How to Beat Holiday Fatigue for More Energy, Fast

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Happy Holidays to all! If you’ve unwrapped presents or you’re still enjoying the comfort of your bed, it’s possible you’re asking yourself how to get more energy.

Between holiday shopping, decorating, and socializing (even from a distance) chances are you or a loved one have experienced the dreaded yet real holiday fatigue syndrome.

So today I’ll share some reasons why you’re always tired after the holidays and how to get more energy fast!

Why am I always tired after the holidays?

Of course, the holidays aren’t over yet, with New Year’s around the corner. But even between holidays, you may notice a slump in your energy and experience ongoing fatigue. There are many reasons why you’re tired after the holiday season.

For one, the initial excitement of the holiday season has died down, and that’s often when we realize just how tired we are. But here are my top reasons why you feel so drained after Christmas.

Not prioritizing sleep

Not getting enough sleep is a common one–we tell ourselves that we’re too busy; get off of a regular sleep schedule, or don’t pay attention to things that disrupt our sleep, from blue light at night from online shopping, to ambient sounds, and using alcohol instead of natural sleep aids for a ‘quick fix’.

Sugar High

Added sugars and quick digesting carbs, especially if you’re reaching for sugar cookies when you’d normally be having a meal, can really drain your energy. Simple carbohydrates are among the most common foods that make you tired; they can also disrupt your sleep patterns.

A cross-sectional study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine examined the relationship between added sugars and sleep quality and the results were telling. There was a strong correlation between added sugar intake and reduced sleep quality. In Fact, only 17% of the 100 participants reported quality sleep.

Emotional Stress

I love my family, and I love the Holidays. But let’s be honest: if this season gets stressful most years, this year we also had a global health crisis and a lot of uncertainty. Stress, especially chronic stress, can really cause you to feel like you’re always tired; add to that the extra stress and expectations around the Holidays and it’s no wonder you might wake up the day after Christmas feeling more tired than usual.

Like a poor diet, stress can disrupt your sleep and reduce sleep quality; read about my take on the close relationship between stress and sleep

How do I get more energy after Christmas?

If you’re always tired the last few weeks, you don’t need to resort to a crash Holiday detox. Just a few simple steps and changes in your routine and diet you can get more energy fast so you can enjoy the rest of this festive season to its fullest.

Start Your Morning Right

Don’t stress about Christmas Day–it’s a day meant to be enjoyed! But if you’re still feeling the holiday fatigue, consider a few tweaks to the mornings after. Start your day off by hydrating with replenishing herbal tea or water; get 15 minutes of fresh sunshine, and do some light movement, such as a short walk or even stretching.

Add Foods that Give You Energy

Notice I didn’t say go cold turkey on Grandma’s fruit cake. The truth is, is that holidays are meant to be celebrated, and including some sweets is perfectly fine. It’s all about balance: if you’ve been indulging more than usual, try to stick to just one treat or two a day. Another recommendation is adding foods that give you energy. Stock your kitchen with lean protein, fresh produce, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Some of my favorite energy boosting foods include salmon (omega 3’s fatty acids, combined with vitamin B12 to optimize how your body fights inflammation and using iron); oatmeal or quinoa ; avocados; eggs; and berries.

Follow Your Chronotype

Still facing post holiday energy slumps and trying to get in 7-9 hours of sleep per night? The truth is that one size doesn’t fit all. If you fight your body’s circadian rhythm, especially for holiday events, you’re bound to feel more tired. Take my Chronotype Quiz to see how to schedule your day for more energy, more productivity, and better sleep!

Set Boundaries

Holidays are about spending time with loved ones–even from a distance. And they also often include decorating, buying presents, and a slew of other activities. While these can bring joy, even I need some me-time. If you feel overwhelmed, take an afternoon to read a good book in a comfortable setting. I love lounging and even taking a 20 minute nap in my Dēp Slēpwear mask and hoodie for noise blocking and temperature control.

With these simple tweaks, you’ll get more energy, beat that holiday fatigue, and be ready to celebrate a hopeful New Year! I can’t wait to help you continue to sleep better and get more energy for doing the things you love in 2021.

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Michael Breus, Ph.D - The Sleep Doctor is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and one of only 168 psychologists to pass the Sleep Medical Specialty Board without going to medical school. Dr. Breus is a sought after lecturer and his knowledge is shared daily in major national media worldwide including Today, Dr. Oz, Oprah, and for fourteen years as the sleep expert on WebMD. Dr. Breus is the bestselling author of The Power of When, The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan and Good Night!

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