Your Holiday Hangover Is Real – Here’s How to Recover  

Experts suggest watching your salt intake, going for a walk, and taking time to recharge.

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After being around your crazy family, indulging in lots of food, and drinking until the most unpleasant conversations become tolerable, recovering from the holidays can be a tricky process. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take during this festive season to decrease the holiday damage.

It comes as no surprise that some of our favorite seasonal recipes often contain a high amount of fat, salt, and sugar. Culinary nutritionist and author Jackie Newgent says, “Eating too much sodium in a meal can cause temporary bloating – and make the heart work harder.” After your next holiday meal, drink more water than usual and decrease your normal sodium intake by half. Newgent also suggests going for an after-dinner stroll to burn off some calories. “The best way to combat this unwanted calorie source and to prevent post-dessert energy swings is to go for a walk. The more sweets you eat, the longer the walk!” 

Your sleep schedule is another part of your routine that often takes a beating during the holidays. Drinking or eating too much can hurt the quality of your sleep, leaving you restless and agitated. Even if you are unable to fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning, sleep expert Dr. Jerald Simmons suggests fighting the urge to sleep in the next morning. He says, “The solution is simple: Start by recognizing that it’s not good to sleep in late if you have difficulty falling asleep."  

Although we love our families, spending a few days with them can leave us with a physical and emotional hangover. In fact, NYU researchers have found that an emotionally charged experience can leave a lasting impact on the brain, even influencing cognition. If you find that you may have over-imbibed, sip on a low-sugar sports drink before bedtime to replace lost electrolytes. While you're at it, look for opportunities to take breaks during holiday gatherings. You can go for a walk or run to the store to pick up a “forgotten” ingredient. This way, you have time to recharge by yourself and maintain your sanity during this busy season. 

Related:

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10 Drinks to Avoid (or Sip Mindfully!)