Here's a little pep talk today about feeling fit, strong, and healthy throughout December and the holidays!
There are SO MANY reasons to carve out some time for self-care this time of year. I am going to share JUST ONE of them …
But … everything I’m going to mention will ALSO help your immune system, your quality of sleep, not to mention any fitness or wellness goals you might be working on! Because it’s all connected.
Let’s start out by talking about how WHAT YOU EAT actually affects your mood!
First: there are foods that can make your mood WORSE, and if you eat too much of them, they can leave you feeling tired, cranky, bloated, and blah!
And you might have already guessed it, but I’m talking about processed foods and foods with added sugars, like candy, pies, or baked treats.
These foods generally have very little nutrition for the amount of calories they contain, and they can affect your body’s systems, including your digestion AND your blood sugar levels.
Both of those can wreak havoc on your moods. Have you ever felt that happen to you? Let me know in the comments if you have!
This isn’t to say you should stay away from your favorite holiday treats, but it’s probably a good idea to enjoy them in small amounts that KEEP them enjoyable, and don’t send your body into overdrive trying to digest them or handle the sugar influx!
Second … let’s talk about the foods that actually HELP with moods: specifically, healthy fats and vitamin B12. Studies show these can make a difference in many people.
Low levels of each may be linked to depression.
You can get both healthy fats and vitamin B12 from fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, along with grass-fed beef and fortified eggs.
On the plant side of things, you can get healthy fats from flaxseed, nuts, and avocados. It’s very hard to get B12 from a plant source since it’s primarily found in animal proteins.
Basically, eat a healthy, whole foods diet with enough healthy fats and B12!
Exercise is another major mood-booster! Health guidelines recommend getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. That boils down to 5 x 30-minute sessions of activities like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or quick SimplyFit Club app workouts.
Have you ever felt a quick mood boost after working out?
Exercise works on a lot of levels: hormonally, physically, and psychologically.
Chemically, exercise triggers the release of hormones that make you feel better by boosting your mood and curbing stress.
Physically, working out gets you out of your head and helps you reconnect with your body, which can boost your mood. It also can help loosen tight muscles and burn off stress.
And psychologically, among many other things, you get a great feeling of accomplishment, which is a mood-booster, and also a shot of self-esteem!
There’s one final thing that suffers a lot during the holidays ... Do you have an idea what it is?
It’s an underrated component when it comes to your mood, and basically everything else wellness-related.
And during the lead-up to the holidays sometimes we don’t get enough sleep. This can be for many reasons, from having too much scheduled, staying up later because of parties, changes in our diet, drinking alcohol, you name it!
---> That matters because your body does a lot of recovery work while you’re asleep, especially your brain.
When you don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to added stress and make you feel grouchy.
And … if you didn’t sleep well, it’ll likely be tempting to skip your working out. PLUS … if you don’t get enough sleep, your hunger hormones can jump in uninvited and cause food cravings!
Pretty crazy, right?
So if at all possible over the holidays, make sure you schedule enough time for sleep, and to be aware of certain behaviors that can affect your sleep... like drinking too much alcohol, too much screen time close to bed, or even eating close to bedtime.
I hope this little chat gave you some motivation to stay the course with your self-care over the holidays!
If you need more tips and motivation to reach your goals, I’m here to help! Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation with me.