5 Wellness Hacks to Thrive this Holiday Season
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Or is it? With holiday parties, family get togethers, delicious meals and gift giving in full force it can be a joyous time – yet a mighty stressful one too. It’s also the time when our healthy habits tend to get tossed out in favour of more indulgent behaviours, leaving us with that familiar feeling of waiting until January 1st to get back on the healthy wagon. Yet, there’s no reason to wait! Now is the perfect time to commit to having a healthy, enjoyable and not-so-stressful holiday season (yes, it’s possible!).
But first. If you want to dive into 2019 feeling motivated, energized and ready to crush your goals, you must first begin with a mindset shift around commitment. If you want to thrive (not just survive) this holiday season you must consciously commit to self-care and take the actions that’ll support that. It’s as simple as that.
It’s not an all or nothing approach. In fact, it’s much more about doing the little things, that over time add up to big changes. Pick the hacks that speak to you directly. If it works with your lifestyle and feels good, then all you need to do to commit!
1. Schedule Workouts:
Well it certainly doesn’t seem like rocket science to book in your workouts, it does require a conscious commitment for how you plan to spend your time during the hectic holiday weeks. This tactic tends to work even better if you’ve got an accountability partner like a workout buddy or personal trainer, or if you’re required to book into a system that penalizes no-shows. Don’t overcommit yourself. But also be true to your word and don’t miss a workout if you say you’ll be there. In the end, making time for your workouts (even a modified mini-version like the 7 minute workout we posted here) will leave you feeling more energized, happier and more resilient to manage holiday stress!
2. Prioritize Sleep:
With so many social gatherings, events and responsibilities, on top of all of the last minute running around, it can be easy to scrimp on sleep. Yet when we don’t catch enough zzzzz’s, our health goes awry. On top of feeling exhausted, unfocused, moody and stressed – missed sleep negatively affects our hormones. Studies show that when the body doesn’t get enough sleep, the hormone ‘Leptin’ which is responsible for regulating our appetite is negatively impacted. Of course, lack of sleep also impacts our stress hormones and exercise recovery too, which means the less sleep you’re getting over the holidays the further you’ll be moving away from reaching your workout goals. Top tip for getting more sleep is setting an alarm for bedtime. It may seem silly, but it forces a conscious decision around appropriate sleep times. It also helps to get up early for those scheduled workouts!
3. Supplement to Beat Stress:
When the body lives in the stressful state of ‘fight or flight’ it’s forced to use up extra nutrients. These nutrients create the the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, along with all of the other neurotransmitters involved in the stress response. Also, during heavy periods of stress, the digestive system functions are suppressed which means nutrient absorption is reduced. What’s worse, is that when we don’t replace these nutrients, or when coping with the stress involves things like extra caffeine, stimulants, alcohol or junk food, the body goes into further depletion. This causes the stress cycle to continue! But, it’s the stressful times that we need to take extra care because a more nourished the body is more able to cope and adapt! Stress-supportive nutrients are multifunctional, meaning they’ll make you more resilient to stress and will also benefit your workouts!
- Magnesium: Also known as the “relaxation mineral,” it is one of the most abundant minerals in our system. It’s helpful for supporting sleep, relaxation and mood. As a natural muscle relaxant it can help relieve sore and tense muscles as well.
- B-Complex Vitamins: In contrast to Magnesium’s relaxing qualities, the group of B-vitamins, are often dubbed the “anti-stress vitamins” and tend to help most people feel more energized. They work closely with the central nervous system and aid in the production of the neurotransmitters that help with relaxation.
- Vitamin C: Although well known for supporting the immune system which is also necessary during times of stress, Vitamin C is required for the optimal function of the adrenal glands. It helps the body to quickly clear out the excess cortisol produced as a response to stress, which when overloaded, leads to even more stress and exhaustion. Added bonus, Vitamin C is a powerful free-radical blasting antioxidant that can reduce post workout inflammation in muscles and help fight oxidative damage caused from poor holiday food choices!
4. Eat Mindfully:
You already know that eating well is important to stay healthy and meet your goals – but you may not realize the extent to which it has an effect on your mood, your cravings and your motivation to meet the outlandish demands of the holiday season! Choosing not to throw in the towel for the entire holiday season and instead, mindfully prioritizing healthy food choices will help you to mitigate stress, leaving you to feel more balanced and also much less likely to binge at holiday events. Setting yourself up for healthy and mindful eating success looks like:
- Eating balanced meals and snacks during out the day: Don’t skimp on meals to ‘save’ your calories for more indulgent foods. This almost always backfires and leaves you feeling worse off as a result. When your blood sugars are balanced you’ll be less hungry and more likely to eat health-promoting foods.
- Batch cooking and meal prepping: Although the holiday season is super busy it’s still important to prioritize your weekly meal planning and prep. This routine is what helps you get away with the extra holiday indulgences while, still making sure you’re receiving all of the nutrients your body needs to thrive.
- Healthier holiday treats: There are literally tons of recipes available online that show you how to make your holiday treats healthier. Just by making a few simple swaps you can add nutrients and take away from the empty calories, while at the same time leaving you with a tasty indulgence.
5. Hack Your Hangover:
No one enjoys feeling like garbage the day after drinking. But, if alcoholic bevies are part of your holiday indulgences, there are specific ways to support your body. The perfect line up of supplements will help breakdown the alcohol, reduce your hangover and let you continue to crush your healthy holiday workouts:
- Chlorella: a form of algae found in many greens powders, it acts as a natural detoxifier which may help reduce your hangover
- B-Complex Vitamins: a group of water soluble vitamins that’ll help the body metabolize the alcohol more easily, take before drinking and also the morning after
- N- Acetyl Cysteine (NAC): a specialized amino acid that helps to promote the detoxification of the body
- Electrolytes: an important group of minerals that support fluid absorption and replenishment of lost minerals
Thriving (not just surviving) this holiday season is 100% possible. Making mindful and conscious decisions around scheduling your workouts, choosing to prioritize sleep, supplementing wisely, and eating well is where it’s at. C’mon in to ask how you can be supporting yourself the right nutrients during this stressful holiday season! Hit us up on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We are #ReflexNation.