Healthy Habits for Mental Wellness

December 5, 2023

While the holidays often bring joy, they can also become a source of overwhelming stress for some people. Whether it’s the strain of family gatherings, selecting the right gifts within budget, or experiencing feelings of isolation, the holiday season can induce stress and anxiety. Prolonged or chronic stress has the potential to impact physical health, leading to digestive issues, headaches, and sleep disturbances. Moreover, it has been associated with conditions such as depression and anxiety.1,2

More than 1 in 5 people in the U.S. report feeling socially isolated.2 Research indicates that social connectedness acts as a safeguard against depressive symptoms.3 A crucial lesson from the COVID pandemic is the positive impact of overall wellbeing that comes from connection with others.4 Negative affect, characterized by dissatisfaction with one’s current state, can contribute to perceiving healthy habits as unachievable.5 For those who anticipate conflict at holiday gatherings, this negative affect can pose challenges, making it particularly hard to prioritize mental health during this festive season.6 

Take a step back from the holiday frenzy to prioritize these habits that support mental health. The benefits can last the whole year through.7 

Five Science-Based Strategies to Support Mental Health
In primary care visits, healthcare professionals (HCPs) can address Lifestyle Medicine habits with clients. This can include discussions of relationships, stress, and sleep.8 These research-based habits can help the body manage stress and support mental health. 

Nearly one third of the population has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Busy lifestyles can lead to fewer hours devoted to sleep, and stress can make it difficult to sleep well. Poor quality sleep can lead to depression and anxiety, and getting better quality sleep can help the body manage stress and have positive effects on mental health.9,10 

To support mental wellness, HCPs can speak to clients about sleep, suggest a sleep study when appropriate, and offer general sleep tips including:

  • Go to bed around the same time and get up at the same time most days of the week.
  • Keep the bedroom quiet, dark, and at a cool temperature. 
  • Don’t use electronics in the bedroom and stop screentime at least 30 minutes before bed.
  • Monitor how caffeine affects sleep, and time caffeine intake accordingly.
  • Try to get physical activity, which can help with falling asleep.11,12

Connect in Person
Social isolation can increase the risk of depression and anxiety as well as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and infectious diseases.2 Satisfying social relationships can protect health.2,10 

HCPs can use these screening questions to start conversations with clients and about social interaction. The answers can spark ideas for ways to interact more in person.

  • What is the frequency or number of social interactions? 
  • What is the quality of interactions? Are the interactions with close ties, new connections, or family, and are the conversations deep or superficial? Is there a shared activity? Is there a feeling of closeness or connection?
  • How much time is spent interacting? 
  • What is the type of interaction? For example, family gatherings, volunteering, religious services, or group exercise?13

Social Media

Social media can build supportive connections, but excess online activity may contribute to feelings of isolation. Spending many hours playing games or scrolling negative content online is connected to depression, anxiety, and stress.14 Set a time limit for daily social media use and be aware of when online use causes stress10, withdrawal from spending time with others in person, or enjoying a hobby. HCPs can ask clients about time spent online and if they are having difficulty managing the negative effects of social media use.14

Move More
Sitting more and moving less is linked to poor mental health and stress10, while decreasing sedentary time by just one hour daily can improve mental wellbeing.15 HCPs can offer realistic advice to sit less and move more:

  • For meetings or social outings, plan a walk instead of a sit-down activity.
  • Get up to deliver information to a work colleague instead of calling or messaging.
  • When putting away groceries or household items, take more trips rather than trying to carry everything in one trip.
  • Park further away from a destination and take the stairs whenever possible. 

Meditation can be helpful for alleviating mental stress16 and promoting wellbeing. There are many ways to meditate, which is one reason why the research findings on the practice are somewhat limited.17 

Choose a meditation style based on the type of practice that is appealing, such as meditation that includes a mantra, visualizing, or breathing. HCPs can ask clients about the practice, which is shown to empower clients to take action.18 Clients can get started by setting aside five minutes every day and build up to a daily meditation practice. 

Expressing Gratitude
Practicing gratitude has been shown to help reduce stress and help promote wellbeing. Showing appreciation for what is valuable and meaningful in one’s life can be associated with greater life satisfaction.19 HCPs can ask clients about the practice and recommend getting started by reflecting on one positive experience.20 This first step might be the most difficult but can be the most important. 

Other ways to practice gratitude include writing down positive thoughts and experiences, taking time to express appreciation in the moment, relive positive moments by sharing them with others, or make plans to see someone to express gratitude.20 

Orgain Products to Support Mental Wellbeing
Orgain offers many high-quality nutrition products to support mental and whole-body health including:

  • StressLess Dietary Supplement
    • Supports calmness and wellbeing with GABA and adaptogens ashwagandha & rhodiola, chamomile, lemon balm & essential nutrient magnesium.
  • SleepDeep Dietary Supplement
    • Supports restful relaxation with melatonin, GABA, and valerian root.
  • Perfect Meal
    • Includes over 80 superfoods, vitamins and minerals, 1000mg of calming adaptogens ashwagandha & rhodiola, 1 billion probiotics, and an enzyme blend for digestive health.

Here are some of Orgain’s popular educational resources on mental health and wellness: 

Professional Education Webinar Series 

The Good Clean Nutrition Podcast 

Science-Based Brief 


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Stress. Available at:
  2. Evans M, Fisher EB. Social Isolation and Mental Health: The Role of Nondirective and Directive Social Support. Community Ment Health J. 2022 Jan;58(1):20-40. doi: 10.1007/s10597-021-00787-9. Epub 2021 Mar 3. PMID: 33660137.
  3. Wickramaratne PJ, Yangchen T, Lepow L, Patra BG, Glicksburg B, Talati A, Adekkanattu P, Ryu E, Biernacka JM, Charney A, Mann JJ, Pathak J, Olfson M, Weissman MM. Social connectedness as a determinant of mental health: A scoping review. PLoS One. 2022 Oct 13;17(10):e0275004. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0275004. PMID: 36228007; PMCID: PMC9560615.
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  6. Darío Páez, M. Ángeles Bilbao, Magdalena Bobowik, Miryam Campos & Nekane Basabe (2011) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! The impact of Christmas rituals on subjective well-being and family’s emotional climate, International Journal of Social Psychology, 26:3, 373-386, DOI: 10.1174/021347411797361347
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