By Shaya Mercer, Nutritional Counselor
In this period between Thanksgiving and New Years, when there is so much going on in such a short amount of time, it is rare that people focus on slowing down and taking care of themselves. Yet, as mammals we are meant to be hibernating now that the days are shorter and the nights are colder. Winter hibernation provides a much needed respite from the warmer and busier months of the year. But instead we are typically out running around, from store to store and party to party, which can lead to eating too much, drinking too much, and spending too much (if not money, than certainly energy), if we aren't mindful. So how can we take better care of ourselves during the frenetic holiday hub-bub, you ask?
Here are three essential tips for experiencing greater well-being during the winter holiday season. By focusing on these three things, you will feel more nourished and less depleted over the holidays and through the winter. And the best part is that these recommendations won't cost you a cent!
1. Get to bed early. We all have 24 hours in our daily time budgets, and most of us spend eight of those hours sleeping. But what time you get your eight hours will make the difference between having good energy and feeling run-down. You will experience the most non-REM sleep earlier in the night, between 9pm and 5am, which allows your body to repair and restore itself from the stress of the day. Even if you don't eat or drink too much, staying up late can make you feel hungover in the morning.
2. Stay hydrated. Our bodies require steady hydration throughout the day to function properly. Dehydration is an underlying cause of many issues in the body including digestive upset, low energy, brain fog, carb cravings, achy joints, and crabby moods. Focus on hydration first thing in the morning and between meals. Before you reach for caffeine, sugar, alcohol, or bready treats ask yourself if you've had enough water. Because dehydration leads to low energy it can cause us to reach for those quick energy solutions that ultimately lead to an energy crash. If you are thirsty before bed, that's a sign that you didn't hydrate enough during the day.
3. Focus on being present. The greatest gift you can give another person is your undivided attention, even if just for a brief moment. When our spirits are truly nourished by our interactions with friends and family over the holidays we are less likely to over indulge our body's cravings for nourishment through food and drink. Have you ever noticed that when you are engaged in a great conversation you tend to forget to finish what's on your plate? So try connecting more with the humans than hors d'oeuvres at your holiday party and see what you notice.