Young woman relaxing with tea during the holidays

Don’t Wait Until You’re Sick and Tired

As another year comes to a close and the evening commitments build up, are you in need of a nap? When you look back over your calendar for the past year (and I hope you do this), do you feel invigorated by what you achieved and the changes you made, or do you think the past 12 months were a bit exhausting?

The holidays and New Year’s are the perfect time to talk about fatigue. Most of us have too much on our plates already, and then the holidays arrive. Instead of using the long hours of darkness to turn off the lights and get more sleep, we shop in stores and online, RSVP “I can’t wait!” to the party invitations, and dance, eat and drink into the wee hours of the morning.

Chanukah, Kwanzaa and Christmas are major cultural festivals that deserve all the joy they bring to us and our families and friends, but when they’re over, there’s a seemingly inevitable slide into being just too tired. When January comes this year, let’s make a commitment to use the cold winter months to replenish body, mind and soul.

If we keep burning the candle at both ends, ignoring our fatigue, and dosing ourselves with coffee and tea to wake up, and wine or a margarita to decompress and relax, we stress our body’s immune system. We may be functioning all day long, but our adrenal glands are pumping out cortisol and we begin experiencing aches and pains, anxiety, sleeplessness, or oversleeping our alarm each morning.

Here are a few tips to keep you from running out of steam halfway through the day, and sleeping soundly all night:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Your body thrives on routine, so give up the third episode of your binge-a-thon, and hit the sheets.
  • If you can’t wake up without crawling to the coffee pot, then go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you can.
  • Cut back on caffeine. Coffee and caffeinated teas and sodas will disrupt your sleep if you drink them in the afternoon, so try to keep those beverages to the morning hours. Or give them up altogether, albeit a little at a time. No cold turkey!
  • If not drinking caffeine in the afternoon leaves you feeling sluggish, head outside for some fresh air and a walk. Drink some water. Eat a healthy snack.
  • If you continue to feel tired, don’t wait until you’re sick AND tired before you do something about it. A visit to your naturopathic doctor for a review of your blood work and diet is in order. I help many of my clients with lifestyle and nutrition changes that get them back on the right track.

You deserve to greet every day feeling great, and ready to take on the tasks that will make your dreams come true. Let’s all get some rest before a cold or flu force us to go to bed. As a mom with a new baby, I’m all for grabbing a nap when I need to. You have my permission to take a nap, too!