Party Season SOS Guide: What to Do for All the Stresses of the Holidays
You ate too much, you drank too much, you didn’t prep enough — the holidays can be tough on both body and mind. But there are ways to manage all the inevitable holiday stress this time of year. Here, slay the season with this holiday SOS guide.
Everyday life can be stressful, but during the holidays, things ramp up to levels that could leave one sobbing in a closet with a bottle of wine if proper precautions aren’t taken. In addition to all the shopping and preparations to be taken care of, all the things that could possibly go wrong always seem to rise to the challenge, and soon we all forget what truly matters and neglect to enjoy the parts of the holiday season that make it special, like spending time with family and reflecting on the year gone by. Stressors can come in many forms, and most can be countered. Here are a few common ones along with ways to make sure your holiday season is every bit as jolly and bright as it should be.
So you ate way too much at dinner …
I think we can all agree that Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner should be uncontested cheat days for everyone. All that delicious stuffing, turkey, and pie that only make a special appearance at this time of the year are hard to pass up, and after your second or third helping, you could be experiencing a lot of regret. Coupled with the fact that all your body’s energy is now focused on digesting that large meal, staying awake and upright becomes a challenge.
Instead of sneaking away to take a nap on a pile of guests’ coats in the spare room, take a little stroll instead. Take the dogs out for a walk, or just take a turn around the block. The nippy air and the physical activity will wake you up and stimulate your gastrointestinal tract to encourage digestion.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to self-medicate with Pepto or Gas-X unless you’re suffering from symptoms other than fullness. Don’t try to do anything more strenuous than walking either. Not unless you want to wind up barfing up your dinner. Your food baby will go away eventually.
Don’t punish yourself either by forgoing your next meal or having negative thoughts about your overindulgence. It happens sometimes. Eat when you get hungry, making sure not to overtax your stomach again. Maybe load up on the vegetable sides to add some color to your plate. Gravy is not an essential food group.
So you had a tipple too much …
‘Tis the season for parties and a time to catch up with family or friends who we haven’t seen all year. This usually means lots of social drinking. Whether it’s some mulled wine or eggnog by the fire or vodka tonics at your local watering hole, all that alcohol can catch up with you fast. As I’ve mentioned before, there are a few things to keep in mind when imbibing to help your body recover:
* Know your limit and stick to it.
* For the love of your liver, do not mix liquor. Margaritas, rum cokes, and gin tonics might feel great in the moment and sound like a fun party in your stomach, but future-you will hate past-you in the morning. Trust me.
* Drink water in between alcoholic beverages.
* Choose light over dark liquor. Dark liquors like bourbon or dark beer will give you worse hangovers than light ones like vodka or white wine.
* If you must have caffeine, go for the herbal variety like ginseng. Coffee will only dehydrate you further.
* Make sure to chug some Pedialyte or drink some tummy-soothing tea like ginger or chamomile before bed and as soon as you wake up the next morning.
* Above all, drink responsibly. Call an Uber or hitch a ride with a friend instead of driving. Don’t endanger your life or others’ just for a bit of fun.
So you look like the Corpse Bride on the morning of an important event …
Picture this: You wake up the morning of your office holiday party or a gathering at a loved one’s home. You’ve got Steve Buscemi eyes and a complexion only a zombie could love. The good news is that you don’t need a Fairy Godmother to turn your pumpkin into a carriage or conjure you up a fancy gown and some glass slippers. You can get to glam all by yourself.
Start by massaging your face with an ice roller while you sip some green tea to chase away any redness or inflammation. You’ll also get the bonus of an energy boost, antioxidants, and a jump start for your metabolism. After you shower and do an AM cleanse, pat on some toner and serum, and take advantage of a quick skin pack like the Laneige ones or a juicy sheet mask to hydrate and brighten. At this point, you should have skin that looks supple and dewy thanks to all the TLC you’ve lavished on it.
If you still need a little help, mix some serum or a boosting primer into your foundation for a lit-from-within glow. And don’t forget to mist whenever your skin needs a pick-me-up.
So you feel like you’re gestating a fully-inflated balloon …
Natural reproductive functions, digestive issues, or an overindulgence in sodium can lead to gassiness, water retention, and abdominal cramping. You’re uncomfortable, and to add insult to injury, getting into a pair of jeans becomes next to impossible. What are you supposed to do? Buy a separate wardrobe for your bloated body?
If you’re a person who experiences menstruation, you’re familiar with the symptoms and hopefully have tried and true ways to get over this particular hump. Regardless of the cause or how skilled you are at handling it, there are a few easy home remedies to help your body lose the extra water and trapped gas.
* Combine the juice of half a lemon, some cayenne pepper, honey, and hot water. Relax, sip, and let the beverage go to work. You might let a few burps loose as you drink, and the discomfort should ease soon after. You might not feel all the way better at once, but you’ll definitely wake up feeling less bloated. You could also try some peppermint or ginger tea, especially if you’re also experiencing nausea, but I much prefer the effects of the lemon-water-honey-cayenne mix.
