Stress can be a sneaky thing…In our ancestors’ days, stress was very straight-forward. You’re being chased by a tiger? No problem! The ‘fight-or-flight’ response provided us with a short burst of adrenaline to deal with the identified situation and you run to safety (hopefully). There was a beginning, middle and end to any specific stress in your life. But the stresses of today are constant, low-grade stressors - such as deadlines, money worries, and rush-hour traffic. They have no clear end. Our stress response may stay permanently locked in the ‘on-mode’; the cycle continues and we consequently begin to regard more and more things as stressful.
Enter the holidays, and all the ‘extras’ 2020 has brought us. Cold weather, financial stress, and feelings of being alone can all play a role in our state of mind, and mental health easily gets glossed over in all the festive decor, holiday music, and Christmas movies. Whether this time of year makes you feel alive or drives you toward an all-time low, the need to be proactive in our self-nurturing goes far beyond luxury; it is fundamental to good health. To tilt the odds in your favor, I highly recommend being intentional with your priorities and scheduling several daily practices:
Find community: schedule time to associate with people you find uplifting. Sure it may be over zoom, but positive relationships can fill your love tank and uplift your mindset.
Exercise: get a little fresh air, get the heart rate up a little, and get the endorphins flowing. Movement in our body freshens up stagnant energy and can increase our self-image (after the first few days of complete and total soreness).
Give yourself positive input: whether it’s a good book or an inspiring podcast, give your brain some fuel to see the possibilities in life. The mind is like a garden: when you’re intentional about what’s being planted, you can grow beautiful flowers, vegetables, and herbs. If you let just anything blow into your garden, it may just become overpowered by weeds.
Pray: being intentional with your thought life is a powerful practice. Give thanks, meditate on empowering thoughts, and put your desires out there.
There's also a physiological aspect to our mental health that can't be ignored, much as our physical health shouldn’t be ignored. The good news is there are several nutritional approaches to address the mind and body at the same time. Enter my new besties in my self-care arsenal:
Boost your immune system with Holy Basil: Holy Basil, an adaptogenic plant from Traditional Ayurvedic Medicine, has been touted as a tonic for the mind, body, and spirit. It can boost the immune system, support the respiratory system, and simultaneously fight stress and uplift the mind. This herb is combined with Zinc, Selenium, Copper, and Orange Bioflavanoids to create a powerhouse immune protector in one of my new favorite Nutrilite products, Immunity Defense: Zinc + Holy Basil.
Add probiotics for a healthy gut: Gut health is of the utmost importance in a self-care regimen, whether to support your immunity or mental/emotional health. Did you know that gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body’s supply of serotonin, a major influencer of mood and feelings of happiness? In fact, that the gut has often been called the ‘second brain’. As such, being intentional with inputting positive fuel like probiotics and prebiotics is a must when it comes to supporting the body and mind. n* by Nutrilite’s Kombucha-Yeah, a delicious, Kombucha-style, on-the-go drink delivers 500M CFU of good bugs to keep you feeling great, with black tea and apple cider vinegar powder to help cleanse the mechanism. Mix two great fruity flavors with still or sparkling water for a happy gut and a happy you.
Take your vitamins! Last, but definitely not least, L-theanine, an amino acid that packs a punch, is a mental health powerhouse. Research indicates that L-theanine can promote relaxation without drowsiness - think ‘wakeful relaxation’. It enhances alpha brain waves - these are the brain waves associated with REM sleep, meditation, & creativity. It boosts levels of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA (neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate emotions, mood, concentration, alertness, sleep, appetite, & energy). L-theanine simultaneously reduces chemicals linked to stress and anxiety, protecting your brain cells from stress and age-related damage. n* by Nutrilite’s Less Stress Gummies delivers this incredible ingredient with soothing lemon balm so you can keep your calm.