The holiday season is upon us, so get ready for a whirlwind of excessive eating, drinking, and social activity!
Whether it’s an office party or an extended family dinner, or perhaps just a Friday night get-together, your body will almost inevitably take a beating. A string of long nights, too much alcohol, and other unhealthy indulgences without enough rest and recuperation is a recipe for disaster. Throbbing hangovers, a bloated stomach, a much lighter wallet than usual, and the sniffles from an oncoming cold all could be consequences of your festivities. Take it from us: you don’t want to be “that guy” or “that girl” who’s showing up to work clutching a Venti coffee wearing an expression that’d scare off even the bravest of coworkers.
Our advice? Enjoy yourself, but also pace yourself.
Here are our suggestions for how to best navigate the holiday season:
Control your drinking
By all means, eat, drink, and be merry. Have some fun –but don’t go overboard. Nearly everywhere you look, there will be an excess of eggnog, cider, or other festive drinks. If your nightly plans include drinking, make sure you prepare the correct way. Eating and staying hydrated is key. Eat before drinking and hydrate before, during, and after the alcohol. Skip the extra bubbly drinks such as champagne and prosecco to avoid feeling bloated. And, if you find yourself going to multiple cocktail parties, remember that it’s fine to decline a drink. Or, if you’re really feeling pressured to have that social drink in hand, have a mocktail!
Be wary of germs
It sounds nerdy, we know, but it’s a serious issue around the holiday season. Hear those coughs? See those sneezes? A single sneeze can launch germ particles up to 25 feet through the air, according to MIT researchers. The cold and flu season is beginning, which means germs are literally everywhere: door handles, elevator buttons, sinks, credit cards, money, phones, etc. Especially if you’re a big holiday shopper, protect your health by staying extra vigilant. Those malls and department stores can quickly turn into breeding grounds for catching a cold! Wash your hands, bundle up when outdoors, and don’t touch your face. Eat nutritious meals, drink plenty of liquids, and get enough sleep. Stay active; a sedentary lifestyle won’t do you any favors in fighting off those germs. If you do catch a cold, remember to cough and sneeze into your elbow only, as your hands can easily spread unwanted germs through contact with other people or surfaces.
Maintain your routine (for the most part)
Your body hates being thrown out of sync. If it’s used to waking up at 7am, having breakfast, going to work, exercising, and then being in bed before midnight, do your best to keep that up. All it takes is a couple changes to your routine - such as going to bed later, not working out for a week, and doubling the usual amount of drinks you have during the weekend - and your body won’t be pleased.
The key to avoiding those unwanted hangovers, queasy stomach aches from overeating, and the common cold is to remember that the holiday season is a marathon, not a sprint. Be merry, but pace yourself.