As much as you look forward to the holidays, let’s be honest—they can be quite the stressor. You’re keeping long hours, spending too much money, and your diet and exercise plan? Well, let’s just say it would be a holiday miracle if they can make it through the next few weeks completely unscathed.
If you don’t prep for them right, exhaustion, stress, and drinking too much can leave your exhausted and sapped of energy before Santa even rolls into the town (And here are 5 surprising things that make you look tired, too).
But you don’t need to be a Grinch this holiday season. Here, 9 ways top health and wellness experts get through the holidays. Give these tips a shot so you don’t burn out before the ball drops.
1. HOLIDAY TIP: GET OUTSIDE
“We actually think people are more likely to get colds in the winter because they spend more time indoors exposed to other people’s germs. Plus, getting outside can give you a healthy dose of vitamin D, which can also boost your immune system.
The Oz family gets out there every year for our annual family Christmas football classic. Make outdoor fun part of your holiday season, no matter what you’re celebrating.”
2.HOLIDAY TIP: PLAN AN UPCOMING GETAWAY
“As a surgeon, the holidays are always extremely busy with people trying to maximize their insurance benefits before the end of the year and kids having elective surgery without missing school. One thing I started doing a few years ago was planning a relaxing vacation after the first of the year.
This does multiple things: It allows me to recover from the holidays, but also is my light at the end of the tunnel during my long surgery days. This planned break always recharges my battery and helps me start the New Year out with a refreshed positive attitude.”
3.HOLIDAY TIP: RE-WATCH ‘HANGOVER’…AGAIN
“A good belly laugh doesn’t just lighten the load mentally—it lowers cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video, reading the comics, or chatting with someone who makes you smile.
4.HOLIDAY TIP: TAKE CARE COOKING
“The kitchen is always bustling for the holidays, so whether cooking with wine or drinking it, in the spirit of the holidays, we often let our guard down. This means cooking burns from pots and pans and also hot oil and water. Most of the burns I treat from cooking are on the arms and hands.
Prevention here is easy. Wear long sleeves, even if very lightweight , and even if under your long cooking gloves. If I get a burn, I run it under cold water immediately and then apply any one of these ointments frequently: Aquaphor, bacitracin, even petroleum jelly. They’re medicine cabinet musts year round but even more so during holiday season.”
5.HOLIDAY TIP: MAINTAIN YOUR ROUTINE
“Go to bed at or around the same time each night, commit to at least few days of moderate and vigorous exercise each week and take your multivitamin to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need. Your routine doesn’t have to be overly involved—in fact and it should allow for some wiggle room so that you don’t feel you’re missing out, but keeping up with a few healthy behaviors will be satisfying and get you started on the right foot come 2018.”
6.HOLIDAY TIP: SLOW DOWN
“Life, and holidays especially, tend to spike our stress levels: It’s always go, go, go and spend, spend, spend! Take a step back and enjoy the moment, enjoy the day, and be thankful you have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays. Count your blessings each and every day. Surround yourself with close friends and family. For me, this is my comfort. I am a big family man, so I immerse my time when I’m not working or thinking about the business into those closest with me.”
7.HOLIDAY TIP: HAVE MORE SEX
“To keep your stress low and survival skills high during the holiday season, jump in the sack with you loved one. Sex helps boost the immune system, and it also boosts your libido as well. The benefits of sex keep working as you ease into sleep at night. After orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released which is responsible for feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. Additionally, all that wonderful closeness, may lead to a more intimate bond with your partner, allowing for less stress and anxiety and a more peaceful, relaxing, stress-free holiday.”8
8. HOLIDAY TIP: GET AN EARLY START
“The number one thing I do to stay sane over the holidays is a bit counterintuitive, but it works like a charm: I ‘skip’ the holidays by beginning my top New Year’s resolution a month early.
Not only does this create a wonderful psychological ‘pattern interrupt’ and get my subconscious mind out of the usual holiday funk, but by choosing to start an easy and simple daily habit early, I’m putting myself in a position to really gain momentum with it by the time the New Year actually rolls around, and it ends up being way easier to stick with whatever resolution I’ve chosen, rather than just quitting a couple of days in. Try it yourself, and you’ll never go back.”
9.HOLIDAY TIP: BE SELECTIVE WITH YOUR TIME
The most important thing I have learned and now share with others, is to focus on quality over quantity: Quality of time with the most important people in your life. Quality of gifting to those same people. Quality of experiences. Saying ‘yes’ to what we want, and saying no when we know it is not best for us.
Learning to say ‘no, thank you’ to the second helping of potatoes, third glass of wine, or the fourth Christmas party can support us both in the short term and the long term. In the short term, we are more grounded, connected to our center and less stressed. And in the long term, there are less ‘challenges’ to deal with and unravel down the line.