When the festive season is over will you be refreshed and rejuvenated? Or will you be paying the price for over indulging to excess?
Whilst the festive season is a wonderful time to relax with family and friends and to not be hard on yourself, there's some basic things you can do to lower your risk of suffering from a holiday hangover.
Here, we share 5 recommend tips to help you manage your way through the festive season so that you'll still feel great at the start of the new year!
Don't Burst Your Balloon
It goes without saying that most of us over indulge during the festive season and tend to worry about the after effects once it's all over.
The problem with this strategy is that it can be super difficult to begin the new year on a positive note if you've pushed yourself to the limit with food and drink during the holidays.
The number one key is to pace yourself so that you don't burst your balloon!
This means it's best to have 'on' and 'off' days over the festive period so that your body and brain have a chance to reset.
The problem is when you over eat and drink every day, you'll place an enormous amount of stress and overwhelm on your digestive system, which greatly impacts your gut health, energy levels and your ability to recover and function.
However, when you're able to pace yourself throughout the holiday season, you'll give your body and mind the best chance to reset and recuperate so that you won't feel depleted and run down as you enter the new year.
Here's five handy tips to help you avoid a holiday hangover:
1. Hydrate Every Morning
One of the most important secrets to avoiding a holiday hangover is to ensure that you're drinking enough clean water every single day. The easiest way to do this, is to begin each morning by consuming at least 1/2 to 1 litre of pure water when you rise.
Drinking enough water, particularly on an empty stomach, is vital for helping to flush toxins and waste from your body and for replenishing your brain and cells with much needed hydration.
If available, it's a good idea to also add a pinch of natural salt such as pink himalayan or celtic sea salt to your morning water as an electrolyte boost and to aid the digestive process first thing in the morning.
Your goal should be to drink at least 2 litres of water each day, so when you begin your day with a decent amount of water, you'll find it easy to reach that target.
As an additional optional cleansing agent, try adding 2-3 drops of lemon or lime essential oil to your morning water too if you have it available.
2. Walk Each Day For 30 Minutes
Even though you may take a break from your regular exercise routine, don't stop going for a light walk every single day.
Once again, the ideal time to get this done is first thing in the morning after you rise and hydrate, so that you can lightly move your body and get some basic exercise out of the way.
If you can, enjoy your walk outside in the fresh air - in the park, on the beach, or on a walking track close to home or wherever you're holidaying.
If you're out of town, it's a great way to take in some of the surrounds of your new environment, to breathe fresh, clean air and to activate your senses at the start of each day.
Of course, if you wake up late or if there are reasons why you can't get your walk in early in the morning, just do it when you can...but be sure to do it!
Remember also, any type of exercise, including walking, is a great way to re-energise if you're feeling tired, sluggish or even a little hung over. The reason for this is because it releases endorphins, improves your mood and increases oxygen flow to the brain.
Also, don't be afraid to add on 5 minutes of very light stretching also at the end of your walk. This will help loosen up your muscles and joints and to keep your mobility strong.
3. Be Mindful Of Your Food Combinations
One of the quickest ways to end up in a prolonged food coma, particularly over the holidays when you're more than likely to over indulge, is to mix the wrong types of foods in large amounts.
For example, if you eat a dense high-protein or high-carb meal and then follow it up with an abundance of sugary sweets or desserts, you'll send your blood sugar through the roof and then into tailspin, meaning you'll crash and burn!
By all means enjoy yourself and eat the foods you want to eat, just try to space out your food, allow it to settle and try to limit the amount of processed and refined sugars you eat after a heavy meal.
Foods that will help you to avoid falling into a food coma include lean proteins, whole grains and complex carbohydrates. A little fat is ok too, but the biggest problem is when you combine high fat and high sugar together...this can cause chaos in the body and make you feel depleted as your digestive system tries to sort through the train wreck.
For this reason, a good common-sense rule to follow, is to wait at least 30 minutes after your main meal before you indulge in dessert. This will give your digestive system a little time to process the other macro nutrients before your post meal sweets arrive.
4. Be Sensible About Alcohol Consumption
We all know that excess alcohol consumption comes with negative effects, but that doesn't mean you need to avoid it altogether during your holiday celebrations.
If you do drink alcohol there are two secrets to avoiding a post holiday hangover.
1. Don't over do it
2. Be mindful about the drink choices you make
Any type of alcohol consumed to excess for too many days at a time, will definitely leave you feeling depleted and run down.
However, if you're able to moderate your consumption of alcohol and choose varieties that have limited chemical additives and preservatives, you'll go a long way to avoiding a post holiday hangover.
Some tips for sensible alcohol consumption over the holidays include:
- Choose naturally brewed craft beers that are free from additives and preservatives. Thankfully these days, all good bottle shops stock quality brands from local micro breweries that fit the bill...you just need to look out for them!
- Preservative free wines are better than cocktails and spirits because they are naturally fermented, easier on the gut and don't contain chemical additives that can throw your body and brain into turmoil
- Try to avoid drinking until at least late afternoon...or better still, only drink around your evening meal time when you can. Obviously there may be exceptions to this rule such as Christmas day lunch, but by at least limiting your alcohol consumption to meal time, you'll help to moderate your consumption across the holiday period
- Choose the odd 'alcohol-free' day. It's never a good idea to drink a considerable amount of alcohol particularly on consecutive days, so give yourself a break on certain days throughout the holiday season which will help your body and brain to re-set in between
- Just because it's available, it doesn't mean you must drink. Don't feel you have to drink alcohol just because everyone else is or because it's readily available. Try to use your intuition a little which can be a healthy way to space things out and ensure you don't drink too much.
5. Take Time For Yourself
Whilst the holiday season can be very enjoyable catching up with friends and loved ones, constant celebrations can quickly leave you feeling exhausted and drained.
One of the key ways to balance out the constant contact with others is to intertwine some quiet time for yourself. Even if you can only find one spare hour each day, it can do wonders for helping your mind and body to reset and recalibrate, so that you can continue to feel your best throughout the holiday season.
Dedicate a little time to practice your passion, to write down some goals for the new year, or simply to go for a quiet walk on your own and collect your thoughts.
Alternatively, find a quiet space to read a book or to walk your dog to the park or beach. Whatever you choose, just try to set aside a small amount of time with yourself during the holiday season to unwind and recharge. When you do this, it will help you to show up as the best version of yourself during your festive celebrations with family and friends.
The Main Takeaway
Even though the holiday season is a joyous time to be shared with those you care about and love, it's important to balance out the celebrations and intermingle a little self awareness and self care if you want to avoid a holiday hangover.
It doesn't need to be over the top or stressful, but by being conscious of some of the basic steps you can take to support your wellness over the holiday season, you'll go a long way to not only staying energised during the festive period, but also feeling refreshed and rejuvenated at the start of the new year.
Tolman Self Care.