Now that the Holidays are over…
You’ve shopped until you’ve dropped, gave and received presents, recovered from food coma, and uploaded your festive photos on Instagram and Facebook. All that’s left is a fridge full of leftovers and that ‘drained feeling’. The Post-Holiday let-down.
This is typical of the ‘crash’ after the Holidays. In spite of all the good cheer and joy, the days and weeks of socializing, gift shopping, cooking, planning and traveling; the expectations and stress of the Holidays can be overwhelming and often flip a switch inside our brain sending us into overdrive.
The Holiday aftermath. Reality. Stress amplified. Something had to give; exercise routine, meditation, quiet time, healthy meal planning and other self-care may have suffered. Motivation, unanswered emails, over-indulgence in food or drink, too much sodium, neglected routines, all leave the body feeling sapped.
There is a reason for this. “The stress of regulating blood sugar during mega-consumptions of junk food can depress our immune systems,” says Justine Campbell, R.D., a holistic nutrition therapy practitioner.
How to face ‘The Reckoning’
1. Unplug. Taking a break from constantly being connected to our devices can drag us down. The feeling of needing to check our devices 24-7 raises cortisol levels and over-stimulates the neurons with too much information, may create anxiety, comparison of everyone’s ‘perfect holiday’ photos (which could lead to envy) and possible depression. Set some time to go ‘Tech-Free’ and be truly present. Set some time during the day to unplug whether it’s during dinner or while taking a walk.
2. Re-Set your palate. Over-indulgence in food and drink often leads to the attitude of, “Oh well, I’ve already ‘blown it’ so why not eat more junk. After all, it’s the Holidays. The problem is, insulin levels spike when we overeat and the higher they rise, the more drastic the blood sugar crash hours afterward. This tends to leave us feeling irritable, and wanting more sugar. If we have eaten foods that are loaded with sugar, fat or salt for a few days, we end up resetting our palate toward those types of foods, rather than healthier choices. On a more serious note, the immune system is compromised from the food frenzied consumption of junk food.
3. Skip the Guilt. Give yourself some slack. It will take a bit of time to get back on track with your healthier routines. Plate some patience with those extra veggies. Make this the week you write down your goals and expectations and re-align your routine. Rather than totally re-hauling your entire diet; add extra vegetables to your meal rather than trying to scale back on everything ‘bad’.
4. Take time to enjoy. While the weeks leading up to the Holiday may have left you with little time to enjoy due to excessive obligations; now is the time to s-l-o-w down and breathe. Take time to reflect on the beauty of what is around you. Many of us leave decorations up until after the New Year. Now is the time to focus on their beauty.
5. Gratitude. Does anyone write Thank-You notes anymore? Expressing gratitude for gifts and time spent can promote well-being and foster a positive attitude.
6. Looking forward. Research shows that having something to look forward to promotes happiness and elevates the mood. Plan a few fun and simple activities with friends or family. Now is a great time to try something new.
7. Prioritize. Do take time to make your health a priority by including exercise as a part of your day. There is simply nothing better that getting out for a brisk walk. It elevates the mood, oxygenates your body and provides cardiovascular benefits. Find new ways to move! Exercise should be a reflection of your personality. Dance, walk, run, stretch, lift weights or do it all! Mixing up your exercise routine keeps it fun and will provide enjoyment.
A Physical Activity Specialist / Professional can design a program that is safe, effective and perfect for every activity level.