You know the song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” with the partridge in the pear tree. But many of us no longer observe the 12 days of Christmas — we’re not even sure when they happen.
The official 12 days of Christmas stretch from Christmas Day to January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany. Traditionally, this was the time to eat all that special holiday food, relax, and enjoy the hard work that went into preparing for the festival.
Now, some families start their holiday fun in October and by now they have everything stored in the garage for next year. Many of us are traveling. This is also a popular week for shoehorning in those parties and visits we couldn’t get scheduled before Christmas, and of course, there are celebrations planned for the New Year.
With one thing and another, the time between Christmas and New Year can be a stressful time — something we need to recover from. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are five tips for making the spell from Christmas to New Year’s a healthier time.
Get some sleep
You might expect to have late nights and plan to catch up over the weekend, but that doesn’t work as well as getting a full night’s sleep each night. Try to juggle your schedule to give yourself an extra 15 minutes the morning after a late night. Do the same thing on weekend mornings.
Keeping a fairly consistent time to sleep and wake gives the best results. You’ll feel less stressed and more rested — and it will be easier to keep up with other healthy habits, too.
Getting to bed might not be the most challenging part. Remember that limiting caffeine and alcohol at the end of the day helps you get to sleep more easily. The same goes for blue light devices like your phone or laptop. A cool, dark room is the easiest place to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Drink some water
When you’re out partying, match alcoholic beverages and sodas with a glass of water. Just alternate between those less healthy drinks and fresh water. You’ll be better hydrated and feel better in the morning.
Take hydration breaks during the day, too. Too little water can make you feel tired and sluggish. Dehydration can also make you feel hungrier than you really are.
It’s fun to cuddle up on the couch and watch old Christmas movies, but you’ll feel better f you don’t make that the centerpiece of the week. The same goes for playing video games or even just hanging out and talking.
Get out for a walk around the neighborhood while there are still holiday lights to enjoy, or plan an active outing like roller skating, bowling, or hiking. Getting up and moving around increases blood circulation and gets more oxygen to your brain. It’s a surefire way to improve your mood.
Eat fiber-rich snacks
What are you going to do with all those Christmas cookies? They have to be eaten, right? Finishing up the holiday goodies is part of the season’s fun, but think about making one small change.
When you choose what to nosh on at home or at the parties you attend between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, choose fiber-rich snacks. Fruit and vegetables, whole grain crackers, and hummus can fit right in with your last slice of pie. Your digestive system will thank you!
Get those shots
If you didn’t get your flu shot and your COVID-19 booster before Christmas, take advantage of the opportunity to get it done before New Year. With COVID and the flu both showing extra activity in our area right now, it’s smart to vaccinate before the next big gathering.
Follow these tips and you’ll be ready to enjoy the new year!