The holidays and winter are upon us! (That was fast, right?)
This time of year affects everyone differently, but that end-of-the-year stress and anxiety is felt almost universally. Family gatherings, crowded stores, cold weather, traveling, work, and so much more can really weigh you down.
Before you reach for that glass of wine to ease your mind and mood, check out these seven easy tips to rewire your brain naturally.
Bonus points if you feel happier and healthier after trying out these natural mood-boosting life hacks!
- Regular Exercise
Studies show that getting up and moving helps not only with our physical well-being, but when we exercise, our bodies pump out endorphins and serotonin, which are happy hormones that act as an all-natural antidepressant. Simply put, exercise makes you feel good! Even better, sticking to a schedule and exercising regularly helps reduce anxiety, stress, and symptoms of depression.
- Healthy Diet
Your gut and your brain are a unit, so what happens to one will surely affect the other. Take care of this ultimate power dynamic by eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Chocolate, for example, specifically dark chocolate and cacao, triggers your brain to release serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Folate-rich foods like leafy greens, avocado, eggs, and asparagus, aid the brain in sustaining mood, memory, behavior, and overall brain and body function.
The outside world has a lot going on at any given moment, and that drama can affect you more than you might think. Take a step away from it all every once in a while. Put your phone on do not disturb so you aren't bothered by pesky pings. Set up screen time limits, so you don't doom scroll into the wee hours of the morning. You could even be so bold as to leave the phone and smartwatch at home for a day! You might find yourself feeling a lot less burdened, and it's okay; it will be there when you get back.
- Friends & Family
Whether chosen or blood-related, a true and loving support system can help you out of almost any rut. Spending quality time with your support network, no matter its size is crucial to psychological health. Go for a hike with your friend, help your mom in the garden, bake with your sibling, binge a series with your roomie, whatever it is you do, as long as it's time spent in good company, you'll start to feel your stress, anxiety, and problems fall away and be replaced with confidence, laughter, and lasting memories.
- Vitamins & Supplements
Humans have been using the power of plants to aid health and healing for centuries naturally. Nowadays especially, it can be a bit difficult to get all the necessary nutrients to support total wellness in the food that we eat. That's where taking vitamins and supplements come in. Suffering from low mood and fatigue? Try Omega-3 Fatty Acid, which also helps with eye health, inflammation, and heart disease. Missing the sunshine or spending too much time indoors? Getting your daily dose of Vitamin D to supplement the sun's rays can benefit your health and boost your mood year-round.
- Essential Oils
It has long been studied and believed that essential oils, an aromatic essence that is extracted and distilled from plants, can have subtle effects on the body’s chemistry both externally and internally. Though many essential oils are not safe for ingestion, they are often inhaled and used topically as a natural remedy to help relieve anxiety and stress. Some common essential oils used to relieve stress are lavender, chamomile, ylang-ylang, and rose to name just a few.
- Give Back
Nothing feels better than helping someone out, and it's one of the best ways to shift your focus from negative to positive. Whether it's making meals for the unhoused or helping your elderly neighbor with housework, helping someone out helps minimize our stress and feels oh-so rewarding.
Overall, your regular habits determine how you feel. Do you regularly do things to make yourself feel good inside and out? If not, there is still time to start somewhere. Commit to your well-being, and you'll notice a change for the better.