Preserving Your Brain Health During the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … until it isn’t.

Reminders of the upcoming holiday season are all around us. From nonstop product advertisements to an increasing number of social gatherings, it can become overwhelming for even the jolliest of souls.  

The anticipation of family gatherings can also trigger a wide range of emotions, including stress and sadness, if a loved one has passed away or COVID-19 concerns keep families from gathering.

Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services recognizes the holidays are not always an easy thing to get through. The experts across Iowa’s 14 MHDS Regions offer some simple tips for navigating December on a day-to-day basis:

Stick to your routine. 

Throwing your schedule off by staying up late or trying to take on too much at once can contribute to burnout, exhaustion and stress. Stick to your normal wake-up, work, daily life and bedtime routines.

Sleep and eat a healthy amount. 

One of the best things a person can do for their mind and body is get plenty of sleep each night and eat healthy, balanced meals during the day. As holiday treats abound, counter them with fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats and whole grains, along with plenty of water.

Ask for help. 

This time of year, there are numerous youth and civic organizations looking to volunteer their time and help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from those that are offering!

Get out of the house. 

A walk around the block, setting up outdoor decorations or taking in some beautiful winter nature are all things that can reset our minds.


Seeing old and new friends can do wonders for a person’s mood. Whether it’s stopping by to say hello or enjoying a holiday party, laughter with friends can provide an uplifting experience amid stressful times.

Reach out for help at

Any Iowan in any community can utilize MDHS brain health services. Our team of experts can connect individuals to clinicians and experts who can recommend the best treatment to get anyone struggling with their brain health (mental health) back on track.

Reach out to Iowa’s MHDS Regions today at or by calling the Your Life Iowa line at 855-581-8111 or texting 855-895-8398. Help is available 24 hours a day.