The winter holidays can be a time to relax with time off from work and a time to reflect on the past year. It’s also a time full of fun events, extra errands and travel. With places to go and family to see, the big meals, shopping and holiday parties may take a toll on your energy levels.
The holidays can be a very stressful time of year, with all the things you need to get done and the people counting on you to come through.
You shouldn’t have to “drag” yourself from get-together to get-together, or fall asleep on the couch after a dinner with relatives. Here are a few tips to keep your energy levels up with natural methods so you can make the most of these special times together.
- Pace yourself during big meals. Your body has to work harder to digest those huge holiday dinners. Eat slowly and enjoy the company you’re with. The slower you eat, the more full you’ll feel on less food.
- Reach for healthy snacks. Complex carbohydrates will give you energy fast. Protein provides fuel for the longer term. Make a salad of walnuts and winter greens.
- Eat more fiber. Foods rich in fiber help your body break down carbohydrates at a steadier pace over a longer time. That gives you more stamina. Feast on whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Your blood will flow more easily, transporting the oxygen and nutrients your cells need. Cut back on caffeinated and alcoholic drinks which will dehydrate you.
- Don’t skip breakfast! You’re bound to feel fatigued in the late morning without a breakfast, and you’re likely to reach for coffee and unhealthy snacks to get you through to lunch. Then after lunch you get an afternoon crash that’s like hitting a brick wall, just in time for the errands you need to run after work. That’s no fun; start the day right by eating a sensible breakfast.
- If you can, take a nap. Brief naps of 20 minutes or less will help you recharge. Just closing your eyes for a few minutes can also be refreshing.
- Watch out for extra caffeine. Those chocolates and peppermint-flavored coffee drinks may put you over your limit for caffeine. Too much caffeine will dehydrate you and may cause energy crashes.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. A cocktail may help you fall asleep faster but it interferes with the quality of your sleep. Try to avoid any alcohol within a few hours of bedtime.
- Place a curfew on online shopping. You can shop for gifts all night on the Internet but you’ll feel the effects the next day. Turn the computer off a couple of hours before retiring to adjust your mind and body after the mental stimulation and lighted screen.
- Maintain exercise routines. The holiday are a time we get off track from our fitness routines. Try your best to maintain your physical activity levels. No time for the gym? Take the stairs at the shopping mall and park farther from the entrance. Feeling tired in the afternoon? A brisk walk will wake you up and pump more oxygen to your brain.
- Clear away clutter. You’ll feel more restful when your surroundings are in good order. Recycle those gift wrappings, store shopping bags and tidy up after parties to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Alternate between tasks. Baking hundreds of cookies and wrapping mountains of gifts can be tiring. Switching off between jobs can help some. Even better, recruit family and friends to divide the load.
- Manage stress. Feeling more stress this time of year is natural. To help prevent this, listen to relaxing music, meditate or talk with friends. Use daily to-do lists so you don’t feel overwhelmed. A positive outlook can make handling extra tasks much easier.
- Focus on giving! Giving to others is the best part of the holiday season and the most effective way to stay energized. That’s what this is all about! You’ll feel motivated to accomplish more with less effort when you think about making others happy. Share your time and attention with the people you love and do some volunteer work to connect with others in your community.
The holiday season can be demanding, but simple lifestyle changes are usually enough to keep you alert and merry. Watch your diet, get plenty of rest, and manage stress so you’ll be ready to tackle all the shopping and parties.