With the memory of the holidays disappearing into a snack and booze filled haze, you may have woken up wondering “where did all my exuberance go?”, and “how the hell to do I get rid of this cough and stuffy nose I’ve had for the last two weeks? I don’t regret a single bite of cheese or piece of cake/tart/cookie I enjoyed over the last couple of weeks. I enjoyed every mouthful and I love the holidays and all the snacks that come along with them.
All I want to do with this article is to share some things I add into my life after the holidays so that my body can get back to balance and I can continue vibing along happy as a little clam.
Many people will be telling you that you need to punish yourself for the foods and drinks you enjoyed over the holidays, but that’s a load of bullshit designed to make you feel bad about yourself so that a bunch of jerks can profit off of your insecurities. I like to focus on nourishing myself post holidays with good food packed with nutrients, lots of rest, and some outdoor time.
I suggest cutting back on dairy for a week or so, but honestly, you don’t even really have to do that if it feels restrictive or like it may trigger some unhealthy habits around eating (especially for folks who struggle with disordered eating- take care of your mental health first and focus on what to add in, instead of taking things away). Even bringing in one or two of the suggestions (my vote goes for: fermented foods, broth, and walks!) can make a HUGE difference in your energy levels.
There’s a big difference between supporting your body with enough calories and nutrients and completely restricting and depriving yourself as punishment for the foods that you enjoyed. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to spend the next month working your ass off to “earn” those treats. Because in the end who benefits from that messaging? Not you that’s for sure. All it does is add more stress, fear, restriction, and anxiety into your life so that some asshole can sell you a tea that gives you intense diarrhea. No thanks.
Anyway, here are some of my tips for things you can bring into your life as nourishment and love.
1. Eat Fermented Foods
If you’ve been following me for any length of time you know how obsessed I am with all things fermented. And with good reason! New research is coming out that shows just how important a robust microbiome (the fancy pants way of describing the community of symbiotic bacteria in you gut) is in terms of regulating mood, appetite, nutrient status, and immune function.
Luckily it’s never been easier or cheaper to get the fermented foods you need to seed your digestive tract and bring your immune function back up to 100! Try whipping up a batch of sauerkraut, sipping on some switchel, enjoying some pickled kale stems (they’re weirdly delicious!), or relaxing with a glass of kombucha.
2. Listen to Your Body
Perhaps most important of all on this list is listening to your body. It’s incredible what kind of wisdom you can find inside if you just slow down for a few breaths and pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. You will often know exactly what you need to do to bring yourself back into balance after the holiday season.
That might be 10 hours of sleep a night, hermitting yourself away for a couple of weeks, or eating an entire bag of clementines in three days. Just listen to what your body has to say and honour it. And I mean your BODY not your BRAIN, which may be telling you to run on the treadmill for hours a day due to some fucked up diet culture messaging. Ignore that, if you can!
3. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
I don’t know about you, but over the holidays I stayed up later than normal. I’m usually a night owl anyway, but what with the time change and my love of the quiet after everyone goes to bed, and lots of late nights with the fam, my sleep wasn’t quite up to par.
Without adequate sleep your immune function can suffer; you can get insatiable cravings; and you’re just more likely feel grumpy and out of sorts.
I’m giving you permission to sleep in later on the weekends, nap if you need to, and go to bed at a ridiculously early hour if that’s what your body is asking for. Take a beat to check in with your level of tiredness and listen when your body says sleep. Your Netflix shows will be there in the morning.
4. Drink Herbal Tea
Take your hydration game to the next level by sipping on herbal teas. The holidays can be full of alcohol and treats that can put a burden on your digestive and liver function. Tea is a great way to get some antioxidants and nutrients that can help soothe your body.
I’ve written a post about some of the best teas specifically for liver detoxification, but you can drink whatever tea you like. Even a delicious glass of lemon, honey, and hot water can be soothing. Aim for 3 cups of herbal tea a day to give your body and liver a little love.
5. Walk As Much As Possible
Often the last thing you want to do after the holidays is get your booty back to the gym for high intensity training and if you’re already feeling run down and sick it can actually be counterproductive.
However, low-impact movement that activates your muscles, such as walking, can help move stagnant lymph fluid from your extremities. Your lymph system is one of the key players in healthy immune function, but unlike the circulatory system it needs some help moving lymph from point A to point B.
