Beat Holiday Burnout

It’s just days before Christmas and surprise: I have not bought a single gift, have not decorated my Christmas tree, haven’t sent holiday cards and certainly have no Christmas baking done. If you didn’t know me you might think I was the Grinch!

This is typical—leaving everything to the last minute—and it does absolutely nothing but make me frantic and increase my levels of stress at a time of year that is already insanely busy.

How do I make it through and how can you too? Read on and you’ll discover a few tips to keep your holiday cheer from turning into “sour grapes.”

1.) Make sleep a priority. Even if your days are hectic, starting with a good night’s rest will make things so much more manageable. Try to keep your sleep schedule on track by getting up and going to bed at the same time each day. Going to bed before 11pm is really helpful because your body tends to recuperate from stress during the hours of 11pm to 1am.

I know, you’re probably thinking “But what about late night holiday parties; how can I still keep the same sleeping pattern when I am up past my bedtime?”

According to our sleep expert, Dr. Gregg Jacobs, on the day following a party “sleeping in is okay for folks who don't have problems sleeping since this is the easiest way to make up for lost sleep. However, people who have sleep problems may have problems falling or staying asleep if they arise more than an hour later than normal. In their case, sleeping in is okay, but only for an hour. If they are still tired during the day, take a half hour nap in the afternoon. Then go to bed at the usual time.” So there you have it. You can have a few parties without sacrificing your sleep. Good news!

2.) Watch your “hot toddy” intake. Now that you have the okay for a few late night parties that doesn’t mean you should stay up all night boozing! Alcohol is empty calories, tends to make us overeat because of its propensity to lower blood sugar levels after consumption, and depletes B vitamins essential for combating stress, and maintaining energy levels, your mood and metabolism. Women should watch their intake as more than 1.5 glasses of wine at one time is not health promoting, nor is more than 4 glasses per week. For men, 2.5 glasses is the max that should be taken in one evening. Always take a B complex before going to bed after having alcohol and if you find drinking has disrupted your sleep in the past, have some protein before going to bed to prevent the drop in blood sugar which causes an increase in the release of stimulating stress hormones (cortisol) that wake us up.

3.) This one may be tough: Keep exercising! The key I find is to do short workouts (less than 30 minutes). Short workouts are easier to stick with, are less boring and can be just as effective if done at the right intensity. Over the holidays, get an exercise buddy and schedule workouts so that you can go together. I’ve started working out with a girlfriend and it’s week seven, we are still on track and having a ton of fun. Exercising will help negate the effects of extra calories we all tend to consume at this time of year. It prevents depression and keeps your energy levels high, too.

4.) Increase energy through the day by taking a green food supplement. Greens+ is one supplement that has been proven, in research studies through the University of Toronto, to increase energy levels and improve mental function. When you are constantly on the go, this is a simple, quick and easy thing that you can do each morning for a boost.

5.) Reduce stress with Relora. The herbal blend called Relora has been found in studies to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and to increase our anti-stress and anti-aging hormone DHEA. Taking three caps per day can help to prevent burnout, as well as stress related eating over the holidays.

6.) Simply take your vitamin C. Vitamin C is rapidly depleted when we’re under stress, which can leave us susceptible to infections. Take 500 – 1000mg three to four times per day over the holidays to prevent deficiencies and to maintain a healthy immune system. Put them in a zip lock baggie in your pocket to take throughout the day. Be sure to choose one which contains bioflavonoids, they are much more effective.

7.) Start your day with a protein shake and your TrueBASICS. This will maximize energy levels, prevent sugar cravings later in the day, aid weight loss and ward off colds. Even if the rest of your day is off at least you will have a good start.

8.) Beat depression and the holiday blues with 5-HTP. 5-HTP is 5-hydroxy-tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, our “happy hormone.” Serotonin works to help prevent depression, food cravings specifically for carbohydrates and improves our sleep. The typical dose is 50–200mg at bedtime. This product should be taken for four weeks to reach full effectiveness.

I hope these tips help you to stay resilient and vibrant this holiday season but finally, I wish to remind you to be careful and take your time when hanging ornaments. Statistics show that the holidays are one of the worst times of the year for accidents in the home as falls tend to happen while hanging decorations. Being tired from too many late nights and a hectic shopping schedule is much more fun than being laid up with broken bones.

Happy holidays!