The festive season rhymes with mirth and celebration. The celebrations bring together friends, family; and even strangers to dine together and make merry. It is imperative for many that their year climaxes with the reminiscing of the noteworthy moments and the making of peace with the low moments, and bundling up of all these as a trampoline for the next year’s resolutions. The Christmas carols, Santa Claus, the gifts, the Christmas tree, the decorations and all the untold traditions that are synonymous with the season.
Research has proved that all these and more of the untold holiday traditions held by different communities worldwide are good for mental health. However the mirth and celebrations ought not to be circumstantial and locked to the confines of the holiday season, there is a way to keep the mirth going and not lose it with the end of the season, so that you can end the year with aplomb and start the next on the same wavelength.
According the world health organization (WHO), mental health includes “subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential among others.”
The mental health problems that may affect someone arise due to different circumstances that may include: Depression, loneliness, stress, disease, mood disorders, and financial difficulties among others that may last the whole expanse of the year all through to the holiday season.
The ways to alleviate these draw backs in this season may sound cliché but have been known to be effective, so it would be good to pick up on some of these habits in this season; and these may include.
- Meditation and mindfulness. Sometimes known as cognitive therapy has been proven to improve mental health. There is a saying that happiness is in the here and now, not in the future or in the past and it is on this basis that mindfulness is important in improving mental health. In that it protects one from traumatic memories of the past and also reduces on stress caused by the expectations of the future hence alleviating depression and anxiety.
- Physical exercise. In addition to the numerous physiological benefits of exercise concerned with improving of heart and vascular health. Its importance in mental health is insurmountable as cycling, walking or any other indulgences in physical activity spark a release of hormones which sometimes include endorphins that play crucial roles in improving a person’s mood.
- The improving of relationships by making time for friends and family. This may be one of the purposes of the holiday season but many people may come up short of it. The coming together and sharing light moments with others has been known to play a role in the release of endorphins and improving of mental health. Support groups have also been known to be helpful for suicidal individuals through the sharing of experiences in these sessions.
- Feeding the body right. The right food will do great for the mind if a chunk of it is maintained in the diet in this holiday season or at any other time of the year. Particularly foods stuffed with omega-3’s and healthy fats like the salmon and nuts.
As one goes through this season, it should be one of the objectives to pick up on the habits that will work to improve ones’ mental health throughout the season and into the next year, even on top of the traditions and celebrations. Happy holidays.