5 Easy Ways To Get Off The Holiday Struggle Bus + Start Feeling Great BEFORE New Years
Holy whirlwind of a holiday season — I’m in a bit of disbelief it’s already coming to a close!
While my hope is that you’ve been able to slow down, enjoy QT with those you love and take some much needed time for yourselves, I also recognize you might be feeling a little less than relaxed on the inside, aka consumed with internal stress or guilt about missing workouts, the plate of Christmas cookies you devoured, or even that you’re giving yourself a break.
Trust — I’ve been there — and it’s still something I struggle with from time to time (I’m only human after all). But slowly, over many lessons and many years, I’ve become aware of these limiting thoughts, habits and patterns that do absolutely nothing FOR me and have been able to crowd them out with more positive rituals that are actually useful on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level.
That being said, I don’t want you to have to wait years to figure some of this stuff out like I did. So I’ve condensed my fave super-simple instant feel-better hacks you can start doing immediately (like before New Years). Because who wants to put a future date on feeling good when you can feel good right now?
5 Easy, Instant Feel-Good Hacks You Can Start Doing Right Now
#1 Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate —
Drinking more water is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do for your health. It keeps hunger levels at bay (people commonly mistake dehydration for hunger), lubricates your joints, transports nutrients to your cells, keeps things moving and properly functioning in your body and helps carry out waste and other toxins.
Basically, it’s absolutely essential for your wellbeing, however many of my clients struggle with getting their daily intake. I honestly think it’s because for many water isn’t a source of pleasure the way food is, and when we enjoy something we’re much more likely do remember to it — amiright?!
Instant Hydration Hacks:
— Try upgrading both the taste and functionality of your h2o. Add in lemon, ginger, raw honey and cayenne to a glass of warm water to aid in detoxification, fresh cucumber and mint for optimal digestion, or berries and basil for antioxidants and a sweeter flavor. Before (or after) a bit too much indulging I love to add a shot of apple cider vinegar to my water, which doesn’t taste so hot but helps with digestion and balances my blood sugar levels quickly. I’m also obsessed with peppermint tea and drink a cup almost every day (either in between meals or after dinner).
— If flavoring water isn’t your jam or you’re just simply forgetful, invest in a quality water bottle (I love this brand which keeps my water at the same temp for 24 hours, even during insanely hot yoga) and make a pact to fill and drink it at least 3x throughout the day.
— I also encourage clients to set little rewards for themselves (i.e. let yourself enjoy that cup of coffee or glass of wine only AFTER you finish that glass of water)
#2 Get Restorative Sleep —
I’m pretty sure by now you’re fully aware how crucial quality sleep is to optimal health, but did you know it’s also essential to losing weight? Sleep deprivation messes with your hormones and increases your cortisol levels, leading to poor metabolism and insulin resistance (aka weight gain). Lack of sleep can also wreak havoc on the hormones that regulate appetite and satiety (leptin and ghrelin), with higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin, leading you to eat more and feel full less often.
That being said, telling you to get more sleep isn’t all that helpful, but giving you some actionable tips on how to get your best night’s sleep ever is.
Instant Sleep Hacks:
While I encourage you to read this post for the full low-down, if there’s one thing I could tell you to do right now it would be to start developing a nightly routine, something both fun and functional.
For example my nightly routine consists of aiming to go to bed around the same time, finish eating AND avoiding electronics (especially my phone) at least two hours before, making some kava root tea or golden milk, taking a magnesium supplement, reading a good book and if I’m really getting after it taking an epsom salt bath. It may sound excessive but when I take the time to wind down I sleep so much better and operate at a much higher level the next day as a result.
#3 Optimize Your Eats —
Instead of subjecting yourself to an extreme post-holiday diet rooted in deprivation, I suggest trying something simpler and more sustainable that doesn’t stress you out. Rather than taking away or restricting certain foods, think in terms of adding more nutrients and naturally detoxifying ingredients to the meals you already eat. It’s easier and more enjoyable, which means you’re much more likely to actually do it!
