Family, friends, food.
For some of us, these three words are synonymous with comfort, and for others, they read more like three ways to write the word stress. But, for most, these words make us think of one thing: The Holidays.
Seeing that cousin you don’t really click with, meeting a new friend of a friend of a friend, and having enough food to feed a professional sports team sums up a typical hectic holiday season, but one pretty important thing always seems to get lost in the sea of inquisitive relatives, gift-giving, and desserts.
During a normal holiday season, we spend so much of our time trying to keep the peace while cradling a wine glass in one hand and balancing a slice of pie in the other. It can get overwhelming, and the current pandemic doesn’t make it any easier to navigate. Though our normally large family gatherings will be cut down or canceled and our night out with friends will be traded for a cyber happy hour, our COVID-19 reality makes this holiday season unlike any other we’ve experienced.
So how is it possible to focus on me? This sounds more stressful.
Well, with some helpful tips, you can make a commitment to yourself this holiday season — and go into the new year rested and ready.
Oura’s Holiday Health Tips
1. Got some extra time? Catch up on that REM and deep sleep.
Both REM sleep and deep sleep have unique restorative qualities, but one thing they have in common is that we don’t get enough. REM sleep plays an important role in emotional health and resilience, while deep sleep helps restore your body, so you can wake up with the energy you need to take on this holiday season. The more sleep you get, the more likely you are to get the ideal amount of REM and deep sleep. So, use any downtime during this pandemic to catch up on some much-needed rest. Do your holiday shopping online, and, if you can, get your 7-8 hours.
2. Too much alcohol means too little sleep.
A glass of eggnog or wine is a holiday staple, but, like any other day in the year, too much alcohol can negatively affect your sleep and hinder your body’s restoration. But this doesn’t mean you have to endure a dry holiday season unless that’s your thing. Avoiding sugary or caffeinated mixers, sprinkling in some glasses of water, and giving yourself an earlier cut-off time can help you not only stay on top of your sleep and health — but also enjoy a drink.
3. That extra food may be tasty in the moment, but your body doesn’t know it’s the holidays.
During the holidays, food is a constant. It’s easy to have brunch in the morning, leftovers for lunch, a feast for dinner, and a slice of pie (or three) for dessert. However, this doesn’t mean you have to reject all the seasonal delicacies to stay on top of your health — it’s all about timing. When it comes to maintaining your sleep quality and overall health, avoiding large meals at least 3 hours before bed gives your body the time it needs to digest, so your sleep is all about recovery.
4. Whether it’s a morning meditation or an at-home workout, don’t put your routine on hold.
When the holidays roll around, it can be easy to put your personal health on the backburner. Your time is precious, even during the holidays, and your body and sleep schedule rely heavily on consistency. As you’re planning all your online shopping, finishing up some year-end projects at work, and trying to stay safe with the pandemic looming over the holiday season remember to try to stick to your routines. Try going to bed and waking up at your regular time, setting aside time for your daily workout, or keeping that standing meditation session in your schedule.
5. It’s okay to say no if it means saying yes to your body.
We all want to please our family and loved ones, but, especially during the holidays, we also tend to deprioritize ourselves to focus all our attention on others’ desires — no matter how overwhelmed we may be. If you find that your stress levels are getting too high and your body is feeling worn down, take a raincheck on that third holiday movie, ask to reschedule that virtual hangout, or politely decline that un-COVID friendly gathering. Don’t be afraid to be open about your current mental or physical state — your body will thank you for any recovery time you set aside.