The holidays can be a stressful time for many people. With work parties, family gatherings, Christmas shopping, and baking, it’s easy to get caught up in indulgences. Between the long days and busy weekends, your energy can get depleted a lot more quickly during the holiday season than other times of the year. More sugar consumption, added stress, and less sleep are a recipe for energy slumps and restless nights. Obviously, you can’t cancel the holidays. There are five things you can do to keep your energy up so you can enjoy this season to the fullest!
1. Maintain Proper Hydration
Did you know that one of the main symptoms of dehydration in adults is fatigue? There are enough things draining your energy during the holiday season—the last thing you need is to be dehydrated, too! Dizziness and confusion are also symptoms of dehydration. Keeping up with your water intake will help keep your body hydrated and, in turn, prevent dehydration-related fatigue.
The amount of water you should be consuming on a daily basis is dependent upon your age and gender. For men aged 19 and older, the Institute of Medicine recommends consuming 3.7 liters per day. For women aged 19 and older, it’s 2.7 liters per day. So fill up your cup and drink away! You can also consume water by eating water-rich foods like lettuce and cucumbers.
2. Eat More Greens
Heavy, high-fat foods are standard during the holiday season—just think about your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Then add all the baked goods! Thankfully, there is help to be found in green foods.
Leafy greens are essential for your body for many reasons. Specifically, they assist the natural detoxification process and increase energy. How do greens do this? The detoxification properties come from the fiber content. Greens like kale (0.9 g fiber per cup), Swiss chard (0.6 g fiber per cup), and collard greens (1.4 g fiber per cup) provide high amounts of fiber that naturally cleanse the digestive tract. The fiber is known as insoluble fiber, which isn’t digested by the body so it creates more bulk in your stool. This clears out your digestive tract and keeps your system moving to prevent constipation. The less backed up your system is, the lighter you will feel! Leafy greens also contain iron, which aids your cells in producing energy.
3. Minimize Your Consumption of Empty Calories
Alcoholic beverages, cream puffs, sugar cookies, cinnamon rolls—the list of foods that are calorically dense goes on and on. However, they are considered “empty calories” because they are void of real nutrients, especially when it comes to alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates the body because it’s a diuretic, and it requires detoxification in the liver. This is extra work for your body and will deplete your energy during the holidays. Can you say holiday hangover?
The same rings true with the baked goods. High in sugar and fat, these foods will wreak havoc on your energy levels. They are calories your body has to burn and digest without receiving any nutrients. You don’t have to skip your favorite holiday treats—just don’t go overboard!
4. Cultivate Efficient Digestion
If you want to maintain good energy during the holidays, focus on efficient digestion. Good digestion is key to high energy. Sixty percent of the body’s overall daily energy expenditure goes to resting metabolism (aka digestion). So if you want abundant energy, it only makes sense that digestion should be a main focus, especially when the holidays are filled with foods that put stress on the digestive system like gluten-filled desserts and high-fat animal products.
Keeping the digestive system moving efficiently will allow for more energy on a daily basis. As previously mentioned, fiber is helpful for cleansing the digestive tract to prevent backup and constipation. Here are a few other ways to support digestion during the holiday season:
- Drink lemon water upon waking in the morning to stimulate metabolism.
- Eat a fiber-filled breakfast.
- Drink ginger tea after meals to help aid digestion of your food.
Proper hydration also helps digestion, so as the first tip mentioned, stay hydrated.
5. Focus on What Matters Most
When it comes to energy, the more energy you give to negativity and stress, the less energy you have for what’s most important. And isn’t that what the holidays are all about—focusing on what’s important? Like family, friends, giving, love, and cherishing the special moments. Don’t get caught up worrying about the perfect gift to buy or having the fanciest holiday party. In the big picture, those things don’t matter. What matters most is the effect you have on other people, your relationships, and the memories you make. Stress depletes your energy and hampers your digestion.
If you want have good energy this holiday season, enjoy the simple things, get plenty of rest, and focus on what matters most in your life.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
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