The holidays, for most, are an enjoyable time of year. However, much of what makes the holidays so enjoyable can also make them draining. Right after Thanksgiving, that downhill runs to the end of the year is filled with various disruptions to our daily schedules.
Often we’re out later at holiday parties, eating rich food and drinking more cocktails, beer, wine, or eggnog than usual. There’s stress associated with heading to the mall on that final run to get everything on our list—especially for those with children.
For some, reflecting on our past year’s successes often proves difficult since we’re trying to finish every last item on our year-end to-do list, personal or professional.
Unfortunately, these disruptions can all be compounded for those who travel over the holiday. If you’re already feeling run down, jumping in the car or hopping on a plane can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, leaving you exhausted during a time of year you should be used to recharge.
So today we’ll discuss how to not feel tired while you travel this holiday.
There are a variety of different factors that can cause you to become run down over the holidays. We touched on some of the reasons in the introduction, but now let’s dig a little deeper into the culprits that typically leave you feeling physically and emotionally drained in December, and how you can combat them.
Watch What You Eat and Drink—and Keep Exercising We just mentioned controlling what you can control, so diet and exercise rank right behind a consistent sleep schedule. During the holidays, our penchant to overindulge—on items like grandma’s banana pudding!—is higher simply due to temptation.
All the parties and gatherings add up, and often we don’t find the healthiest food options in those scenarios. Simply by taking the time to consider our diet for the week ahead, we can make smarter choices at those meals or before and after them so we can enjoy those parties and gatherings to the fullest.
Dehydration aside, alcohol has the potential to disrupt our sleep patterns, too. Alcohol, especially when we go overboard, negatively impacts our overall recovery, weakens our heart rate variability (HRV), disrupts our circadian rhythm, causes us to go to the bathroom at night more frequently, and can restrict airflow, which leads to snoring.
The key to food and alcohol is to strike a balance between having a good time and not overdoing it to the point that you suffer the consequences the day after.
Compounding the change in diet in December is a busy schedule that makes it harder to exercise. You’ll probably have to adjust your exercise schedule, but make sure you’re squeezing it in whenever possible—even if it’s just taking a refreshing walk around the block or utilizing your hotel’s gym.
It will not only help you sleep better at night, but it can energize you to help you get through those times when you’re feeling stretched thin.
When traveling long distances only exacerbates any exhaustion we’re already experiencing. Since it’s related to sleep, one of the top questions we get is how long does jet lag last and how to reduce it.
For some people, travel itself is the easy part. That tired feeling, for others, comes simply from being around family. When figuring out how to deal with family stress, it’s also all about controlling what we can control, much like with diet, exercise, and your sleep routine.
This psychologytoday.com article offers helpful tips for this, and there are two, in particular, we subscribe to:
Whether it’s taking that quick walk to remove yourself from a situation or sneaking away to your bedroom to meditate, having a game plan to deal with stress triggers beforehand can make a huge difference.
Going home for the holidays means we often fall into old patterns that were established as adolescents. But things are different now: you’re an adult and have the power to dictate what upsets you, and how you deal with it.
The last piece of advice we’d offer to help you avoid feeling tired is to carve out time for yourself. Getting caught up in the holiday grind is easy, but feeling emotionally drained before, during, and after the holiday only ensures that you’ll start the new year feeling the same way.
And before the calendar turns to a new year it’s more important to reflect on the past year’s successes, and use that as an opportunity to map out goals for the next 12 months.
As this article lays out, making time for yourself is difficult, but also critical. This could include taking the time to meditate each day, or something as simple as doing something you enjoy, like going to a movie.
Sure, the holidays are for spending time with those you care about most. But including yourself in that list is totally okay, too.