I’m going to keep this quick and easy, given that I’m about to embark on my first activity of about 500 scheduled for this next week. I’m very excited for all the festivities, and yet I know that the thing that gets me every time, every holiday, since as long as I can remember, is this: If you don’t take a timeout, you will have a freakout. The nonstop people coupled with the nonstop consumption can leave one energetically exhausted, cursing that last piece of cake (cocktail, cookie, candy cane), and praying for a vacation… from your vacation. Here are six foolproof ways to stave off a holiday meltdown:
Take a bath. In a full house, the bathroom can be the only safe haven from that crazy uncle or those sugar-charged nieces and nephews. Turn down the lights, light a candle, and give yourself twenty minutes of alone time. It will go a long way.
Take a walk. Whether you need an escape, or want some QT with someone you don’t see all that often, walks are the one type of exercise anyone can do anywhere. Most of us forgo our fitness routine during the holidays, so daily walks are a great way to not totally lose that yoga tone.
Watch your alcohol intake. At this time of year, drinking can happen every single night. Everyone’s different, but alcohol can be a real buzz kill the next day. My plan is to pre-plan which nights are for partying and need to end with just a glass or two of wine.
Don’t overdo the sugar. Easier said than done, don’t I know it. Last Christmas, I went all out on the treats and I came home with a bonafide I’ve-got-the-shakes-for-sugar addiction. I’ve vowed to be a little more careful this year, while still indulging here and there when it’s worth it.
Smell something other than cookies. We’re coocoo for aromatherapy. If you’re one of the converted to Lotus Wei, Essence of Vali, Hope Gillerman, or other purveyors of powerful, healing smells—keep that bottle handy. It only takes a moment to take a deep inhalation and switch up the internal energy, even as chaos rules around us.
Feel gratitude. For your family. For your gifts. For the time you get off of work. Remembering to be grateful at this time of year, as always, offers a quick reality check when you’re screaming inner teenage self tries to rear her ugly head (which happens to the best of us around family, am I right?).
Have a wonderful holiday weekend, and we’ll be back with sporadic postings next week!
This post might be premature as I’ve only had one for two days now, but I am in love with my new humidifier (that’s Canadian for “vaporizer,” by the way).
My skin’s been pretty dry lately, despite the fact that I’m using a super rich new moisturizer by Tammy Fender (review coming soon), that eye serum by La Bella Figura, a gentle Tata Harper cleanser and my usual argan oil every night. I also eat plenty of good fats, drink lots of water and take omegas every day. So what gives?
Well, since the holiday season started I’ve probably (definitely) been drinking more alcohol, which is dehydrating and disrupts my sleep a little bit, which stresses out skin. Plus, the air has gotten a little drier outside and in; I live in a prewar building where I can’t easily control the heat, and the radiator is right next to my bed.
That’s why when it was suggested to me recently that I get a vaporizer, I jumped at the idea—not to mention it was on Alexandra’s list of winter skincare tips. Dry Montreal winters necessitated them, so we always had them in our rooms growing up, and I got another one years ago, a gift from an engineer who had designed the thing. But somewhere along the line I forgot they existed. Now, just two days in, it’s love all over again.
It’s admittedly a little humid in New York now, but I’m convinced, though I can’t prove it, that the last two nights I’ve slept better, probably because the moisture in the air makes me more comfortable and less likely to wake up parched and desperate for a sip of water. Also, seeing is believing: My skin is much more hydrated, as if by magic.
So what about you? Do you use one?
While it’s not something I’m proud of, I’ve got plenty of hangovers under my belt. See, despite all of my healthy practices—yoga, deep breathing, clean cosmetics, brown rice and kale eating—I’m just not that great at saying no to that third or fourth drink once I get going. Bless those of you who are—and damn those of you who are immune to hangovers altogether! Apparently you exist, and you are lucky. But while I am working on my to-don’t list (new rule: don’t drink before dinner!), I’ve also concluded that the only thing worse than a hangover is the guilt and self-loathing that can come with it.
And where does that take most of us? Why, straight to the couch with a big bag of chips or some other crap we’re craving that can leave us feeling worse than before as we try desperately to fill that hangover hole in our hearts. This got us thinking: Short of avoiding hangovers altogether (genius!), there has to be a more holistic approach to dealing with them when they happen. So, since we know there are no silver bullets for too much booze anyways, here are our top ten healthy tips for healing after a night of hard partying.
Got any to add?
Have some miso soup with your eggs. This is totally a thing in Japan. Miso soup replaces a lot of things our bodies need to feel better: water, sodium, and other nutrients depleted by the diuretic effects of the alcohol. Because it’s a fermented food that contains healthy bacteria, miso can also aid with digestion. Too much alcohol is known to disrupt the stomach’s lining and can often result in unpleasant digestive side effects—let’s leave it at that. Oh and the cysteine in eggs breaks down the hangover-causing toxin acetaldehyde—so they really are a good breakfast choice post-boozing (and don’t skip the yellows).
Take a handful of omega 3s—and then repeat. There’s not much omegas aren’t good for. Take them when you get home; take them when you wake up; take them take them take them. Alcohol causes inflammation (which is at the root of most health problems), and Omegas are proven to fight that inflammation a serious way. They will also help combat some of the unpleasant side effects of alcohol on your face—like dry, aggro, blotchy skin. Just trust us on this one.
