It’s the same for many after the Christmas and New Year excesses. Fatigue, exhaustion, bloating and general lethargy set in and you just want to hibernate under your duvet. Welcome to the January blues!
On top of that, you’ve probably decided it’s a good time to go on a diet or start a new fitness regime to get yourself healthy, which is making you even more miserable (especially if you’re doing the no alcohol January Dryathlon!).
One of the reasons your’re feeling so run down and de-motivated is that your hormones have taken a huge battering over the festive period and are in major payback mode.
What happens to our hormones over the holidays?
Cortisol is on the rampage
Christmas is the most stressful time of year for many, with all the build up, shopping, cooking, packed supermarkets, holiday traffic, bad weather, relatives you don’t normally spend so much time with and the kids off school!
This raises our cortisol (stress hormone) making us wired, tired and really cranky.
It also makes us more likely to reach for easy energy high carb foods that we can grab on the go, use coffee to keep us going, and alcohol to relax – adding to all the stress on our weary bodies.
And by the time Boxing Day comes around, as the stress and anxiety dissipate, your immune system has taken a battering and you’ll probably come down with that cold you’ve been fighting off !
Insulin is on a roller coaster
Christmas is a carb and sugar fest, so all that extra blood sugar gives us huge insulin highs and lows, making us exhausted and craving more sugary carbs – and ultimately all that sugar gets converted to fat, as insulin is our fat storing hormone.
Alcohol is an easy temptation and as well as empty calories, you are likely to be dehydrated, adding to the body’s stress levels. It also messes with your sleep, making you more tired (and hungry) the next day.
The weight gain and fatigue is compounded by the fact that we tend to skip our usual exercise routine, so that extra energy isn’t being used up.
No wonder we all feel so shattered when it’s time to go back to work!
So how can we get back on track;
- Delay the detox – be gentle on yourself – don’t go rushing into a new diet or exercise routine until you’ve got your energy levels back and you feel ready.
- Re-nourish yourself – eat plenty of fresh organic fruit and veg – smoothies are great for a big nutrient hit. Treat yourself to a decent blender (Nutribullet or Vitamix if you can afford it) and blitz up your veg (make sure you add some good fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, yoghurt, coconut oil or coconut/almond milk to help absorb the fat soluble vitamins).
- Buy some coconut oil (cook with it or add it to your smoothies)– it helps to boost your metabolism and is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral, so will help fight off any bugs going around. Read why it's so good here.
- Start your day with a protein breakfast – eggs, smoked salmon, natural yoghurt, nuts, seeds, protein shake – this will help balance your blood sugar, keep you full and sustain your energy levels until lunchtime.
- Drink plenty of filtered water – you need to rehydrate after all that booze!
- Get your wellies on and go for some walks – preferably in nature – this is proven to boost your mood and will help to clear out the cobwebs and increase your energy levels.
- Get enough sleep – this will help restore your energy and repair any damage done over the holidays. Go to bed earlier, switch off gadgets before bed, make the room really dark, try relaxation Apps, avoid caffeine and alcohol – all good tips to improve your sleep. Check out more here.
- Do some gentle stretching like yoga or pilates – this will improve your strength without stressing out your body.
- Add some Epsom Salts to your bath – the Magnesium in the salts acts as a muscle relaxant and a stress reliever.
- Take a good multivitamin to give yourself a boost. Avoid cheap supplements as they won’t have decent levels of nutrients and often contain fillers and additives. Good brands to look for are Nutri and Biocare, which you can find on the Natural Dispensary website (use code NJW010 for a 10% discount).
So if you be gentle on yourself, up your nutrients and get enough rest, you will be helping your hormones get you through the post Christmas haze and back to your best again.