Even though we all look forward to holiday celebrations, the feasting and activity can certainly take a toll on our physical and mental health. The crowds at the mall, the chaos of big family get-togethers, the pressure of gift giving … by the end of the holiday season, many of us can burn ourselves out. While you should surround yourself with loved ones, once the holidays pass by, make time to focus on you. Use the following five tips to recuperate after a busy holiday season.
1. Take Time to De-Stress
The holiday season should be a peaceful time, but let's face it — you face loud parties, talkative family members, and kids screaming with excitement as they open gifts. While those sounds might bring you joy, you deserve some quiet time to yourself after the festivities.
Stress often climbs during the holiday season, despite our best efforts. In order to fully recuperate, you need to find ways to de-stress. Below are a few of the most effective stress-reduction strategies:
Cut Out Distractions
Do you usually watch TV, check the weather online, and make your child's lunch all while eating breakfast? Are notifications on your phone constantly calling you? These daily situations don't need to be chaotic or overwhelming. Find ways to eliminate distractions so you can be more mindful throughout the day. Wake up a few minutes earlier to sip your morning coffee in peace. Turn the phone on silent when you arrive home from work. Swap your evening TV programs for a new book. These small habits can make a big difference and you'll notice how often you're less distracted so you can relax and enjoy activities one at a time.
Go Outside in The Morning
The journey from your front door to your car doesn't count. Even for only 10 minutes, a daily walk or jog will help you get back on schedule after crazy weeks of sleeping in and staying up late. Don't go out too early, however: Expose yourself to sunlight each morning. If you leave for work in the early morning darkness, try to take a quick outdoor morning break while you're at work.
Relax with Aromatherapy
Aroma can be effective for creating a calming, soothing atmosphere. Despite the fancy name, aromatherapy is easy to do on your own at home. Find a few essential oils and an aromatherapy diffuser for a de-stressing environment. For those new to aromatherapy, the following are a few essential oil suggestions for eliminating stress: lavender, peppermint, cedar wood, and chamomile.
For some, meditating can seem unfamiliar. But this practice has become popular in recent years, an easy way to create a stress-free moment in the day. While you can definitely sit cross-legged, surround yourself with candles, and chant "ohm," you don't have only one way to meditate. All you need is a quiet place and a few moments to yourself. You can close your eyes, sit and stare, or even do a mindless activity, such as folding laundry. Focus your thoughts on something that makes you feel calm. Try to block out distractions, worries, or competing ideas — stay focused on your chosen train of thought. Whether 30 seconds or 15 minutes, you'll likely feel better after a few minutes of meditation.
Improve Your Sleeping Patterns
When you're tired, everything you do gets affected. Is it any wonder why lack of sleep can cause stress? While you may find getting back into a regular sleep routine tough after the holidays, you shouldn't overlook its benefits.
People often mistakenly spend too much time using their phones, tablets, and computers before bed. The lighting emitted from these devices can actually suppress melatonin, which keeps you awake longer. Another mistake is drinking alcohol after dinner; the alcohol can disturb your REM sleep. To get back on track with your sleep schedule, start a calming bedtime routine that includes taking a warm bath, reading a book, or sipping some noncaffeinated tea. Then, make sure you get in bed on time to get a good night's rest.
With many approaches to de-stressing exist, don't despair if one of the methods doesn't work for you. Shrug off what didn't work and try something else. Once you find a technique to help you clear the stress from your mind, try to incorporate it into your daily or weekly routine. You'll be surprised how well de-stressing helps when you start to feel balanced in the weeks that follow.
2. Give Your Skin Some TLC
In addition to holiday stress, several other factors can wreck your skin during this time of year. Winter's dry air and frigid temperatures can leave skin flaky and coarse, while poor eating habits can contribute to skin irritations and breakouts. With the following tips, however, you can keep common winter skin care issues in check and revel in a healthy glow throughout the year:
Look for Natural Alternatives
Chemicals and other harsh ingredients in typical skin care products can be rough on your skin, especially in the winter. These products often strip your skin's natural protective barrier, exposing it to harsh winter weather. To avoid this problem, use skin care products with natural ingredients, such as green tea, Vitamin C, and coconut oil.
Boost Your Moisturizer
Winter makes most people prone to dry skin. To make sure you don't end up with flaky, scaly skin, apply moisturizers regularly. Don't wait until your skin feels dry and tight to moisturize; instead, incorporate regular applications into your daily routine to combat dryness before it starts. In addition, consider using skin oils to help nourish your skin.
Sunscreen is closely associated with summer, which unfortunately causes many people to completely forget about wearing sunscreen during the winter months. You still need protection from the sun's rays, even if the sun isn't out as long each day. Applying sunscreen is especially important if you'll be out in the snow, since snow amplifies the sun's effects. Choose a face moisturizer or primer with built-in sunscreen to ensure that you don't forget this step. Then, apply sunscreen to any other exposed areas before heading outside.
