As the party season moves at a roaring pace, I’m thinking it’s time to check ourselves and be a little less of the ‘can do it all’ people we can often try to be this time of year, and find ways to get to January feeling energised and excited, rather than with totally shot adrenals! Here are 12 things we can start today, to make sure we have the energy to enjoy our holidays, and to protect our health. Add your tips if you like and share the wisdom.
1. Sleep. I’d be a fool to suggest we could all get ample sleep in December every night. So here’s my suggestion: Make a commitment to getting 3 great night’s sleep a week until Christmas, early if possible too, like say 10.00pm. If you’re not passionate about a particular party, leave early. If your partner can start work later one morning here and there, to take the kids while you get more rest: DO IT! Half the week means you at least have something to carry you through the late nights and the go go go days.
2. Drink a good couple of glasses of filtered or natural mineral water, before every function – A busy afternoon and then hitting a function thirsty, means you’ll be drinking that champagne a lil’ too quickly. Slow yourself down at least, by not actually being thirsty! Another tip here: Really think about whether you like the taste of the alcohol being served if you drink. I had the biggest aha a few years ago to basically avoid cheap wine at functions. I’d much prefer a refreshing mineral water than a bad glass of wine!
3. Up your liver cleansing foods. Here they are if you don’t know them already. Bitter greens, garlic, grapefruit, avocados, ginger, dandelion greens, turmeric… If you feel you need added liver support, go see your naturopath at the local health store or in clinic and get a potion mixed for you for the season – it’s not a license to drink loads, but it is support for a time of the year that we do drink more than usual, or more often.
4. Make a bulk batch of green smoothies and veggie juices on a Sunday, pop into jars & defrost each day, for a nice big dose of nutrients & vitamins. Often if we’re having canapé dinners, we can feel we’ve not had enough veg ( I always feel a leafy green deficit if I haven’t had a salad or veggies at dinner), so having your veg insurance ready to go means you’re planned and you get your daily pep up from them no matter how busy.
5. Find time to lie down. Learnt this one from my naturopath and it’s fabulous! Sometime during the day between 11am and 3pm, lie down (maybe book a meeting room if you’re in an office, or if you’re a small business, why not encourage the whole team to do it? For the mums and dads, popping on your little ones’ favourite show should give you the time) The exercise is to lie flat, with a pillow under your knees and feet, so they’re raised a little higher than your head. Just breathe for 15-20 minutes. Nothing else. No reading. Chilled music is fine. Focus on your breath in and out. First time I did it I thought to myself ‘Gee, that’s got to have been 20 minutes by now. It had been 6!’ This exercise alone recovers your adrenals by up to 90%.
6. Get a home cooked food stash happening. Make a commitment to prep for an hour on a quiet night of the week, before the madness. Activate nuts for high energy on-the-go snacks, make double or even triple of something like a soup or stew, and portion for defrosting on those nights you come home at 10pm, starving and wanting to reach for anything available. Do a couple of lamb shoulders in one go, and portion up. Rinse and chop your veggies on a Sunday, so they’re ready to plop into a steamer at a moment’s notice. Cut up a bunch of crudités so you have easy snacks or tasting plate supplements ready to go for a simple meal.
7. Take Epsom salt baths when possible. If you don’t have to wash your hair and you’re getting ready for a party, why not take a 10 minute bath and do some breathing. Pure epsom salts are the key to health benefits, and add a few drops of rosemary oil into a tsp of olive oil to dilute it before putting it in the bath, for ultimate muscle relaxation yet pick me up all at the same time. 1/2 cup of magnesium flakes or epsom salts is brilliant to chill the kids out in their bath this time of year, too. If you just want to relax completely minus the invigoration aspect of rosemary, you could go with good ol’ lavender and I find Myrrh, Vetiver, Stress Away, Peace and Calming and Valor to all be amazing go to’s for deep relaxation. I love my Young Living oils but use what you use and are drawn to when wanting to relax.
8. Choose your canapés wisely. Stay awaaaaaay from anything deep fried – the odd piece of chilli salt squid is heaven, don’t get me wrong, but as a rule if there are lots of events and catch ups, keep them to an every now and then leaves you less likely to have tummy issues from too much deep fried stuff. Hit the nutrient dense, simple ingredient canapés like the oysters and the vegetable and fish ones. Meatballs are another good simple one.
9. Choose your drinks wisely. Spirit + soda + fresh lime is a great default party drink being very low sugar; 3 G+T’s and you’ve had over 20tsp sugar in one night! Organic / biodynamic wines are awesome too. Without the added 220 sulphites and pesticides, your body will thank you! By all means enjoy a champagne or two but if the cocktails are flowing, say you’d like yours with a little less sugar syrup and a top of soda – that’s double forgiveness for your body & you still get to have a party! We do much better and feel much better if we don’t drink more than 2-3 drinks at a party. Alternate drinks with mineral water to space out well!
10. It’s ok to say no and structure some down time. Look at the calendar. If it’s too much, if it’s every night, if it makes you tense just looking at it, imagine what your body feels like actually DOING it. Liberate yourself and be kind to your body with a no here and there. Don’t replace the no with something hectic. Make it a quiet night of comfy clothes, dvds, cooking and pottering at home.
11. Start the day with 5 minutes of stretching and breathing AND with 40ml pure Aloe juice or 1/2 lemon in water. Even if you’re feeling heavy, these little practices will get you en route to feeling lighter!
12. Schedule some quality nature time. There is nothing that recalibrates like a walk in the forest, a swim in a lake or the ocean, the sand between your toes, a walk through the snow… whatever the season, some quality time in the elements makes you weather the holiday busy, much better!
January 2013 (when I first wrote this post!) will be awesome and full of energy if we look after ourselves now. Because we’re worth it!
Real Food. Low Tox Living. Enjoy December!