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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Joy to the world! Peace on earth! Happy holidays! Or is it? This is one of the most stressful times of the year for many. Family time, travel, gifts to buy, meals to prepare, etc. We want this time of the year to be merry and bright for our family and friends. Feeling overwhelmed is an under-statement.

Kick off December by giving yourself the gift of a wholistic approach to survive the holiday season.

Day 8 of the 12 Days of Christmas

Survival tip #8: Peace on Earth

Simple Ways to Keep the Peace & Avoid Holiday Feuds

Welcome back. Below are some practical ways to keep calm this holiday season!

This truly is a beautiful time of the year. However, while some cherish this time others have come to dread the holiday season. There are parties, travel, gift-giving, and family; all of which can be magical! Also, it can be the reason why many experience increased stress and worry. The best way to deal with this stress and anxiety is with our mind (brain!). It all starts with a healthy brain.

We can't control others or how they choose to live their lives. We can control our lives and responses to stress and anxiety. Give yourself the gift of a healthy and happy brain this holiday season! To get your brain in a happy place, be sure your neurotransmitters are in balance.

The Gift of a Happy Brain: (Amen)

  • GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps calm overactive neurons, enhances mood and helps support restful sleep.

  • 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin; which plays a role in mood, sleep and appetite.

  • L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that is a precursor to norepinephrine and dopamine; which are important in balancing mood and energy.

  • L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is important for the brain to make glutamate and GABA neurotransmitters. Glutamate is present in 80% of the brain’s nerve cell and plays a role in learning and memory processes, and healthy mood management.

  • Taurine is an amino acid that helps stabilize our nerve cell electrical activity and also promotes the performance of GABA and Glutamine neurotransmitter systems.

These are all essential to brain health; allowing our mental health to operate at an optimal level. Go into the holidays with a healthy brain, so that when things start to go sideways you'll be better prepared to stay calm.

Tips to Keep Calm and Achieve Emotional Balance During the Holidays:

1. Home Sweet Home

Consider avoiding the stress of holiday travel by offering to host the family festivities at your house. This can be a great strategy when you find yourself constantly being torn between visiting different sets of relatives. Sure! Hosting has its own set of stressors; however, you'll have the advantage by it being held on your turf and done your way (according to your rules and parameters). Also, you can remove the stress of travel by already being home.

2. Manage Expectations

You know from past experiences what to expect from particular family members. Be prepared. (have your brain balanced and happy) Consider walking away from those conversations that tend to offend or are likely to lead to family strife. Silence really can be golden here. If a beloved family member started to "act up", consider kicking off any holiday festivities you had planned. Start that holiday game, Christmas movie, or holiday meal! If it's later in the evening, ask everyone to start pitching in on the clean up! These can be great ways to create a distraction from the uncomfortable situation.

3. Mood Balancing Nutrition

Refer back to my previous tips where I addressed nutrition. Healthy eating often tend falls by the way side this time of the time. Do your best to eat well. When you cannot keep up with your nutritious meal plan, consider supplementing with the supplements above. It's imperative you feed your body well so that your brain (and. mood) can function at it's optimal level. Great mental health is a wonderful gift to give yourself and your family this holiday season. By eating healthy you are providing those nutrients that help you maintain a positive mood, help you stay focused, and will help you deal with stressful challenges by helping your neurotransmitters stay in balance.

Stay tuned for Tip #9.


Life, BrainMD. “A Balanced Brain Is a Happy Brain I Brainmd Health.” BrainMD Blog, 12 May 2017,

Rowe, Keith. “How to Keep Calm This Holiday Season: Tips for Achieving Emotional Balance.” BrainMD Blog, 15 Dec. 2017,

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