Do you wake up with a full-body hangover on New Year’s Day? We’re not talking about the kind you get from one glass of champagne too many, but the feeling of sluggishness from too many sweets, too many late nights, and a whole lot of togetherness? Maybe you deal with stress from spending too much or feel like you didn’t do enough to make the season magical. Whatever your emotions are when the decorations come down and normal life resumes, that comedown is part of the process. The holidays are a swirl of parties, treats, delicious meals, and family gatherings and they’re tons of fun, but they can be tough on your mental and physical health too.
Whether you’re looking for tips to stay on track with your wellness goals without feeling like a stick in the mud, want to celebrate more sustainably, or just need some inspiration to help you make it through the marathon, let Gaia be your guide to a healthy, happy holiday season.
Get your greens.
The holiday season is a time to savor your favorite family recipes, bake cookies with your loved ones, and celebrate alongside friends, family, and coworkers. Indulging in these seasonal delights is part of the fun, so don’t deny yourself what you love most. If you’re concerned about staying on track with your healthy eating habits, grab an extra serving from the veggie tray at the work holiday party, bring a salad to the potluck along with a rich or sweet dish, or start the day with a green smoothie packed with kale or spinach so you know you’re getting those feel-good nutrients right away in the AM. And most importantly, don’t feel guilty if you overindulge — go for a walk to help the meal settle and remember, ’tis the season! Just right the ship again tomorrow.
Make time for yourself.
So many of us get caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle and fill our plates too full with activities, leading to exhaustion, stress, and burnout. Though it can be difficult to find the time in the height of the holiday season, take time each day to do something for yourself: take a walk, get a workout in, relax with a book, relish 30 minutes of peace and quiet, whatever. Even 10 minutes a day of self-care can make a big impact on your stress levels.
Eggnog and mulled wine are undeniably delicious and should be enjoyed to the utmost during the holiday season, but make sure you’re drinking enough water to help your body digest and to keep you feeling energized and on top of your game. (Herbal tea counts!)
Gift experiences, not things.
If you have children, you know how much stuff accumulates over the holiday season and how overwhelming it can be. If there’s someone on your list who has everything and you’re stumped about what to gift them, why not skip a physical object and treat them to an experience instead? Maybe it’s a nice dinner out on you, a year-long museum pass, a weekend away, a cooking class with your mom, or a special solo date day for one of your children. Whatever you choose, they’ll look back on the experience with the fondest memories.
Along with a lot of stuff comes a lot of trash. Instead of tossing everything out the next day, re-examine how you approach gifting. If you buy gift wrap, skip glitter and metallic finishes, as those can’t be recycled. Save and reuse bows, bags, and ribbons year after year. Wrap wine bottles or candles in pretty scarves and you’re giving two gifts in one!
Be merry and mindful.
Incorporating a mindfulness practice can be a beneficial tool for balancing the hustle and bustle of the season. When you feel yourself getting stressed and overwhelmed, take a step back and check in with your mind and your heart. Recognize that feeling and your response to it and note when it arises so you can better handle those situations in the future. Take a minute, hit the reset button, and reconnect with the reason for the season to reframe any tough or stressful moments.