Drink kombucha tea. Yeah, the weird stuff with the floaties at the bottom that actually can contain a bit of alcohol itself. Maybe it’s a hair-of-the-dog thing, but kombucha absolutely makes us feel better when we have a hangover. Again, it’s fermented, which means it’s really good for your sad little tummy. And if you don’t believe us just ask more seasoned hangover experts like Lindsay Lohan and the ladies at Jezebel.
Have sex or a just good cuddle. We’ve said it lots of times: Physical contact releases oxytocin and other happy-making hormones. And feeling cuddly and warm about the world beats out feeling glum and self-punishing. The trick is you have to do it with someone you like because, most of the time time, sex with someone you don‘t like is probably not going to help anything—and definitely not your hangover.
Get some body work. If there’s no one to curl up with at the moment, try a professional. Actually, try a professional anyways. I always forget this one, but a good massage makes a planet of difference. Maybe that’s because massage also releases happy hormones, or that one massage is proven to seriously boost your immune system with more white blood cells.
Try some hydrotherapy. One of my favorite activities—hungover or not—is hitting up a Korean spa here in Los Angeles. While these spas offer great massages and scrubs, I usually just pay the minimum to enjoy their hot and cold tubs, steam rooms and saunas. The act of going from hot water to cold water, and back again, is so rejuvenating. It increases circulation and toxin elimination—some even believe that immersion in cold water gives a kick to the old immune system, which has some scientific support in human and animal studies (though it definitely needs more research). If you have a bath and a shower at home, you can duplicate the spa experience. A few drops of eucalyptus oil into the cold bath is a nice touch—or make the bath hot and the shower cold. Very important: Because this process will also make you sweat, you must HYDRATE. Make a little lemon or cucumber water to feel extra spa-y and kind to yourself.
Do some exercise—but just a little bit! The camps are divided on this, but here’s our take: If exercise makes you feel better then you should do it. Again though, hydration is key here, and it is important that you not overdo it. Exercise increases circulation, helps elimination, and releases a cocktail of mood-boosting hormones. The few times I’ve forced myself to do it with a hangover, it’s totally helped. From a psychological point of view, if you’re a bit of a type A, it will also let you feel more OK about taking the rest of the day to chill (which we encourage).
Have a banana/blueberry/kale/lemon smoothie. Antioxidants. Potassium. Natural sugars. Vitamins. Digestive enzymes. These are things that actually really help heal a hangover! Get thee to a green smoothie—it has to be made fresh though, not those plastic bottles of green stuff next to juice in the grocery store.
Drink coconut water from a coconut. We all know by now that coconut water is nature’s Gatorade—just way better. According to this TIME piece, it has the same five electrolytes found in human blood; that sports drink we just mentioned only has two. Pshaw. Also, it’s been used in medical emergencies. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had hangovers that could almost qualify. We advocate getting a real green coconut if you can—many healthfood stores offer them with a straw—because whole foods are always better, right Mr. Pollan?
Enjoy your hangover. Come again? That’s right, you heard me. There are some great reasons to have a hangover: You needed a break anyways. You haven’t taken a sick day in months. You can’t remember the last time you watched daytime television. There’s nothing you have to do that can’t wait until tomorrow. You still haven’t watched Country Strong. Sundays are for rest anyways. Nothing important ever happens on a Tuesday. In other words: Let yourself off the hook. Besides, the only person mad at your hangover is you.
This morning marks the beginning of my caffeine detox. Now, I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with caffeine. In fact studies have shown that it may actually come with certain health perks like increased metabolism and reduced risk of diabetes, among others.
So why am I cutting caffeine out this week? Well, sometimes writers get lucky, and next week I am going to visit and write about a super luxurious but rather strict retreat program at the Ranch at Live Oaks in Malibu (or as Siobhan and I like to call it: Malibooya).
What’s on the menu? No much: no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine, no meat. What will be is yoga, hiking, swimming and clean (but probably small) vegetarian meals. I’m thoroughly excited, if a little scared.
This past Friday I got what I’d describe as a motivational phone call from one of the Ranch’s employees. The gentleman on the other end told me kindly (but firmly) that if I didn’t detox before coming on the retreat it would be veryveryvery hard. So here goes nothing.
While sugar, alcohol and meat are relatively easy to give up, coffee notsomuch. I haven’t gone without my multiple morning espressos for years, and I am definitely one of those cartoonish types who does not like speaking to anyone before I’ve had it.
What about you? Do you drink caffeine? Have you ever gone off it? Most importantly, do I have anything to look forward to people?!
P.S. I’m sipping yerba mate right now. I know it has some naturally occurring caffeine in it, but much less than coffee. Baby steps, I still have six days.
For every study, there is usually another one that says the exact opposite. But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research seems to indicate the unthinkable: Heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers.
As reported by Time:
“Even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables — socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on — the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.”
Say what? Sure, moderate drinking—for women that means one to three drinks on any one day, and no more than 7 a week—has long been heralded as a boon to health. Especially, though not exclusively, when that drink is red wine. Until now, though, conventional wisdom argued that once you tipped out of the moderate zone, all benefits would reverse on you. In fact, we asserted as much in the book—and while we may need to revisit aspects of that theory due to new evidence, we’re not going to be changing our whole tune. When it comes to beauty, excessive alcohol consumption will do you no favors, longer life or not.
Nonetheless, this new data makes for some interesting musings about what really consummates good health, no? The verdict is far from in, but could the stress-reducing benefits of alcohol be at play? Is relentless sobriety responsible for some uknown health risk? Fun to ponder, hard to prove. Got any good theories?