We’ve made it to the last stretch of 2020 and this means that many of us will finally be able to have a well-earned break and chance to reflect on the past year. While this holiday season may be different and frustrating if we can’t be with loved ones or fulfil usual traditions, it’s important to make the most of it—whether that means catching up on rest and relaxation or celebrating with who you can.
We consulted our medical advisor Dr. Tiffany Lester for her guidance on everything from how to avoid painful post-lunch bloating to the best supplements to take this holiday season. Here’s her top tips:
Alcohol has been the salve for many of us during 2020. It can be easy to accidentally consume too much, especially when you are having back-to-back Zoom parties. I recommend no more than 1-2 drinks within 24 hours to protect your liver function. Remember alcohol is technically a toxin so hydrate accordingly. We need at least half our body weight in ounces a day. So if you are drinking alcohol, add in 10-20 oz to counteract any negative effects. Gone too far and too late to turn back? Activated charcoal may help if you take before bed to bind up excess alcohol and lessen that morning hangover.
Regardless of where you are spending the holidays during this pandemic, overindulging or eating rich foods may happen! This can lead to mild to severe digestive distress depending on your baseline which adds more stress to an already overwhelmed body. To prevent or lessen negative GI (gastrointestinal) effects, I highly recommend taking a digestive enzyme before or after meals. DIGEST START is an excellent option and easy to take even while travelling.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is connected to the change of seasons when our daylight hours get shorter and nighttime is longer. It affects millions of people each year. When we are exposed to less daylight this can lower levels of Vitamin D pretty drastically. Vitamin D is often called the happy hormone and for good reason! While most famously known for immune support, it also supports a healthy mood. Taking Vitamin D can help as well as exposing yourself to sunlight as much as possible during the day. If not, getting a sun lamp can help you feel more alert and energetic. You only need to use one for about 30-40 minutes per day, ideally as soon as you wake up.
Exercise supports the health of our lymphatic system which is a part of our immune system. The contraction of our muscles aids in circulating immune cells throughout our bodies to fight infections when needed. It also helps digestion by stimulating the nerves in our gut for proper elimination. Along with the endorphin rush, exercise is one of the best action items on your health checklist! It only takes 10-30 minutes a day depending on the workout to reap these benefits.
Vitamin D remains a pillar of immune support supplements and is accessible to almost everyone these days. I recommend getting your levels checked by your doctor and supplement to keep your levels between 60-80. If you do choose to socialize this holiday season, I recommend gathering outside, keeping at least 6 feet distance, and wearing a mask to protect yourself from COVID-19. It is also advised to avoid buffet-style eating and have individual servings if possible.
Sleep has always been a foundational pillar for health, particularly this year. When we sleep, our bodies’ detoxification systems are in turbo mode cleaning out all the debris we have accumulated that day. When our sleep rhythms are interrupted, this process is impaired which negatively affects everything from digestion, mental health, hormone balancing, and immune system. Having a sleep routine 30-60 minutes before your bedtime to notify your brain that it is time to rest is important. This may include supplements like magnesium and SLEEP DROPS to help you fall and stay asleep throughout the night.
Whether you are gathering in person or online with friends and family, it’s important to still exercise appropriate boundaries to prevent social exhaustion. Check in with yourself frequently and if you notice any feelings of anxiety or fatigue, take a break. Graciously exit and do something nourishing for yourself like taking a walk outside or indulging in a short nap. It’s ok to prioritize your needs first and rejoin the fun when/if you are ready!