5 Easy Steps to Get Your Body & Mind Ready for the New Year
Read Time: 2-3 Minutes
Settling back into work, returning to our usual weekday routines, and, of course, detoxing from all that delicious food and drink can seem daunting. A little indulgence is healthy, but getting back into the groove after a break from the usual can be tricky. Below, we’ll outline five easy post-holiday tips to get you back on track.
Hydrate! (No, not with champagne.)
All those salty appetizers, sweets, and cocktails make for great parties, but they also cause some serious dehydration. Start each morning with a cup of warm lemon water to aid in digestion. The acids in lemon juice help us process nutrients more slowly, allowing our bodies to fully absorb its benefits while preventing bloating. Your skin will thank you too; lemons are packed with vitamin C, which helps fight free radical damage and stimulates collagen production.
Don’t forget to put that cute new water bottle to good use. Fill it up throughout the day—at home, in the office, running errands—and keep sipping. Drinking water helps regulate metabolism, alleviate constipation, and flush out excess sodium that can cause bloating. Some studies even show that water may help curb your appetite. Before reaching for that second doughnut at work, see if H2O does the trick.
Maintain a regular eating schedule.
During the holidays, it is easy to snack and sip throughout the day. If it seems like you’re hungrier than usual after the holidays, you’re probably right; our stomachs “remember” how much we’ve eaten recently. Our natural appetite control systems are helped along by “stretch receptors,” which are pretty much what they sound like: they let our stomach know when we’re full and when we need more sustenance. But after periods of overeating, these receptors lose their effectiveness and our stomachs get tricked into thinking we need more.
If you cut way back after overeating or simply skip meals, your body will go into calorie-preserving mode. Plus, skimping can cause your body to break down muscle for fuel, slowing down your metabolism and generally enervating your mind and body. Maintain a regular schedule of small meals throughout the day. Start with a healthy, lean breakfast, then eat again every 3 to 5 hours. Focus on lean proteins like fish, and beans, and stock up on vitamin-packed veggies.
Enjoy some cold-pressed green juices.
While it’s always important to get an ample amount of whole veggies, fruits, and lean proteins in our diets, cold-pressed green juices offer a super-efficient—and super-easy—way to get back on track after some holiday indulgence. Because green juices are so easy to digest, our bodies absorb the nutrients very quickly; this provides fast, clean energy and nourishment and can even improve cholesterol and blood pressure. Incorporating green juices into your routine can also help eliminate toxins, improve the appearance of your skin and aid in digestion, which may be especially useful after one too many sweets over the holidays.
Stick to juices made with organic leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, as these contain much less sugar than fruit-based drinks, and if you’re purchasing your juices, check the labels carefully. To reap the most rewards and avoid indigestion, have green juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Cut back on the booze.
After all that eggnog, wine, and bubbly, it’s easy to get into the habit of indulging in one extra drink with dinner. But too much alcohol can seriously disrupt our daily routines and overall health. We all know that hangovers are no fun and that your liver takes a beating from too many cocktails, but alcohol also contains a lot of calories; a glass of red wine has about 125 calories. And our body doesn’t register liquid calories the same way it does calories from food, making it harder to know when to stop indulging.
Next time you get a craving for a second glass of wine, replace it with something soothing and satisfying—and low-calorie. White tea, for instance, has zero calories and is packed with antioxidants. Catechins, in particular, reduce cholesterol, repair vein tissues, decrease blood pressure, and improve cardiovascular health. Your skin will benefit too...while alcohol dehydrates your skin, and, despite its various health benefits, red wine can actually worsen rosacea, antioxidant-rich drinks help increase collagen production and slow down the effects of aging.
Break a sweat!
Getting back to a regular workout routine can be challenging after so much R&R, but don’t let yourself be intimidated into inaction. Get right back in the swing of things with something a little out of the ordinary; book a fun class you’ve always wanted to try or grab a new workout buddy. There are skin rewards to be reaped as well—exciting new studies show that exercise can actually reverse the signs of aging, even for people who start working out later in life.
And don’t go overboard trying to make up for lost time or you risk burning out. Set realistic, attainable goals and remind yourself of how great you’ll feel after a good workout. If you’re feeling stressed by the idea of jumping back in or are still adjusting to the post-holiday crash, try some yoga. The meditative quality of the workout will ease tension and relax the mind. It can feel overwhelming getting back to a regular workout routine right after the holidays, but committing fully will be much better for you—and less difficult—in the long run. And once you’re back in the groove, you’ll be glad you didn’t delay.
Sometimes a break from our usual routines is healthy; time to reconnect with friends and family and enjoy the simple pleasures of the season can remind us how lucky we are. But getting back to a healthy diet and regular schedule can be challenging. Rather than dwelling on missed workouts or those extra pieces of pie, focus on taking care of yourself now. There’s much to look forward to in the year ahead, and starting off feeling centered and cared for will get you off to a beautiful start.