In just a few short days, we’ll be wishing a fond farewell to the holiday season. And while you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t look forward to this time of year, you’d be equally challenged to uncover a person who also doesn’t anticipate the aaah moment that comes once the holidays are over and we can all get back to our normal, comforting routines. Still, after weeks of indulgence and festivities that, while fun, wreak havoc with everything from our stomachs to our schedules, it’s not always as easy as it sounds to get a fresh start. Here are our favorite ways to give ourselves a little après-holiday refresh.
Clean up as soon as your holiday visitors have flown the coop. We get the desire to procrastinate on this one—we really do. After all the prep and work that went into holiday planning, who wants to spend time on cleaning when you should, by all rights, be kicking back in your jammies with a novel or your Netflix queue? It’s a life-is-unfair moment, to be sure, but we guarantee you’ll feel a lot better once this task is wiped off your to-do list. So check out this post on painless post-holiday cleanup, which breaks down the process into easily digestible chunks, and hop to it. And don’t hesitate to get significant others and kids involved in the process.
Give yourself a week off from sugary and fatty foods. We know, we know: the holidays give us all that extra permission to indulge. But considering that most of us have been indulging for a few weeks already and there’s one more big celebration to go, and in just a couple days, it’s wise to give your body a little break. Laying off the sweets and fat-filled meals this week—and substituting with fruits, healthy salads and sandwiches, and lean, veggie-heavy meals—will mean that you’ll have much more energy to get through the last of the holiday rush. It will also help prevent the added poundage that seems to creep up like a holiday ninja at this time of year.
Up the activity ante. Despite our best intentions, we can’t recall a holiday season where we stuck to our normal workout schedule. Between putting in extra hours at the office to ensure that we can take a restful, e-mail-free vacation, shopping for gifts and food for family and guests, and dropping by a bunch of parties, finding the time to exercise can be as elusive as finding a store that isn’t still blasting Christmas music from its speakers. But even making time for a half-hour walk or yoga session three to four times a week will work wonders on your mood and energy level. It will also help you sleep better at night and wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning. Which leads us to . . .
Get a great night’s sleep. Sleep is important all year long, not only as a mental refresher that wards off the cognitive impairment that can occur with deprivation, but also physically as an immune booster and a muscle, bone, and joint healer. Considering that the vast majority of medical studies reiterate what Mom has been telling us since we were knee high—the magical number of hours per night might vary slightly by person, but a safe bet is 7—it’s a wonder that more of us don’t listen. Instead of staying up late to accomplish one more task—which, let’s face it, can probably wait till morning—shut off your TV and electronics screens, leave your phone and other devices in another room, and go to bed at the same time every night. To help you achieve this goal . . .
Invest in some new, quality bedding basics. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably been using the same duvet insert, blankets, and pillows for more years than you can count on one hand. If the stuff you have was bought on the cheap to quickly fulfill a need or has been hanging around well past its expiration date—key indicators of this are holes, sheer patches in the fabric, stitching that’s coming apart, or filling that’s so lumpy or compacted that you feel sore after waking up in the morning—now’s a good time to invest in some brand-new basics.
Treat yourself to one thing you’ve been wanting. While we might overindulge in food during the holidays, we tend to focus our giving on others and not ourselves. Now that the gift giving is officially done and your time and hard-earned cash are back to being all yours, it’s time to give yourself something special. Have you been planning a visit to the museum to see that new exhibit you heard incredible things about? Take a weekend morning to enjoy it. Could you use a new robe or other cozy winter item? The timing couldn’t be better—what with all the post-holiday sales—to pick one up. In desperate need of a vacation? Take a few hours to research where you’d like to go and the costs. There’s no time like the present to start planning—and give yourself something to look forward to.
What are your favorite ways to hit the reset button after the holidays?