Your Guide to Maximizing Your Energy Over the Holidays
December 21st, 2011
I love the holidays! It’s a great time to relax and spend time with our families and friends. Unfortunately, Christmas has gotten a little too crazy lately. There are too many parties and gifts to buy. What is supposed to be a joyful time becomes a time of obligations and exhaustion.
Using the Energy Management system is useful at any time but particularly at Christmas. It can be easy to over-indulge but we need to remind ourselves of the long-term effects of our actions. Staying healthy and energetic is a year-long process that requires us to be mindful of our energy.
It’s possible to still enjoy the holidays and maximize your energy with a few guidelines.
6 Tips to Maximize Your Energy During the Holidays
1) Reduce Sources of Stress
I think one of the main sources of stress around Christmas is wanting to make sure everything is perfect. We spend so much time worrying about the perfect present, if everyone will be happy, if the house will be decorated and everything will go smoothly.
We need to learn to let go of the small things and things out of our control. Let go and let god (or the universe) fill our lives with peace and joy.
If you are trying to control or influence the actions of another, stop and ask yourself, “what if it was alright?” Let yourself think of the good possibilities that could happen and stop wasting your energy by worrying about something that you can’t control.
2) Schedule Rejuvenation Time
With all the craziness of the holidays make sure to leave room in your schedule to have some quiet time to clear your mind. Read a book or take some time to mediate. Meditation has been shown to lower stress, improve mental health and improve sleep quality.
The holidays should leave you refreshed and ready to tackle the New Year. Consider this your time to recharge.
3) Be Mindful of Your Food & Alcohol Consumption
While there are studies that show that red wine and chocolate have health benefits, that is only in moderation. Red wine in particular contains high levels of the sleep hormone melatonin and can make you sleepy but alcohol can also disturb your sleep so that you don’t feel well rested even after a full night of sleep.
As you well know, even just a bit too much alcohol can affect you the next morning. The resulting low energy day can make you behind on other things and leave you feeling stressed and anxious.
Indulging in too many sugary treats can lead to a sugar rush and inevitable crash which leaves you feeling tired and sluggish. Eat before going to parties to help resist temptation and fill your plate with fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
4) Don’t Forget to Exercise
While the holidays are busy, exercising can give you an immediate energy boost and help you avoid gaining holiday pounds.
Don’t fall into the trap of perfection and skip exercise just because you can’t get in enough work-outs. Exercise doesn’t have to happen in a gym, go for a walk as a family after Christmas dinner or have a snowball fight. Any amount or type of exercise is beneficial and will help you maintain or improve your fitness.
5) Schedule in Sleep
Getting enough sleep is absolutely vital to maintaining your energy levels. After just two days of inadequate sleep, one study found that participants had more of the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin and less of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin. Being tired makes you more likely to reach for junk food, which in turn, makes you even more tired.
A lack of sleep can also increase your levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Increased cortisol has been linked to increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose.
Insufficient sleep also compromises your immune system leaving your more vulnerable to infections and viruses. Nobody wants to spend Christmas fighting a cold, so do your best to get enough rest.
If you can make a habit of getting enough sleep on a regular basis you will have a much easier time recovering from a late night compared to someone who is chronically sleep deprived.
6) Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude reminds of how much we truly have to be thankful. After counting our blessings we are more likely to be kind to our spouses, children and friends. By focussing on what we have instead of what we want, we can live in the moment and have a positive mindset. There is even evidence that gratitude is strongly associated with physical well-being.
When trying to manage your energy over the holidays don’t think of it as a restrictive set of rules. Following a few simple guidelines will help you truly enjoy this time of year and feel relaxed and rejuvenated by the end.
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