Instant Meal Optimizing Hacks:
— Make a pact to add at least one vegetable (bonus points if it’s leafy greens rich in antioxidants that combat free radicals) to every meal you eat. My favorite hack? Add in frozen veggies like cauliflower or zucchini to your smoothies, they don’t affect the taste but up your nutrient intake significantly
— Try eating a salad before your main course when ordering at a restaurant
— Blend MCT oil in with your morning coffee (the fat helps to keep hunger levels in check and balance blood sugar)
— Cook with grass-fed butter or ghee, coconut oil or avocado oil for a dose of omega-3 healthy fats that promote optimal brain function
— Sneak stress-reducing, hormone balancing and immunity boosting adaptogens like reishi, ashwaganda or pine pollen into your beverages. This hot cocoa mix is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to get your fix
— Add in metabolism-boosting and anti-inflammatory spices like cayenne, cinnamon and turmeric into your stir-fries, soups, coffee or tea (or try my fave soup recipe with most of these spices already included — pictured above)
— Stir a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds into your oatmeal or yogurt for extra fiber and omega-3 fats
— Top any dish with fresh herbs like cilantro, which binds to toxins and helps you safely excrete them out of the body
— Add apple cider vinegar to salad dressings for optimal digestion and gut health
— Top your eggs with kimchee, add miso to soups or salad dressings and use coconut yogurt in parfaits to repopulate your good gut bacteria (which can take a beating from alcohol, toxins, certain foods and stress)
#4 Get Your Supplement Game Strong —
While the ultimate goal is to get all the nutrients you need from your diet, supplements are an effective way to fill in the gaps, especially post-holidays (i.e. indulging in more food and drink, getting less sleep, battling stress etc).
Post-Holiday Optimizing Supplements:
— Magnesium (350-400 mg per day) to lower stress hormones, promote regularity and support optimal sleep
— Glutathione to increase your body’s antioxidant levels and aid in detoxification
— Vitamin D3 (2,000 IU’s minimum) to beat brain fog, level out mood swings and balance your hormones (a deficiency in Vitamin D suppresses the hormone Leptin, which signifies that you’re full — aka you’re likely to feel more hungry and eat more with lower levels)
— Vitamin B to help reduce hangover symptoms
— Omega-3’s to combat inflammation and depression, lower the stress hormone cortisol and improve cognitive function
— Activated Charcoal Capsules to reduce gas, bloating and safely eliminate toxins
— Probiotics (minimum 20 billion CFU’s) to nourish the digestive tract and promote overall gut health
#5 Focus on the More Important F-words —
A very long-term (75-plus years) study at Harvard examined what makes people happy and healthy over the course of their lives — and it’s not a number on a scale or how many cookies they eat. Close relationships are the key to long-term health and happiness. So rather than worrying about all the holiday goodies you’ve indulged in, try simply spending more time with people you love. Embrace the joy of festive meals without feelings of stress and guilt, which will never be part of healthy eating.
Friends + Family Before Food —
Make a few plans with friends and family this week (as well as the month of January) to beat any post-holiday blues. When you’re enjoying quality time with people you love you’ll naturally feel better ASAP, no dieting required. Bonus points if your plans involve doing something active together.
BONUS BOOSTERS —
For those of you really looking to up the ante and intensity you can try exploring the following options below. I’ve practiced all of these healing modalities at some point or another (and some more than others), but I’m also a certified nutrition coach and have a lot of experience in this realm. If something seems iffy or too intense to you, talk to your doc first (especially if you’re pregnant as some of these options are not safe for pregnancy).
— Hot epsom salt baths to aid in detoxification and help balance hormones
— Far Infrared Sauna to release heavy metal toxins trapped in fat cells and promote circulation
— Intermittent Fasting to fight inflammation, balance blood sugar and improve cognitive function
— Cryotherapy to boost immunity, curb pain and inflammation and increase thermogenesis (fat-burning)
— Exercise — especially HIIT (which gets you into fat burning mode) and yoga (increases energy and vitality and helps to balance hormones)
— Colon Hydrotherapy to eliminate excess fatty acids, improve regularity, treat dehydration and maintain optimal digestive health
— Float Tank (aka sensory deprivation) to help you decrease sweat, improve sleep quality and ward off burnout or adrenal disfunction