The alarm blares and shocks you awake from not enough sleep last night. You drag your stiff, achy body out of bed after hitting snooze a few times, and now you’re running late. Not enough time for breakfast – guess you’ll just grab coffee at work.
You dive right into emails and work – only to find that 2 hours later you’re starving. So you grab a muffin or whatever processed food snack is nearby and eat at your desk while you continue work. When lunch arrives, you’re not super hungry since you just ate; instead you head out to buy Christmas presents during your lunch break. Then around 4:00 you crash. Starving, exhausted, brain fog. Again, time for more coffee and sugar to give you the push you need to make it through your final hours at work.
You get home and peer into the fridge to find nothing to eat for dinner. Guess you’ll just have to survive on the appetizers at tonight’s Holiday Party. After a few glasses of wine, some chips and salsa, and a large slice of cake, you head home, a bit later than expected. You’re all wound up from the party, so you sit in front of the TV and get into a Netflix haze. You head to the bedroom too late for your 8 hours of sleep, but you do what you can before you have to wake up and do it all over again tomorrow.
Sound familiar? Even those of us with the best intentions and good habits the rest of the year can fall into this crazy holiday mode. A few days, or weeks, of this kind of schedule runs down your immune system, making it harder to fight off infections, stresses your body, and causes pain and inflammation. Fortunately, there is a way around it. Live by these four principles during the holiday season and you’ll come out on the other side healthy, happy, and ready to face the New Year head on.
Learn the top Four Tips for Holiday Survival
It’s ok to go to a Holiday party or two, have a glass of wine and your favorite sweet treat. Choose the engagements that you are most excited about and turn down the rest. And you’re not ruining your entire life by indulging in a decadent dinner occasionally. The trick to moderation is to choose wisely what your indulgences will be, and to enjoy them to the fullest.
This goes for exercise, too. Instead of sitting at a desk all day, then cramming your exercise into a 30 minute hardcore workout session is exhausting, not to mention how easy it is to injure yourself. Spread out your movement through the day and week, and don’t push too hard.
2. Say No
You are not Superwoman (or Superman). People expect so much from you, and you expect a lot from yourself as well. But sometimes you just have to turn down that invitation, or say no to the extra work that comes your way. It’s ok if not everything gets done right now.
3. Plan Ahead
Getting in good home cooked meals and enough sleep is so much harder this time of year. Plan your meals in advance, and get groceries for the whole week. Then cook up a few big meals, making enough for leftovers, and keep them in the fridge for when you’re hungry with not enough time to cook.
Planning works for sleep, too. Set a bedtime, and stick to it! Creating a bedtime routine that you do every night is one way to remind your body that it’s time for bed, even if you’re going to bed at different times every night.
4. Take Care of You
You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. Take a bath, get an acupuncture treatment, or curl up with a cup of tea and a good book. It may seem like you don’t have time for that right now – but if you don’t do it now, your body will force you to slow down by making you sick.
Do you tend to run yourself ragged this time of year? What else do you do to keep your health and sanity? Tell us in the comments below!
Elizabeth Allen is an acupuncturist in Greenville, South Carolina, specializing in pain management, women’s health, and psycho-emotional issues. She’s passionate about helping people feel their best and sharing her wealth of knowledge with the community. Elizabeth is the owner of AcuMed Spa, on Wade Hampton Boulevard. Appointments can be made by calling 864-451-4313, or scheduled online here.