Planned or spontaneous, waking up with an over-indulgence hangover happens to the best of us around this time of year. And why not? It’s fun, and celebrating with our loved ones boosts feel-good hormones and isn’t a cause for guilt. That being said, the collective toll of late nights, rich food, and too much booze can rack up quickly, leaving us feeling more bloated and lethargic than usual.
To avoid early holiday burnout, (we’re talking complete lack of motivation or energy to do, well, anything), it’s worth adopting a handful of wellness-oriented strategies early on in the season. Accordingly, here are 12 simple + effective tactics to consider. Try one—or better yet, commit to the full list.
1. Ditch the alcohol
This might sound counterintuitive given that it’s the holidays, but avoiding alcohol entirely at least two nights a week will go a long way to protecting your liver from too much merriment. Already tea-total? Pledge to avoid all drinks with added sugar.
2. Go plant-based twice a week
Now is the time when all good intentions go flying out of the window, but too many treats all the time can have a negative impact on mental and physical well-being, not to mention your immune system. Gently cleanse and restore as you go by drastically upping your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables two days a week. Think: smoothies, salads, roasted root vegetables, and soup.
3. Fortify with fresh herbs
The healing powers of herbs have been utilized for centuries. In fact, sage gets its name from the Latin word Salvere, which means “to save.” Fittingly, the hearty herb makes for a potent tonic: Add it to pumpkin dishes or steep with hot water for 15 minutes to make a restorative tea. Other herby winter saviors to lookout for include peppermint, holy basil, rosemary, and oregano.
4. Vitamin C
The role of vitamin c in collagen synthesis make it the component for glowing skin throughout the party season. To maximize results, it’s best to take a two-pronged internal and external approach: Apply a topical supplement (like this one) every morning and incorporate key superfoods, like baobab fruit, lucuma, and camu camu once a day
5. Look out for your liver
Some of the liver’s varied functions include producing and secreting bile, metabolizing fats, and blood detoxification—which means it’s particularly under strain this time of year. To give it a helping hand try adding any of the following into your daily rotation: dandelion root tea or tincture, fresh artichoke, and milk thistle. Antioxidant-rich spirulina capsules can also be beneficial.
6. Eat in accordance with the seasons
Sourcing seasonal foods isn’t just better for the environment, it’s best practice for our own personal well-being too. Winter foods like beets, Brussels sprouts, squash, and turnips come loaded with winter microbes that support everything from the immune system to digestion, energy, sleep, and mood. Seeking out food at the farmer’s market also means getting in more nutrients, because low mileage veg = fewer preservatives, pesticides, and antifungal agents to stall mold and slow the ripening process.
7. Bring the party
The perfect party fare is a winning trifecta of delicious, easy-to-assemble, and healthy-ish. A foolproof way to ensure your plate hits all marks is to bring such a dish yourself. Those in search of inspiration might like to check out plant-based chef, Amy Chaplin or the husband and wife duo behind Green Kitchen Stories.
8. The miracle of ritual
The holidays can be enjoyable, but they can also be stressful. To avoid losing your cool, stick to your usual routine as much as possible. Traveling and can’t make your Friday yoga class? Sign up for an online tutorial, or download your favorite guided meditation, breathing app, or podcast instead. We love Dan Harris’s 10% Happier courses.
9. Focus on the gut
Around 70-80% of the body’s immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract, which makes probiotics an essential when it comes to safeguarding your health and replenishing good gut bacteria throughout December, and beyond. We might be biased, but these are our favorite.
10. Keep it cool
A series of clinical studies over past few years have proven the link between the temperature of our bedrooms and the quality of our sleep. For an optimal snooze, scientists recommend keeping things on the cooler end of the spectrum: Between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit is shown to trigger melatonin, stabilize blood sugar levels, and boost immunity.
The most buzzed-about ingredient of 2018, turmeric also comes in handy as a hangover cure. Thanks to its phenolic component, curcumin, the vibrant spice helps balance the liver and quickens the metabolism of alcohol, while also delivering a hefty dose of beta-carotene, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and vitamin c. We love this soothing latte recipe, with an extra twist of black pepper to aid absorption.
12. Plan for the morning after
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to excessive eating or drinking. Keep well-hydrated during the day leading up to the event and be sure to stock the fridge with nutritious snacks for post-party binging. In the morning, sip a large mug of warm water with fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt to help soothe the stomach and reach for an alkalizing green smoothie, before ordering pizza.
Photographs Grégoire Alexandre for The Nue Co.