Holidays are always full of food, drinks, late nights and desserts, (not to mention abandoned fitness routines and sleep schedules in disarray) but hey, that’s part of the fun! No need to regret or worry. Enjoying the holidays and connecting with loved ones is as important for a healthy, happy life, as maintaining your wellness habits.
It is also true that as fun and exciting as the holidays can be, they can always leave us feeling a bit discombobulated.
We want you to enjoy your holidays to the fullest, and we want to support you with a few tips to give your healthy lifestyle a kickstart after all the excitement of the season has toned down.
Here are five quick and easy tips to boost your wellness and self care after the holidays.
1. Eat Simple, Nutritious Foods
Our metabolism and digestion are usually on overdrive after the holidays. We’ve given them quite a bit of a task with all the large dinners and extra servings of sweets and deserts (and a glass of wine here and there of course… or three or four).
So how do we give our digestion a break?
a. Keep it simple, keep it real, keep it healthy
We are not talking about an aggressive juice cleanse or a huge fast. On the contrary! It is all about balance and no matter how much food you enjoyed during the holidays, your body still needs fuel.
The key to give your metabolism a chance to rest is to eat simple, easily digestible foods. Home cooked soups, cooked vegetables, healthy protein sources like grassfed animal products or beans and legumes are great options.
Keeping processed foods to a minimum is ideal to let your body recover from the holidays, so home cooking or a healthy meal delivery is always a better option.
b. Take a sugar break
Gone overboard with holiday desserts? (We always do!)
Sugary treats are hard to resist, especially those that only come around once a year like dad’s famous ice cream floats or grandma’s minty double chocolate fudge cookies.
Unfortunately, sugar can wreak havoc on our guts and overall health, so taking a break from sugar (especially refined sugars like sweets, sodas, and processed treats) is a great idea to allow time for our gut to reach balance again after a bit of holiday chaos. To read more about how to care for your gut you can check out our article on 10 rules for a healthy gut.
If you are still aggressively craving something sweet, sticking to natural, healthy sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar is a great alternative (in moderation of course).
c. Lay off alcohol for a while
Just like sugar and processed foods, alcohol is no good news to our gut health. It can also do quite a number on our mood and energy levels.
So after you’ve enjoyed all your holiday-themed social events it is a good time to take a break from drinking for a while. This will also support your efforts to bring your body back to balance.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough fluids is important always! Don’t let this be a post-holiday season thing. Drink water throughout!
However, you will most likely be a bit dehydrated after big holiday feasts and gatherings. Coffee, alcohol, heavily seasoned foods, and excess sugar can all contribute to dehydration, so drinking extra water is key in helping your body re-balance.
Tip: Stick to warm drinks like herbal teas or lemon and ginger water. This will help boost your metabolism and support your body’s natural process of removing toxins. Even better, drink some bone broth! (or veggie broth if you are plant-based). This will also give you plenty of bioavailable nutrients and electrolytes.
3. Keep Moving
Even the most disciplined athletic routines take a hit during the holidays. It is a time to enjoy family, friends, and celebration, so there should be no guilt or shame in skipping the gym (or abandoning it altogether).
What is important is that you keep moving, however that works for you. Getting back into a routine can be really difficult sometimes so here are a few tips to make staying active a bit easier:
a. Move for enjoyment
Find a type of workout, exercise, or movement practice that you actually enjoy! If the gym is not your thing that is fine. There are plenty of other places where you can be active and enjoy exercise.
Yoga, dance, skiing, hiking, walking, martial arts… you name it! There are plenty of ways to stay strong and active. Find the ones you actually enjoy and sticking to them will be much easier.
b. A little many days can be better than a lot just few days
How many times have you seen people go all out on the gym for a few days in the new year and then abandon it altogether?
Excessive exercise can lead to burnout and lack of motivation. The key is to find what is sustainable to you.
Stick to a frequent shorter practice, rather than sporadic bursts of intense training sessions. This will help you build a consistent routine that is more sustainable and more likely to give you results.
c. Switch it up
Try something new. If you have had the same exercise routine or activity for a while and are feeling bored or unmotivated maybe it’s time for a breakup.
Say bye and go find something new and exciting! Even if you do eventually miss your old routine and end up going back, sometimes trying something new can be the thing you need to get momentum going. Plus, it keeps things fun!
d. Grab a buddy
Nothing like a workout buddy to keep you accountable. Make plans to work out, go for a hike, or walk together. You’ll be way less likely to bail on staying active if you’ve made plans with someone else.
It is also a great way to spend time and connect with a friend, partner, family member, or furry friend!
4. Prioritize Sleep
Our sleep schedules are always a little off after the holidays. Late nights, sleep-ins, extra naps (or lack thereof), and no early mornings to get to work.
Getting back on a regular sleep schedule can take a bit of time, but it is a key part of looking out for your overall wellness.
Good quality sleep will actually make all of the above points easier to stick to. You’ll have more energy to keep active and a regular sleep routine helps keep unhealthy cravings in check. Check out our article on the connection between diet and sleep to learn why.
Whether you are a night owl or a morning bird doesn’t really matter. All of our internal clocks work differently and we thrive at different times and on different schedules. Just find a schedule that works for your own body and routine and try to get at least 7 hours of sleep going to bed and waking up roughly at the same time every day.
5. Recharge with time alone
The holidays are full of socialization. It is a great time to connect with your community, family, and friends, and create great memories together.
It is also a time when a lot of tension, stress, and discomfort can arise, as is normal in big family gatherings. Nothing wrong or out of the norm here. We’ve all experienced it.
So, if you’re feeling drained after the holidays, it might be a sign that you need some time to reconnect with yourself, spend some time alone, and recharge your energy. This is especially true for those who tend to be more introverted.
Setting boundaries and prioritizing time to take care of yourself and recharge is important, and it will help you have stronger, more meaningful connections with those around you.
Take some time to prioritize those activities that help you recharge, whether it is a long walk with a good podcast, reading a good book, journaling, meditating, or anything else that feels nourishing at the moment. These spaces are an important part of our overall wellness and should receive as much attention as our diet and exercise routines.