The activation of your muscles helps squeeze the lymph fluid up and out of your extremities so that your body can process any pathogens. You can also try dry brushing to move it along.
Not only does walking help support lymphatic function, it’s a great way to calm your brain after the hectic holiday season, especially if you can do it surrounded by trees.
6. Stock up on Broth
I’ve written a post all about why I love broth right here, but to summarize there are certain components to homemade broth that actually help ward off upper respiratory tract infections. Plus the gelatin can help give your skin a boost if it’s feeling a little less vibrant from all the funtivities.
7. Love Your Liver
As I mentioned above, your liver may have taken quite a beating over the last month and by eating liver-supportive foods and drinking specific liver-loving teas you can help it do its job properly, no scary detox cleanses or restrictive diets required.
Avoiding alcohol and anything that contains high fructose corn syrup (think sodas and pretty much anything from a package) for one to two weeks can remove some of the burden of detoxification as well.
8. Say No!
You’ve likely had a ridiculous amount of parties, events, and get togethers to attend or host over the last month, which can leave you feeling tired and overwhelmed, especially if you’re an introvert. This level of exhaustion can negatively affect your energy and immune function if you don’t give yourself time to rest and rejuvenate. If that’s the case, allow yourself to say no to engagements this month in favour of the things that bring you calm and joy.
It doesn’t matter what that looks like, but if you find yourself saying “yes” to things that you dread, try testing out how it feels to say no. And remember: No is a complete sentence. You don’t have to justify your response beyond that if you don’t want to.
9. Practice Restorative Yoga
Basically sloth time. It’s the perfect way to stretch out tense muscles and reconnect with your body and breath. You can read all about why I love restorative yoga right here. It is a great way to help rest the nervous system after the go-go-go feeling of the holidays.
10. Avoid Dairy
I know this one isn’t going to make me many friends, but I’m not saying you have to avoid dairy forever, just that it can be a great way to help relieve chronic congestion and potentially even clear up some of those post holiday breakouts. In my practice I’ve found that a lot of folks with menstrual cycles can see benefits in terms of monthly hormonal shifts when they limit or test out their reactions different types of dairy.
I suggest going dairy-free for 2 weeks to give your immune system and sinus cavities a boost. Try swapping out the milk in your coffee for coconut, cashew, oat, macadamia, or almond milk. Goat cheese stays on the menu, since it has a different form of casein than cow dairy (less inflammatory) and has much less lactose, which can be a trigger for intestinal troubles in susceptible folks.
Well those are some of my favourite ways to bring my body back into balance after the fun of the holidays.
And remember, if you need any extra support to help start 2022 feeling strong and healthy, you can contact me right here to see whether private or group nutrition coaching might be right for you.
I’m registered with the Canadian Association of Naturopaths & Naturotherapists, so I can offer insurance receipts to folks with Naturopath coverage who live in New Brunswick, PEI, Quebec, or Newfoundland. The only companies I can’t issue receipts for are Blue Cross and Industrial Alliance.
Personalized Wellness Planning: Best for folks who have specific health conditions they want to focus on such as PCOS, hormonal imbalances, inflammatory bowel diseases, IBS, etc.
Foundations of Nutrition Private Coaching: Best for folks who want to learn about the foundational concepts of nutrition such as blood sugar balance, probiotics, leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory vs. anti-inflammatory fats & oils, and anti-inflammatory eating. These private sessions will offer an opportunity for use to dig into your personal questions and find some targeted areas to focus on.
Foundations of Nutrition Small Group Coaching: Best for folks who want to learn the foundations of nutrition as mentioned above, but who don’t necessarily need personalized recommendations. It’s also an affordable 4-week option. The price is lower since you don’t get the same level of personalization, but you do get the support of a group.
One-And-Done Check In: I don’t have an official page for these sessions, but they are 1-hour check in sessions. I take a look at your food and mood journal and an intake form you fill out prior to our session. We figure out areas that you’re rocking and support areas that could use a little bit of lovin’. These sessions are $100/hour and include a follow up action step plan with everything we discussed during our session, plus any additional tweaks that I think would help.
As always, thank you for your love and support and have the best 2022!!