Written by Cassandra Miasnikov, Originally published at Thrive Global.
Wellness culture is on the rise, and it’s no surprise that New Year’s is the time many people really start to devote themselves to their health. From in-laws to expensive gifts to traffic, the holidays can take a serious toll on both your physical and emotional health. Before you throw yourself headfirst into your resolutions, take a moment to recover from the last two months with these simple wellness tips for more energy, better health, and fewer headaches. Added bonus: you don’t need to buy a thing.
1. Get Some Extra Shut-Eye
Let’s be honest, you knew this one was coming. The holidays often jar us out of our regular patterns, which results in less sleep and higher cortisol levels. Sleep is good for more than just the body – it helps your brain consolidate memories and even flush out toxins associated with dementia.
Just like going too hard at the gym with no regard for recovery leads to injury, without enough sleep, you wind up with more brain fog, irritability, and an increased risk of infection. Giving yourself a few extra hours of sleep will help you bounce back faster and make your resolutions feel well within reach!
2. Makeover Your Fridge
December squeezes an impressive amount of office parties, potlucks, and gift exchanges into a short period of time. Of course, many of these celebrations feature loads of booze and desserts, which can leave your body reeling. It’s hard to get your nutrition back on track after the holidays. Starting with your refrigerator, not your diet, is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Start by putting leftovers towards the back and fruits and veggies in front – that way you’ll have easy access to your healthiest foods. Rather than tossing your holidays desserts, opt for a quick update like keeping less healthy foods in your fridge below eye level so you don’t see them first every time you search for a snack. While you’re at it, take note of what spices you have to reduce inflammation, like turmeric and ginger.
3. Dance off the Winter Blues
While dancing is often viewed as a recreational activity, it provides a number of positive physical, social, and mental health qualities as well. Different kinds of dancing have different benefits for your body. For instance, social dancing is a particularly great cardiovascular workout in addition to helping boost mood by connecting you with others.
Dancing has also been proven time and time again to increase memory, coordination, and improve mood. Remember, you don’t have to be a ballerina to reap the benefits. Even dancing around your room with the blinds closed counts!
4. Drink Your Problems Away
The biggest culprits of dehydration over the holidays are often travel, cold, and alcohol. Not only can dehydration leave you sore, scaly, and nauseous, but it can take away your body’s ability to regulate its temperature and other bodily processes.
Luckily, there’s a quick fix for this one. Health authorities recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water, equalling about half a gallon. This is often referred to the 8×8 rule. Getting on a hydration schedule is an easy way to help restore your body to its optimal state. It might even come with some perks you weren’t expecting, like increased energy levels and heart health.
5. Practice REAL Self-Care
Self-care is an extremely important an often overlooked wellness aspect in someone who’s busy and stressed. While self-care has become a buzzword, it’s value has also been undermined by those toting as a justification for overindulging in everything from food to designer clothing. True self-care is not synonymous to the “treat yo self” meme from Parks and Rec. In fact, much of what we think of as self-care is really self-sabotage: behaviors that result in consequences like increased guilt and credit card debt.
So what is self-care? At its core, self-care is the conscious decision to treat yourself with love and respect. It’s important for maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. When done correctly, self-care produces positive feelings and boosts your self-esteem and confidence. While everyone’s self-care journey is different, here are a few ideas to get you started: improve your work-life balance, take up a new hobby, meditate, or even call a loved one for some well-deserved intimacy and appreciation.
6. Help Someone Else Feel Better
This might sound counter-intuitive at first, but helping someone else is an essential part of both your recovery and of wellness culture. Remember, you’re not the only person feeling overwhelmed by the holiday season.
Your brain also releases feel-good chemicals that encourage you to perform more acts of kindness — something therapists often refer to as a “helper’s high.” Helping others can help you live longer, experience reduction in chronic pain, lower blood pressure, and more. It also gives us a sense of purpose and community, which is the very heart of wellness culture.
Curious as to how you can expand your reach to help others or what wellness culture is all about? Our mission at Selene Marketing is to help you help others. Learn more about how you can impact the wellbeing of your community by getting in touch.