boost your mood by stimulating the release of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, all of which promote feelings of happiness, reduce stress and enhance overall well-being.

Eating nutrient-dense foods also plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Research suggests that there is a significant connection between gut health and mental well-being, with poor gut bacteria linked to conditions like depression and anxiety.

However, it’s important to find a balance. Avoiding guilt or negative emotions when indulging occasionally is key to a sustainable and balanced approach to nutrition. Moderation, along with a predominantly healthy diet, can help maintain both physical and mental health. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated to allow the body to detox, reduce fatigue, aid in digestion and boost mood. Try to limit sugary beverages and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.

A circadian rhythm is your body’s natural, internal clock that regulates various biological processes, such as reducing cortisol, over a 24-hour period. Aligning with your circadian rhythm can promote restful sleep and improved digestion. When traveling, it’s essential to be mindful of your natural circadian rhythm and make gradual adjustments to accommodate new time zones, minimizing disruptions to your body’s usual schedule. Consider incorporating practices like Yin yoga, a more slow- paced yoga style, or stretching into your bedtime routine for added relaxation and sleep quality. Practicing gratitude and engaging in breath work techniques can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, leading to stress reduction and decreased inflammation. I personally enjoy doing this before bedtime so I am out of any fight or flight feelings, and my thoughts from the day can settle.

If you have the resources for additional wellness habits, therapy self- care and supplements are great tools! Schedule therapy for before and/or after holiday events that may be triggering. From work parties to family holidays or Friendsgivings. If you are working on being more proactive, set yourself up for success with a therapist you trust. Incorporate self-care into your routine, whether it’s through indulgent treats like spa treatments or DIY experiences like home pedicures, relaxing baths with essential oils and Epsom salt, or rejuvenating skin care masks.

Try to stay intentional when creating new healthy holiday habits, and always surround yourself with self-compassion and unconditional love when things don’t go as planned. Find time to let it go when things happen that are out of your control and try to do your new routines again the next day. Your body, mind and soul will be glad you did.

Kimber Dean is the founder of Happiness Drinks, and the author of Happy Food and Happy Baking and Desserts. She is trained in both culinary arts and personal nutrition.

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