Getting your health back after the holidays

January 27, 2016, 1:48pm

By Deidre Kwenani, Wellness Advisor for Ndapunikwa Investments
Photo: athleteafterword.com  

If you are reading this it means you made it through the holiday season. Congratulations; this is not an easy task!

The holidays are usually a fun-filled, happy time, but as everything in the universe has balance, the holidays have likely caused a disruption in your personal balance. Your typical schedule was off, your eating and exercising habits were affected, and your excitement and enthusiasm surrounding festivities has come to a full stop, possibly causing a bit of a depressed mood.

Your physical person may be intact (hopefully!), but the extra food and holiday treats; alcoholic beverages; and holiday stress has played a role and you now may be feeling a bit tired (and/or depressed).

You are probably back to work now, which can cause extra exhaustion, so let's talk about some things you can do to combat this unwanted after-holiday lethargy?

Here is a list of common ways to get some of that energy back!

1. GET ACTIVE: Usually 20-30 minutes of exercise a few days per week will do the trick. If you want a daily energy boost, spend at least ten minutes engaging in intentional activities. (Note: yoga has been determined to be a good energy boosting activity, and it’s a very low-impact activity which means people of all ages, shapes, sizes can partake!)

2. DRINK WATER: The medical profession used to recommend a certain amount of water to drink, but now we are being told to “drink to your level of thirst”. If you find that you are not drinking much throughout the day, try to keep a cup or water container handy. Make it a point to drink water instead of other beverages, like cool drinks or alcohol. Lastly, pay attention to your urine. If your urine looks clear with a touch of yellow and doesn’t have a smell, it’s a good indication that you are properly hydrated.

3. SLEEP: Go to bed early, get enough sleep, and follow a normal sleep schedule. These are three essential “rules” to live by. Sleep is very important for our physical and mental health. Even though you think you may be getting enough sleep, and functioning properly off of 5-6 hours, the truth is your body has just adapted to that bad behaviour. Your body will adjust so you are utilizing less energy throughout the day if you have gotten less than the desired amount of sleep... and less energy means you are not functioning to your full potential. You will be surprised how good you feel after getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. (Note: Sleep is extremely important for kids and teenagers, as it aids in brain development and helps to regulate emotions. If your child or teen is not getting enough sleep or not following a sleep schedule, chances are high it will impact their mood and development).

4. LOSE THE EXTRA KILO’S: Johns Hopkins University (a reputable research institution) states that losing even a small amount of body fat can increase mood, energy, and your quality of life. In order to lose weight, be mindful of your portion sizes, eat balanced and regularly, and engage in exercise more often than not.

5. EAT OFTEN: Many foods that we eat affect our blood sugar levels. When our blood sugar dips and spikes it can affect our mood, energy levels, and be downright uncomfortable. To avoid dips and spike in blood sugar, eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Be mindful of your portion sizes and try to include foods that take a longer time to digest- like whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats.

When you are trying to make positive changes that impact your health, it is best to focus on one thing at a time. As a Wellness Advisor, I recommend choosing the change that is easiest for you. Spend a week or two being intentional about that change, and in no time it will be something that is now part of your everyday routine. When you have mastered one of the above tactics, move on to the next. This is how we develop healthy habits that last a lifetime!

Until next week... Compliments to the New Year and New Health, and take good care of yourself!