Protect Your Lips
Dry, cracked lips are especially common in winter. To keep them protected, apply lip balm regularly, especially before going outside. If your lips are having trouble healing, use a gentle exfoliation product on them to get your lips looking lovely again.
3. Get Your Eating Habits Back On Track
Eating healthy might seem impossible during the holidays. Everywhere you turn, you find sweets, alcoholic drinks, and heavy meals. Fortunately, getting back in the habit of healthier choices doesn't have to be difficult. Below are three simple steps:
- Start every day with a nourishing breakfast. When you make smart food choices with your breakfast, you'll make healthier food choices throughout the day and cut back on unnecessary snacking. Prepare a smoothie packed with nutrient-dense ingredients, such as spinach or berries.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: A great way to restore your vigor is to drink plenty of water. Water can be helpful if you indulge in a little more alcohol than usual over the holidays. Ensuring you drink enough water helps you feel rejuvenated and alert while also helping your body detoxify after all the holiday indulgences.
- Go all natural: Since natural products are best for your skin, they can also be best for your body. After a holiday season full of sugary treats and comfort foods rich in calories and fat, go back to the basics by focusing on eating unprocessed foods. Look for vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and other healthy, wholesome options. Eat natural foods to help you recover quickly from the holidays, especially if you're trying to shed some holiday weight.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand: Those sugary sweets you had over the holidays could affect your cravings for weeks afterwards. If you feel like you may be tempted into making unhealthy food choices, make sure you always have a healthy snack option close at hand. A piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, or a cup of yogurt with granola all provide great options for a quick fix when you get hungry between meals.
4. Stay Active to Feel Energized
Winter months can dampen your exercise plans. When the cold weather arrives, you can be tempted to curl up under a blanket and binge-watch your favorite TV shows. But inactivity won't help you recuperate from the holidays. Instead, cut back on the TV time and spend more time exercising. In addition to helping you stay healthy and fit, exercise can reduce tension and fatigue, two symptoms which often go together after a hectic holiday season.
Not sure where to start? Similar to our suggestions for de-stressing, what works great for one person might not work for you. Don't be afraid to try out some different physical activities until you find one that best suits your lifestyle. You could run, jog, swim, ride a bike, lift weights, or practice yoga. While joining a fitness class can often work for beginners, you may decide to check out spinning, Zumba, Pilates, kickboxing, or barre classes. If you think committing to a regular exercise routine will be a challenge, find a workout partner who can help you stay motivated and encourage you in your fitness efforts.
5. Pamper Yourself for a Boost of Confidence
Focusing on your physical and mental health is important when you need to return to your regular routine after the holidays. But sometimes, splurging on ourselves can help us feel better. After a season full of giving to others, do something for yourself. You need to take time to treat yourself, so don't feel guilty about making that time a priority in your schedule. Consider the following good ideas for pampering yourself:
Enjoy a Spa Day
A spa day always works wonders and can help you feel like royalty. Have others work on making you feel radiant while you close your eyes and relax. If time or money presents an issue, go with a single treatment or indulge in a manicure or pedicure.
Set a Salon Appointment
Great hair can make anyone feel more confident. Get a new haircut, a fresh color, a blowout, or a conditioning hair treatment. For a frugal alternative or for easy upkeep at home, use a hair mask, such as an argan oil hair mask, made with effective, natural ingredients. This mask provides deep conditioning for damaged hair, strengthening and protecting your hair from excessive heat and styling treatments.
Treat Yourself to a Shopping Spree
You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to feel like you've spoiled yourself. Instead, use one of the gift cards you may have received for Christmas and buy something nice for yourself. Get that book you've wanted to read, pick up a cozy new sweater, or order takeout from your favorite restaurant. Savor the feeling of doing something completely for you that you wouldn't normally do.
Schedule and Guard Your Free Time
This last point might sound revolutionary, but have you ever thought of scheduling some free time for yourself? Think about this idea — when was the last time you did exactly what you wanted to do?
Ideally, you'll be able to get the house to yourself or have an afternoon free to go wherever you like. At home, take a nap, watch your favorite movie, or make time for a much-needed catch-up with your best friend on the phone. If you prefer to go out, consider a beach day, a matinée of that movie you've wanted to see, or quiet time with a book at your favorite coffee shop. This time must be free from chores, errands, and obligations — make it 100% "me" time.
If you feel like you're deep in a post-holiday funk, these ideas and techniques tips can help you let go of lingering holiday stress, take care of your body, and carve out some time for yourself. With some effort on your part, you can help yourself rebound from a hectic holiday season.