Sneaky Ways to Stay Energized During the Holiday Season

Sneaky Ways to Stay Energized During the Holiday Season

Deck the halls, sing, be merry—and cue the exhaustion. Ideally, the holidays would be all about popping champagne and exchanging gifts while laughing with your friends. But the reality is that between family obligations, frantic shopping, and wrapping up last-minute work tasks, the holidays can be stressful and even depressing.

Luckily we’ve rounded up a couple of ways to keep your energy and mood high this holiday season.

1. Limit sugar intake.

A box of red and green sweets may seem like a quick pick-me-up—and it is, until a few hours later, when you’re face down on your keyboard at work. You probably already know this, but eating lots of sugar at once can lead to an energetic high followed by a giant crash. If you really want something sweet, limit your portion size and the amount of sugar in the food (think: dark chocolate versus candy canes).

2. Avoid binge-eating.

Santa’s belly may fit all the cookies in the world, but ours do not. When we gobble down a big meal, blood rushes to the gut to help break down the food in your digestive system, which often leaves us feeling slow and sluggish. Avoid the food coma by sticking to a normal-sized plate at holiday dinners and eating slowly.

3. Don’t eat late at night.

Holiday parties may go all night, but that’s no reason to down a slice of pumpkin pie to celebrate the stroke of midnight. After all, eating late has been linked to weight gain, among other issues. The solution? Try eating a nutritious dinner before the party starts to avoid late-night munchies. (And remember, it’s best to not go to bed either hungry or stuffed.)

4. Go for coffee and chocolate.

It’s no excuse to go wild, but these naturally-caffeinated products can perk us up when we’re experiencing an energy low or bad mood.  Try a coffee-chocolate combo like this espresso crinkle to keep everyone awake for the festivities. Just make sure you’re not indulging in caffeine too close to bedtime.

5. Complicate your carbs.

While the simple carbohydrates found in refined foods (a.k.a. holiday cookies and candy) can lead to those energy spikes and dips, complex carbohydrates can be a source of sustained energy. Opt for legumes, starchy vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals.

6. Sleep it off.

Sleep may be an obvious way to beat exhaustion, but it’s often the last thing we think about when the holidays hit, between last-minute shopping, cooking, and celebratory duties. Still, it’s important to stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends and during vacation.

7. Don’t blame it on the alcohol.

Hangovers are funny when they happen on TV, but in reality, the morning-after effect can mean nausea, headaches, and fatigue. Stick to one or two drinks for the night—especially if you’ve got multiple parties each week! (And if you must indulge, opt for these science-backed remedies.)

8. Work it out.

During the holiday season, health can be the first thing to fall by the wayside. But fitness routines are especially important this time of year—not only does exercise help relieve the stress of holiday insanity but working out can actually give us more energy when we feel exhausted.

9. Bust out the jams.

Whether it’s “Sleigh Ride” or “I Have a Little Dreidel,” music can help raise our spirits when the stress of the holiday season starts bringing us down. It doesn’t have to be holiday music, either—classical tunes are often the best for reducing stress and anxiety.

10. Spend some time alone.

True, you may only see your relatives a few times a year, but family obligations don’t have to consume our lives during the holidays. Make a point of scheduling some alone time—whether that means window shopping, reading a book, or taking a jog around the neighborhood and checking out the holiday decor.