No matter your background, your religion or your beliefs, it seems that the festive season takes its toll on all of us. Whether it’s too much food, too much drink, too much emotional stress – or a combination of the three – it’s common to fall prey to these holiday health hazards.
Luckily, there are some pretty simple things you can do to help you bounce back quickly. Here are six things you can do to help you recover from festive overload:
You know this one already. Water will help to counter the effects of excess alcohol and rich foods. It will help reduce bloating and puffiness. It will help you to flush any toxins out of your system faster. If you only do one thing, make it this one.
You also know this one, right? But at this time of year, it’s an easy one to skip. Especially for us in the Southern Hemisphere – it’s summer, it’s warm, you may not be going back to work for another four or five weeks – you want to kick back, have some fun, stay up late and sleep in.
But even the tiniest adjustment to your sleep routine can put lots of your bodily functions out of whack – and that can take weeks to get back under control again. As much as you can, maintain the same sleep patterns as normal. And if you find you are losing out on sleep, listen to a Yoga Nidra meditation every day (get mine here for free).
Eat cleansing foods
Some foods are more powerful than others at cleansing the body. Add in lots of leafy greens, in fact lots of green veggies. And choose some plant-based proteins (beans and legumes) to help with digestion and elimination – these are best combined with a grain such as rice, as you’ll get all the amino acids you need to boost liver performance (a vital necessity for most of us, yes even yoga teachers!).
I don’t mind how you move your body, as long as you move it somehow – yoga, walking, playing on the beach – whatever tickles your fancy.
If you choose yoga – remember, it doesn’t have to be formal and organised – you don’t have to do an hour with a teacher for it to count. Just do a couple of your favourite poses on the floor when you wake up, or before you go to bed. Legs-Up-The-Wall pose is an absolute winner for any kind of physical or emotional overload.
And if it all feels a bit too much, make it really small and simple – maybe try a 100-step walk after dinner, five circuits around the kitchen bench or ten star-jumps with the kids.
Just move your body in whatever way feels good.
Remember you are good enough
Emotional stress is a big factor in festive overload. You’re suddenly surrounded by people who you might spend most of the year avoiding. You might be bombarded with more people than you prefer to be around. Maybe they’re all invading your space in your home, or perhaps you’re feeling uncomfortable in theirs. Old wounds get re-opened, toxic family patterns re-emerge and it all just makes you feel bleugh.
As soon as you feel any kind of emotional stress appearing, pop to the loo, take five minutes and say to yourself “I am good enough” and repeat this mantra over and over again. Breathe slowly and deeply, and re-emerge from the bathroom as a whole new person – ready to tackle anything!
Once all the festivities are done and dusted, it’s easy to give yourself a hard time about what you did or didn’t do.
Perhaps you shouldn’t have eaten so much, or had that last drink.
Maybe you shouldn’t have said that thing to your mum, or you should have been nicer to your sister.
Whatever it is – let it go. Your body is designed to cope with you not being 100% perfect all of the time! Trust that it will break down the foods and cope with the toxins.
Your mind is a little trickier – it loves to churn over and over things that you did or said, or didn’t do, or didn’t say.
Again, let it go. You are a normal human being, doing the best you can, with the tools available to you in the moment. Notice how you feel and acknowledge the feeling. Breathe slowly and deeply, give yourself a hug, and forgive yourself. You deserve it.