Finding the Right Mindset for the Holiday Season: looking at the value of mental health

We are in the full swing of the holidays.  With Thanksgiving behind us – hopefully you enjoyed some new recipes at your feast – we move on to a myriad of holidays over the next several weeks. It can be a joyous time, but for many it can be a stressful, overwhelming, and potentially lonely or depressing time of year.

While I’m not a psychologist, I do see the impact of certain conditions on my patients and am aware of the need for a certain formula for health and happiness: rest, exercise, and a healthy diet.  Take personal inventory of the following aspects of your mental health and see if you are plugging in each of the variables for optimal personal health:

  •      Rest – How much sleep are you getting on a consistent basis?  How quality is it? Are you waking up tired or are you well-rested?  If you feel that you aren’t getting a good night’s rest on a consistent basis, it’s time to understand why.  If you’ve been told you snore, or if you are aware of your snoring, it could very well be the source of your poor sleep quality.  There could be a number of other reasons as well – all of which are important to identify and address.
  •      Exercise – How active are you throughout the day and week?  If you aren’t, is there a reason that you don’t want to or are uncomfortable doing so?  Whatever those reasons are, whether it is physical or emotional, try to pinpoint the reason why and start with small efforts to build an exercise regimen for yourself – doing so will do a world of good for your physical and mental health.  
  •      Diet – What you are eating could be contributing to the physical and mental discomfort you may be experiencing each day. Foods we eat can cause inflammation, worsening symptoms you may be experiencing.  Food plays such a powerful role in how patients feel that as a practice, we go over a “deflaming” diet with patients at each visit as part of the nutrition piece of treatment. Understanding how to reduce a chronic inflammatory state with diet and nutritional supplements such as cutting out sugars, trans fats, and flour and adding anti-inflammatory vegetables, can often be the key to increased health and happiness.

It’s often I find the lack of one or more of these can lead to overall dissatisfaction in how one feels.  I treat individuals who are suffering from the effects of TMJ, sleep apnea, and other conditions related to the mouth – I’ve seen the impact the lack of sleep or lack of comfort can have on one’s mental state.  I’ve personally been there.

Consider the state of your mental health as you would with any other part of your body.  By doing so you can help yourself alleviate existing discomfort and ultimately achieve greater overall health and satisfaction in life.