The holidays are upon us!
And while they should be the “most wonderful time of the year”--a festive time to share with family and friends--sadly, for many people they are instead filled with sickness or depression (or both).
But there are some very good reasons why that happens.
First, the holidays bring about stress for a lot of people. Stress can cause a domino effect of physical and mental issues which can quickly turn a joyous season into a dreaded time…and you just waiting for the holidays to be over with.
Plus one can bring on the other—physical illness can lead to mental issues and vice-versa.
Here’s what’s going on behind the scenes with your physical and mental health and more importantly, how you can help turn things around and feel a whole lot better for the holidays and all year round!
Physical-Mental Connection #1: The brain-gut axis
There is a series of chemical and electrical signals that continuously pass back and forth between the central nervous system (your brain) and the gastrointestinal system (your gut). What affects one affects the other.
The brain-gut axis is the reason why you feel butterflies in your stomach when you're nervous or rocket to the bathroom with diarrhea when you’re upset.
It's also the reason conditions like anxiety and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), or Crohn’s disease and depression frequently go hand in hand.
Physical-Mental Connection #2: Nutrients for your body and mind
Getting enough nutrients is not only vital for your physical health, but your mental health as well.
Six nutrients that are especially crucial for mental health are: Zinc, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin B12.
Physical-Mental Connection #3: The gut microbiome impact
Stress can cause the protective mucosal barrier in your inner gut wall to become less effective at defending your body against harmful bacteria and viruses.
That's why you may notice that you get sick easier when you're under stress--your body literally cannot fight illness off as well.
And when you’re not feeling well physically, that can in turn make you anxious or depressed!
Physical-Mental Connection #4: The importance of sleep
Adequate sleep is vital for physical and mental health, but current estimates show that at least half of us have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.
Lacking sleep takes its toll in countless ways—and it doesn’t take long to see it happening.
Here is how just one poor night’s sleep can affect your body and mind:
- Your mood becomes depressed
- Your ability to concentrate drops
- Levels of essential body and mind nutrients like zinc and magnesium fall
- Vitamin C gets used up at an alarming rate
- Your immune cells’ functioning goes way down (another reason you get sick easier)
Take care of your body and mind
Although the network between body and mind is very real, unfortunately it is seldom a top priority in the mainstream medical community when they are assessing a patient’s complaints. Instead the focus is placed on what medications they can give the person for relief of their symptoms.
For example, chances are excellent that many people suffering from anxiety or depression have not been asked, “How’s your diet?”
But they have most assuredly been given Prozac, Valium or Lexapro.
And on the flip side, people suffering from chronic bronchitis, sinus infections or acid reflux have probably not been asked, “Got a lot of anxiety or stress going on?”
But they’ve certainly taken boatloads of antibiotics or acid reducers.
If I’ve just described you, listen up. Because a whole new world of relief can open up for you when you help pamper your body and mind, and create a state of optimal health in both—for the holidays and all year round!
Here are 5 important things you can do:
1- Support a healthy microbiome
Stress clearly takes its toll on your gut microbiome, which in turn can harm your physical health, which can then affect you mentally!
But Super Shield multi-strain probiotic formula can help you support your gut wall and immune system and curb this mind/body sickness cycle.
Super Shield’s 13 super potent strains of friendly bacteria can help repopulate your intestinal flora supply and bring it into a more healthful balance.
This is especially important because contrary to what most people think, your intestinal microbes are not “permanent residents”—they only reside inside of you for about 12 days. So it’s crucial to consistently support a strong population of them with probiotic supplementation.
Having a healthy gut microbiome can help pave the way for complete, comfortable digestion (goodbye gas, bloating and constipation!) as well as support strong immune function (no more catching every cold and bug around!).
2- Stay away from the junk
There’s no getting around it—you must have a healthy diet of real foods if you want a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of having any measure of physical or mental health.
Choose fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, poultry, wild-caught fish, eggs, dairy and healthy fats (like real butter, coconut oil or olive oil). An occasional dessert is OK (especially around the holidays) but let that be the exception and not the norm.
Stay far away from processed, packaged stuff-in-a-box and drive right by the drive-thru.
3- Supplement with vitamins B12 and D
Although a healthy diet can help support the nutritional needs of your body and mind, two big exceptions to that are vitamins B12 and D.
Current estimates show that as many as three out of four of us has some degree of B12 deficiency, largely due to poor digestion and our overuse of acid reducers. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 can trigger anxiety and depression, as well as low energy and weak immune function.
And heaven knows with the way we shun the sun and/or slather on sunscreen, most of us are experiencing low vitamin D levels, especially in the northeast this time of year. Vitamin D is absolutely vital for brain and immune function!
The B12 in Hydroxaden is absorbed in the mucus membranes of your mouth, thereby avoiding any absorbency problems in the digestive tract.
And Optimum DK Formula provides a trifecta of nutrients that work effectively together for your immune and mental health—vitamin D3, vitamins K1 and K2, plus the mineral boron!
Since stress can be so harmful to both your physical and mental health, it's crucial to fight it and minimize its devastating effects on you.
One of the best ways to fight stress is to exercise—so get your doctor’s OK and do it for at least 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week. I know you’re busy, but this is important, so make the time!
You can also try yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, prayer, counseling, or taking up a hobby. Even adopting a pet has been shown to reduce stress, so if you’re an animal lover, pay a visit to your local shelter.
5- Encourage sound sleep
Seven to nine hours of sleep is what most adults need each night, so if you are regularly getting fewer than that, it’s time to do something about it.
Here are some things to try:
- Have a snack of leftover turkey in the evening.
- Try to go to bed at the same time every night.
- Take a warm bath with Epsom salts.
- Avoid watching TV or using the computer just before bed.
- Sip chamomile tea at night. At the same time, avoid coffee, soda and alcohol.
- Darken your room and keep it at 70°F or cooler at night.
- Put lavender essential oil on your pillow. Try our very own Ocean Lavender oil—it’s heavenly!
- Check your medications. Some medications like bronchodilators for asthma and certain antidepressants can trigger insomnia. Talk to your doctor about alternatives.
Take care of your body and mind now. You couldn't give yourself a nicer holiday gift.
To your health,