Breaking News
More () »

The holiday season can be trying for your emotional health

The holidays can be a wonderful time of the year and can also bring stress.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's Thanksgiving week, which means that it's turkey time. Lots of eating, socializing, and football-watching for sports fans. When it comes to Thanksgiving, we think so much about meal preparation: what foods to make and who loves what dishes. But, when it comes to our emotional health for the holiday season, we don't give it much thought. Here are a few reasons you should and a few suggestions on making your emotional health a priority.

The holidays can be a wonderful time of the year and can also bring stress. Spending time with family and friends and breaks from school and work can be great. But, the stress of holiday planning, preparing the house with decorations and for guests, gift buying, traveling, and paying for everything can wretch up our blood pressure. If you ignore your stress and fast-paced life, you can wreak havoc on your emotional health. You can increase the chances of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression if unchecked.

An effective way to balance your emotional health is to exercise. Exercise releases serotonin, a hormone that makes us feel happier and relaxed. From walking to biking to hiking to swimming to dancing, help your body release the feel-good hormones. You're less likely to react negatively to stress when you're happier. And physically, your blood pressure lowers, your heart rate decreases, and your cortisol level (stress hormone) decreases.

If you're not a bring exercise guru or don't have time to exercise, there are other ways to attend to your emotional health. You can journal using pen and paper, the notes section on your phone, or an app. When your journal, write about gratitude. What are you grateful for? It's hard to be negative and thankful at the same time. When I talk about journaling, I'm talking about a few minutes. I'm not suggesting that you write a book or millions of pages. Also, go outside and feel the sun on your skin. The bright light releases serotonin. If you say you're at work during the daylight hours and can't go outside. I got a solution for you. You can buy a light box that's used for seasonal affective disorder. Preliminary research shows that a light box is also beneficial for people who don't have a seasonal affective disorder. In a google search, I found options for as low as $20. Talk to your doctor first about using a lightbox. A third idea to help balance your emotional health is to stay social and talk to friends. This helps stave off loneliness; sometimes, a lonely mind tends to think about negativity.

Share your thoughts on my Facebook page: Blanca Cobb – Body Language Expert. Write a message on my timeline, and I'll get back to you. While you're on my page, I'd appreciate it if you give my page a "like."

Before You Leave, Check This Out