Your Go-To-Guide For

How To Thrive This Holiday Season 

Without Damaging Your Brain Health

Part 1: How to avoid Holiday Stress For Optimal Brain Health

Read Transcript of Video Below

Welcome to the Simple Smart Science Holiday Thrive Guide. I'm Julia Lundstrom, your memory and brain health educator. We know that this time of year can be magical, but we also know that it comes with its fair share of stressors, bad food, late nights, and essentially a ton of things that are just terrible for your brain health and your memory.

To help you better navigate the whole holidays and not feel like you've been run over by a bus when it's all done and really to help you look forward to them and enjoy them to the fullest, maybe for the first time in a very long time, we've put together this three part video series for you and are also including the transcripts all for free.

Let's jump right in.

The first big issue we're going to address when it comes to the holidays that is really the top memory and brain health killer is stress. The season can come with a load of stress that can make even the best of memories feel like they're swimming through mud. I'm going to go through the most important steps you can take to, one, eliminate your stress as much as possible, and two, reduce the stress that is just going to be there.

Let's start with elimination. This is really stress avoidance, and the first part of this is time. Where are you going to get all the time to do it all? That seems to be the number one stressor when it comes to the holidays.

I'm going to say that it really comes down to three things, and I'm serious about this. 

First of all, go to bed a little earlier and get up a little earlier to give yourself the time and start today. I'm talking about 15 minutes earlier. 15 minutes a day should be enough time to get you there.

Number two is reduce or eliminate the screen time. This includes TV and Facebook and telephone. Obviously, not work time, but outside of that is watching two hours of TV a night really serving you? No, it's not. It makes your sleep worse and it has zero benefit after that first hour. The first hour has been shown to reduce stress.

The next thing, the final thing is brain dump. That's right. Take out a pen and paper right now and write everything that needs to be done for the holidays and then chunk it out and schedule it. The best way to do that is to plan, organize and delegate. Yes, delegate. I know that's not something a lot of people are good at, but it is critical to your sanity and your brain health.

Need to buy Christmas presents? Start in November. Write out your list and then buy everything online on Black Friday. You save yourself a ton of time and money and put it in your calendar. Having a ton of people over for Thanksgiving? Well, there are no rules that say you have to cook everything yourself.

Give your guests roles in helping prepare dinner or even making the dishes. This is delegation at its finest and put it in your calendar. Put it in your calendar who's going to do what and let them know early and get your spouse, a neighbor, and kids involved in the planning and prepping and even cooking and make it a social occasion to bring it social. Being social is the number one thing you can do for your brain health.

Chunking is one of the best organization techniques out there. It requires first your brain dump list, and then combining things together that you can do at one time that are similar, like grocery shopping and going to the liquor store. Not that we want you to get all liquored up this holiday season. We'll talk about that in video two, but you know what I mean.

Or it could be delegating the cooking. Tell your niece what she has to bring for Thanksgiving at the same time you tell her what she needs to bring for Christmas. Helps her out too, right? It takes a stressor off of her

Go get a pen and paper right now and do it –start making your brain dump list.

All right. Back with me? Good. 

Finally, we're going to talk about stress reduction when you simply can't get around the stress of the holidays. This comes in the form of either meditation or breath work, but I'm going to have you chunk that out too. Instead of trying to find 15 or 30 minutes every single day, or however much time you need to meditate, I'm going to give you permission this holiday season to skip it during the busiest of the holidays.

Instead, I want you to take out your phone or your watch or anything you have right now that you can set an alarm and set an alarm for every hour on the hour. When that alarm goes off, I want you to breathe in and out consciously for 60 seconds. I want you to focus on your breath and do each inhale to a count of six and each exhale at a count of seven, in for six, one, two, three, four, five, six and out for seven, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Do that for one full moment or one full minute.

That count puts you in an alpha brain wave state, which takes you out of the stressful beta state. If you do that every hour on the hour for let's say 15 hours, and maybe right before you wake up, that's 16 minutes of breathing meditation, that's enough to get you through the holiday season without taking a big chunk of time to do so.

If I can recommend anything for you for your stress, this is it. Give yourself the time to de-stress 16 times a day. You deserve it and it will only make the holiday season better because you'll be better. Okay. That's it for the first part of the three part series on your holiday thrive guide. I'll see on the next video. 

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