Tips to keep well during holidays

Do you often feel like you need a holiday after the holidays are over? There are actually many things you can try to help you feel rejuvenated at this time instead of extra tired.

1. Keep moving

It's only human to look forward to a Netflix marathon with time off. That's all good, but our bodies are designed to move, even when on holiday. Exercise for an hour 4-5 days weekly to feel your natural endorphin rush, which promotes energy and a sense of wellbeing. No fancy gym memberships required. Have family staying? Put some grooves on the stereo and get up and dance! Pop into the sea for a swim, or take the kids on a nature walk. Rainy day? Google yoga or Zumba clips online and let yourself go.

2. Make time for yourself

Tis the season of giving. This means driving kids to holiday festivities, attending holiday functions for work and shopping usually for everyone but yourself. Relatives invading the house (while hopefully fun) can feel overwhelming too. When we're driving hard, it's easy to forget to take time for yourself. This is so important, otherwise resentment can set in and hit our unsuspecting victims, usually our families. Instead of reaching for comfort foods, focus on activities that are good for you.Take that 20-minute nap, get that pedicure, a massage, or read that lonely book that's been sitting on your shelf gathering dust.

3. Keep to a routine and stock up on good snacks

When kids are out of school and work is off your plate, it's easy to let it all go and stay up late and perhaps sleep later. Mealtimes can get a bit out of sync. While we don't have to be militant about it, keeping somewhat to a normal routine will promote better sleep, regular eating times keep blood sugars stable, and keeping to your daily jog will help maintain a sense of normalcy. If you must wait for a late family meal, stock up on healthy protein snacks in the house, such as fresh strawberries and vegetables (cut up and peeled, ready to eat from the fridge), pre-made hummus pottles, pre-boiled eggs, dried meat jerky, and nut mix. Bliss balls are a healthier alternative than sweet biscuits as they're packed with protein and fibre.

4. Get some vitamin D

It's summertime. Sunshine gives us one of our body's most important vitamins (actually a hormone), vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to promote immunity, and possibly boost mood. Remember to moisturise post-sun exposure with plant-based lotion. To get sensible sun exposure, perhaps read a book in the sun, or build a sandcastle with your kids.

5. Avoid the sugar and alcohol spinout

Those holiday favourite biscuits, cakes and drinks send us on a blood sugar rollercoaster and are packed with extra kilojoules. Perhaps just have that one special glass of champagne to toast the new year, and alternate alcoholic drinks with soda water and fresh lime or lemon to keep hydrated and lessen the hangover effect. There are typically 89 calories per glass of white wine or champagne, 55 calories in a shot of vodka, and 170 calories in a pint of dark beer. A glass of wine takes about 40 minutes of brisk walking to burn off and two chocolate biscuits at 80 calories each takes about 20 minutes of jogging. Don't forget to hydrate with plenty of alcohol-free drinks, like herbal teas, coconut water and just water with sprigs of mint and lime or lemon to refresh.

6. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by extra stress

Ironically the holiday season is meant to be a ‘break', but it can end up feeling like one of the most stressful times of the year. Irritable or anxious feelings may lead to physical exhaustion. Be mindful and check in with yourself often about how your body and mind are feeling. Slow down. Commit to less. Do some nature walks, meditate or practice yoga daily (even if it's before the rellies wake up or after dinner).

Natural therapies for feeling overwhelmed are available at most good health shops and pharmacies: You could try L-theanine, Passionflower, Valerian or L-Glycine a few times daily.

7. Travel less

Your in-laws say you must visit them at their bach during the holidays. Your friends say you can't miss their holiday gathering. We're all familiar with traveller's weariness. Travelling on busy roads or long plane rides can take its toll on our wellbeing. If you can, try to plan to travel on less busy days (can the in-laws wait for a long weekend in March rather than December?). If you must travel, take breaks often and bring healthy snacks and drinks along to avoid drive-through desperation.

Wishing you joy.

Kathleen Schubert is a natural and functional medicine specialist. She consults with people from all walks of life, addressing hormones, gut health, moods and everything in between. A passionate advocate for whole person health, she regularly speaks at corporate and educational organisations and is co-founder of the LipoRevolution™ liposomal supplements company. Her aim is to open a multi-modal wellness centre for sick children along with rescue animals called the ‘Una Centre', in honour of her passed away animal therapy husky dog, Una.

This does not substitute for any health advice from your medical professional. Kathleen Schubert is not a registered GP in New Zealand and as such does not act as your primary health provider.