Dear Dr. V,
I read your last article about the “Holiday Blues.” I don’t have the blues, however, I’m exhausted! This time of year (the holidays) just really knock me off my feet! What can I do to reenergize and help me feel good about the holiday? Scratch that (e.g., feeling good). I just want to be awake during it all.
Tina from Chicago
The holidays are fun but, honestly, they’re exhausting. It seems like there is more of everything than at any other time of year: more social events, more items on the to-do list, more money to spend and more stress about how to spend it. It’s no wonder so many of us are tired. Here are a few ideas to perk you up:
- Plan some rest into every day. Even 10 minutes will help you feel rejuvenated and ready to take on whatever comes next.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Take a day where you do nothing that has to do with the holidays.
- Wear something that energizes you.
- Make sure the people around you know that you care.
- Make something fun.
- Talk to some kids about the holidays.
- Have some hot cider.
- Play with some children.
- Get some exercise.
- Reward yourself.
- Remember what Christmas is all about.
- Close your eyes.
- Focus on one task at a time.
- Head off difficult situations before they come up.
- Watch the Christmas specials.
- Eliminate items from your schedule.
- Do something out of the ordinary.
- Get more sleep.
If you can’t stop and rest, focus on taking deep breaths from your stomach. Proper breathing (which we don’t always do when we’re stressed) allows the body to function optimally.
This means no parties, no shopping, no balancing the checkbook or checking credit card statements online.
Break the rules and wear something bright in non-holiday colors. It will help you remember that there’s more to life than the holidays, and give you a different sort of energy.
If you let them know you care, they’ll see your efforts as a gift even if the party goes badly or the gifts don’t fit or the food isn’t “just right.”
When we’re tired, we forget that making things helps us rest and relax. Whether it’s a Christmas ornament or a holiday card or a gift for someone else, making it with your own hands will help you slow down and find a new rhythm.
Their perspective is often enlightening and their energy is always contagious. There’s nothing that will refresh you like catching some of this.
Hot drinks are known for their calming effects, and this one has the added benefit of restoring your holiday cheer.
Kids make up the best games, especially when the weather is cold and the holidays are in the air. You’ll find your entire way of thinking rearranged when you’re done.
It’s an oldie but a goodie when it comes to reducing stress and re-energizing.
Make a deal that you’ll get lunch or Starbucks or watch an episode of “The Office” for every 5 presents you wrap, or every room you decorate, or that you’ll get a new shirt for every party you don’t overeat at. Then reward yourself when you do the job well.
It doesn’t matter what this is for you as long as you can learn to draw it to mind when you’re stressed. Changing your perspective does amazing things for your exhaustion and stress levels.
While things do still exist even when we can’t see them, reducing the amount of stimuli the brain has to process can drastically reduce tiredness, particularly in a season of sensory overload.
If you make your mind focus on each thing until you’ve done all you can about it, your mind will be less likely to run in circles or race, which will reduce your load significantly.
Whether it’s a family member who you don’t want to deal with, or the temptation to overeat at a party, or that person who always buys you a present even when you don’t want to spend your money on them, coming up with a plan ahead of time will save stress later and make the season more peaceful overall.
What holiday TV shows or movies were important to you as a child? Whether it’s “The Sound of Music” or “A Christmas Story,” watching them again can take you back to the time when Christmas was fun, not just a lot of work.
Can you shop online and avoid the crowds? Then do it! Can you send Christmas postcards instead of a long letter? What are you waiting for? So many of the things we do during this season are easily simplified. Choose your least favorite tasks and simplify today.
Help those tensed muscles relax by reaching for the sky, then your toes, and back again. Continue with different stretches until you feel calmer and more energized.
Even when you don’t feel it, smiling helps you feel more positive about things and have more energy to get them done. Don’t stash the bad feelings away, but get through the hard times with a smile so you have the energy to deal with what you feel later.
Do you usually use gift bags? Try wrapping this year. Do you always make a particular egg dish for breakfast on Christmas morning? Try something new this year. Giving your brain new patterns allows you to get away from the feelings you might inadvertently have associated with doing things a particular way.
Ok, so it’s obvious, but it’s also true. We tend to deprive ourselves of sleep during this season and we suffer for it.
I hope you each have a wonderful holiday season. Enjoy your friends and family and take some time for yourself!
Note: All information in the Ask Dr. V column is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, please feel free to call or email Dr. V, or consult your doctor.
Please feel free to email Dr. V a confidential question (from you or your guy) for posting at DrVenus@TheSavvyGal.com; questions may be edited for grammar and length; emails are only read by Dr. V.
visit her Web site at www.talk2drv.com