* Drink lots of water. Ingesting more fluid might feel counterintuitive since you’ve already got a bunch that you’re trying to get rid of, but water will restore your body’s sodium balance and flush out any excess fluids.
* Try some probiotics like Lactobacillus capsules or a glass of kombucha.
So you’re running behind on holiday shopping …
There are two types of people when it comes to Christmas shopping: some who make their lists way ahead of time and are done buying gifts by the time Cyber Monday rolls around, and those who will still be running around the mall like a headless chicken at 7 pm on Christmas Eve. I try to be type A, because being type B stresses me out. Being unprepared for holiday gift exchanges not only puts a strain on you, there’s also the risk of overspending or buying everyone cat calendars (not that those aren’t delightful).
One way to avoid fighting in the aisles of Walmart for the last Tickle Me Elmo (or whatever’s popular this year) is to create a Pinterest board and save your ideas to it all through the year. Don’t forget to make it private so as not to ruin the surprise. Try to have your list completed as early as possible in order to take advantage of any deals that may become available. (Beautytap’s own holiday sale is going on right now, with a free full-size product for every order over $50, so that might be a good place to start!)
With all your shopping out of the way, you can wrap and/or mail your presents, then sit back and fold your arms while you watch all the not-so-smart people make the mad dash for last-minute shopping.
So you’re feeling a little blue …
Seasonal depression, known by its official designation as Seasonal Affective Disorder, is the pits. The shorter days and longer nights mean less sun and therefore less of the “happiness vitamin” (vitamin D), an insufficiency which has been linked to depression. Even with the institution of Daylight Savings Time, the abrupt change in atmospheric conditions can be jarring to the human mind and body, resulting in fatigue, trouble sleeping, a change in appetite, feelings of hopelessness, and a host of other symptoms.
The actual cause of SAD is unknown, but studies have found evidence to suggest that the disorder has been linked to the brain’s inability to properly regulate serotonin as well as an overproduction of melatonin. The drop and rise, respectively, of this neurotransmitter and hormone trigger depression and cause sufferers to feel more lethargic and sleepy. Makes sense why that combination of factors would produce those effects, right? Bodies are weird.
Thankfully, there are a number of treatment options for those who suffer from seasonal depression. One of them is light therapy, which works by mimicking natural light to supplement the imbalance of sunlight in the winter months. There’s also psychotherapy, prescription medication, and supplements like vitamin D and L-theanine.
The increasing popularity of adaptogens and “natural” lifestyles has people turning to mineral and herbal supplements for everything from insomnia to brain fog. Ashwagandha, for instance, is an ayurvedic herb native to India and is touted as beneficial for lowering stress. Turmeric, another ayurvedic plant, claims to be a mood-booster, as well as an inflammation-buster.
There are a variety of roots and extracts with their corresponding purported attributes, and when you’re having a series of bad days, sometimes you want all the help you can get. I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that you should always speak to your physician before self-administering any supplements. It’s important to do this because they might have adverse effects that vary from person to person, and also because they might interact with medication you might currently be taking.
So you feel like you need to scream into a pillow …
I don’t know about you, but holidays at my house are an extreme sport. We’ve always got at least 10 people to stay and close to double that number for dinner. It’s absolutely mental, and there’s lots to do: rooms to clean, menus to plan, food to prepare, shopping to be done, etc. Tbh I get a little stressed as soon as the leaves begin to fall because I know what’s coming. It’s like that Pigeon Gazette comic strip about apple picking. Swap out apple picking for holiday season, and Jane is me.
I’m genetically predisposed to anxiety (idk if that’s actually a thing, but thanks Grandma!), so it can get pretty overwhelming for me. To combat it, this is what I do:
* Make a list of tasks: This way you have a clear picture of everything that needs to be done and can check them off as you go along to avert that niggling feeling of having forgotten something important.
* Stay hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration can cause headaches and fatigue, which are issues you don’t need to be saddled with on a busy day. So make sure to drink a glass of water now and then.
* Break large tasks into smaller ones: Take something like setting the table for a formal dinner. You can break that up into:
* Bring out appropriate number of crockery, cutlery, and glasses
* Wipe down table and put on tablecloth
* Set each place with plate, silverware, napkin, and glass(es)
* Make sure accompaniments like salt, pepper, and butter for dinner rolls are laid out
* Add flourishes like name cards or a centerpiece
Et voila! You’re all done and can move onto the next thing on your list.
If you’re not too tired when bedtime rolls around, treat yourself to a nice sheet mask when you do your PM routine. It’ll prevent you from waking up with skin that looks as tired as you feel from all that activity.
Armed with these tips, you can wade into the holiday fray with the confidence to come out on top of it all. Just remember to take time to rest and recharge whenever you need to, so you don’t burn out in the middle of it all.
May all of your turkeys and their accompanying sides be delicious. May your pies and assorted desserts come out of the oven perfect. May your homes be full of love and light all season. And may you have much to be thankful for as we begin to close out the year. Happy holidays!
How do you deal with holiday stress? Do you have any tips for surviving the season?