The Christmas holidays are around the corner, and some might say it’s not soon enough! At the end of the year many of us are tired and feel depleted. For the majority of people a few days off between Christmas and New Year is a pleasant treat to bring back that life force and energy.
But are holidays really that relaxing? Hosting or visiting family can sometimes cause more tension than relaxation. How can we avoid becoming crankier, overwhelmed and feel even more fatigued by the beginning of the New Year? Well here are a few tips to help you on your way to enter 2015 with fresh new vibrant energy.
Protein, Moderation and Hydration
Although it is a festive time of year where gatherings are often taking place around food, take it easy on the sugars. Enjoy a glass of wine and sweet treat, but make sure you keep blood sugar balanced by adding enough protein to your meals. Proteins and fibrous foods slow down sugar release in the bloodstream. Aim for a good balance of protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates in your meals. Try my recipe for Goji-Coconut Cookies.
If there is a 5 course meal planned for Christmas, make sure you enjoy a few bites of each, but avoid overeating. Overeating actually releases cytokines in the body that trigger an inflammatory response. So enjoy your 5 course meal with a few bites of each or if you know what the menu is and favour certain foods that serve you well, go for that. All you have to do is eat with moderation.
While you are busy talking to all those people you haven’t seen for so long, don’t forget to hydrate, and I don’t mean hydrating with alcoholic beverages. Being properly hydrated is essential for feeling energized. Drink water 20 min. before and after a meal. This will help food being propelled through the digestive tract, so that the colon can eventually properly eliminate the substances. If the colon is dehydrated, water and electrolytes can not be absorbed and constipation might be the result.
Reduce the Chatter with some Yoga
After a good night of socializing, you come home and are ready for bed. Once in bed, you still hear some chatter in your mind. Perhaps analyzing that conversation with your uncle or what did that niece mean when she said she finds my dress interesting? Does this sound familiar at all? If this is the case, practice these yoga exercises before going to bed.
Retreat to a quit space and simply lie with your back flat on the floor. You can use a yoga mat or towel to lie on. Separate the legs and feet so that they are further than hip distance apart. Cover the eyes with an eye pillow or if you don’t have one, use a tea towel. Close your eyes so they are resting into their eye sockets. Arms can be along side your body. Take a couple of nice deep long breaths. Focus on making the exhale twice as long as the inhale. During the inbreath we take in things (which has been done enough after socializing), and it is during the outbreath that we can let these things go. On each exhale let go of past conversations or future plans. On each inhale breathe into the moment.
If you have been standing for a long time throughout the night, you can also put your legs up the wall. Sit close to the wall with your right hip and right shoulder touching the wall. Slowly lie down so that your left shoulder is on the floor. Then sweep your legs up and roll on your back. Let your arms rest alongside your body or above the head. This pose is very rejuvenating for the legs as the reverse of gravity brings back lymph fluid to pool in the abdomen. Enjoy the fatigue draining away from the legs while you focus on your breath.
We all know that sleep is of utmost important and getting a good one before, during and after Christmas is key. So do make sure to create that moment for yourself right before bed or early in the morning to rejuvenate yourself. That way you can participate in the joy of Christmas. Above all, be healthy, be merry and be in the moment with your loved ones. Vrolijk Kerstfeest and Happy Healthy 2015!!!