Bah! Humbug! Feel like Scrooge during the holidays? Holiday depression an issue?
Personal traditions could be meaningful.
While I am not a big celebrant of the commercial version of the holidays, I do still get a bit excited about Christmas, and the decorations, and I do like to have a cup of hot chocolate and a steak and a good book on Christmas.
That particular tradition comes from being single for most of my life, and not having family close by to visit.
So I spent the day treating myself in simple ways that have always been important to me. A maple flavored donut, the newspaper, good coffee, perhaps church for communion, time to rock in the rocking chair with a good book, a steak, and a good nights sleep.
Excellent antidotes to the holiday depression.
Another of my personal traditions is an appreciation for the Winter Solstice and native traditions about how to observe the rituals designed to make sure the Solstice happened.
There are Celtic traditions that I am familiar with, and Native American traditions like those of the Kickapoo tribe that are rumored to have been part of the Logan family perhaps 100 years ago.
In the Kickapoo tradition, everyone in the village has a job to do to make sure the Winter Solstice happens as it should and the days start to get longer and Spring returns. If mistakes are made, then human kind will descend into darkness and life as we know it will end.
That brings a little different kind of energy to what we call the holiday season.
Should you not buy into the Kickapoo tradition, then it is important that you continue to take care of your health, fitness, and thinking.
I think a good model to follow is that of Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. who are the authors of
Brainfit for Life. Evans and Burghardt say that our brain's fitness (yes, you can work it out)can increase, in other words we can grow new brain cells, called neurogenesis, and increase the number of connections between brain cells, called neuroplasticity, if we take care of the pillars of brain fitness.
The pillars of brain fitness, and the antithesis of holiday depression, are physical exercise, nutrition, including a very important depression fighter called omega 3 fatty acid, sleep, stress management, and novel learning experiences which might include computerized brain fitness programs like the Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro or the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program or Lumosity.
The first two pillars, exercise and nutrition, are very important to the depression management process year around, and probably the easiest to ignore during our holidays.
Ignore at the risk of your brain, though.
The good thing is that we can get the appropriate amount of exercise by doing a HIIT interval workout perhaps 10 minutes per day, and I know you can find time for that.
See how Scott and Angie Tousignant fit a workout into their daily routine.
Believe me when I say that this kind of workout will leave you fatigued.
Evans and Burghardt talk at length about the importance of omega 3 fatty acid for your health, and for your holiday mood.
The best source of omega 3 fatty acid, which gets its own awareness day next March, is fish, which may conjure up the risk of mercury poisoning, so you may want to look at a supplement for your daily ration of omega 3. The membranes of your neurons are composed mainly of omega 3, and since we cannot make any of our own, we must get it from our diets.
Without replacement omega 3 the membranes of our neurons gets brittle, and then the conversation between neurons or neuroplasticity is garbled, making for poor decisions.
The best stress management and sleep aid and emotional eating tool that I have ever had the pleasure of using is the Heartmath heart rate variability tool.
Heartmath is an easily learned biofeedback process that allows me to access my heart's cooperative and affiliative intelligence to feel good.
So lets see, we can impact holiday depression with physical exercise, in even a ten minute workout, we can impact holiday depression with omega 3 fatty acid, and we can impact our feelings and physiology by learning Heartmath, and a side effect is neurogenesis and neuroplasticity for the brain.
Want to check it out?
And now you might be curious about how novel learning experiences can impact holiday depression?
Remember, they are part of the brain fitness package, and the growth of new neurons is a worthy goal to shoot for.
Recent research, like the PNAS and IMPACT studies indicate that there can be increased IQ and memory improvement from using the Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro or the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program.
In the name of holiday good cheer, please try them out.
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