Do you ever feel like you need a vacation after your holiday break?
This time of year is jam-packed with frantic, food-filled holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas. These holidays are a great time to get together with family and reconnect with friends. But, sometimes, with the travel and hectic activities, the holidays can end up not feeling like much of a vacation at all.
Avoid trying to bounce back into the hustle of real life immediately. It's better to use these eight tips to help your mind and body detox after the holidays. You'll experience greater success by taking a longer-term approach to incorporating some of these as daily habits.
Sleep is an essential part of your day. Adults are recommended to get about 8 hours of sleep every night. As your holidays wind down, use the last few days to make sure you're fully caught up on sleep before you go back to your regular daily routine.
Reset your body's energy levels with some light exercise this year and avoid that sleepy, dull dragging period that often follows the holidays.
You don't have to start running marathons, but taking up some light exercise after a holiday can help you reset both physically and mentally. Physical fitness doesn't have to entail sprinting miles on a treadmill or lifting heavy weights. A short brisk walk or some light jogging can be just as good for your health1. Activities like crafting, gardening, or even cleaning can get your heart rate going, and your muscles stretched out.
Meditation is a useful activity to practice at any time of the year. Still, during and after the holidays it can be especially powerful. A lot is going through our minds during the holidays, and we carry a lot more stress than we may realize. Set some time aside, even just five or ten minutes, to check in with your body.
There are a lot of different ways to meditate. You can choose to follow a guided meditation, join a meditation group, or lock yourself in your bedroom with your favorite music. Setting up a meditation schedule and trying to meditate several times a week is ideal, but if you only have time for one session, do it at the end of the holiday season.
The holidays can be stressful. There's a lot of forced interactions with friends and family. Use the holidays as a way to help improve relationships with those in your life. Sometimes the cool-down period after a big holiday can be the most helpful here. Engage with your loved ones, even after the holidays have ended, and genuinely share highlights from your time together.
Remember the Earth this holiday season. After weeks of food, partying, and materialism, take some time to recenter yourself. Remind yourself of the important things and do something to give back to the planet.
Plant a tree (or sponsor a tree if it's too cold to plant where you live), clean up litter, recycle. Anything that gives back to the environment will find its way back to you in time. Activities like these contribute to improving your environmental wellness2.
Take the time to reset your environment before you jump back into your daily routine. The holidays can get somewhat hectic, so make sure you give yourself time to get organized.
Entering back into a regular schedule with a bunch of disorganized holiday clutter holding you back can add to your stress and lower your productivity. If you want to feel genuinely refreshed before you get back to real life, take the time to declutter your home or at least a part of it.
If you have somehow managed to escape the holidays without any clutter, then consider organizing something additional. Put together a calendar or a schedule for yourself. Draft up a vision board or anything else that allows you to put your life in perspective. Journaling or other creative pursuits can also fill this void.
Most of us indulge a bit over the holidays when it comes to our diets. There are several different ways you can get back on track towards healthy eating after splurging on the carbs and sweets. Some people swear by intermittent fasting while others hit the gym.
One of the most helpful things you can do to reset your body after a meal-heavy holiday is to load up on plant-based foods3. Stock your dinners and lunches full of vegetables. You'll get plenty of energy while keeping the calorie count low. Not to mention the essential nutrients that come from most edible plants.
Perhaps the most indulgent option on this list. If you have access to a sauna, book yourself a short stay after the holidays. Not only is it relaxing on your muscles, but your mind will enjoy the reprieve, as well. Deep sweating can help flush out literal toxins like bacteria and chemicals4. Even if you haven't been working out, you can still get a lot of benefits from a relaxing sauna visit. Just make sure you don't overstay your time in the sauna and keep yourself hydrated.
(1) Warner J; Reviewed by Chang L, MD (2012 Aug) 30 Minutes of Daily Exercise Enough to Shed Pounds
(2) Amaya M, PhD, CHES; Melnyk B, PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN; Neale S, MFA (2018 Sept) Environmental wellness
(3) Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (2018) What Should I Eat? Vegetables and Fruits
(4) Reviewed by Amin S, MD, CAQ, FAAFP (2019 April) The Health Benefits of Sweating