There is absolutely no doubt that by the time December rolls around we are fatigued at best. This year is no exception, in fact, this year we are likely suffering worse than before. The stress of avoiding COVID-19 and keeping our loved ones safe really has frayed a few nerves. This is why a summer holiday, mini-break or staycation is more important than ever. To face the year ahead without some r and r, (rest and relaxation, not rum and raspberry) we may struggle. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get back to your spritely ways and skip into 2021 like 2020 was a breeze.
Close Your Eyes and Clear Your Mind
Before you even get to clock out for the year and go on holiday, the final push is likely the most stressful. You still have to keep going, be productive and focus. Amongst the most beneficial things you can do for your brain and body is simple meditation to help you relax. You can do it at home for free too. You may struggle to clear your mind at first but with some time and effort you will get better and you will notice a difference in your ability to cope with stress, you will sleep better and you will be able to focus better (1).
Breathe Deeply and Stretch
If sitting still isn’t doing it for you, you can give yoga a go; it is equally beneficial when compared to meditation (2). Taking classes is recommended but if you can’t get to a class, you can start with some online tutorials. If you’ve never done yoga before, make sure that whoever you are learning your poses from ensures that you are doing them correctly, breathing correctly and you are not in danger of injuring yourself. There are numerous different types of yoga to choose from, with a little research you can find what’s right for you.
Unplug and Go Offline
We don’t notice the burden our phones place on us. They don’t just weigh down our handbags and our pockets, they weigh us down mentally. Social media is our free time and sneaky not-so-free time indulgence. The screen becomes a black hole which absorbs our focus and ability to be in the moment (3). Consider unplugging so that you can get the most out of your summer holiday.
When we are online we may get into fruitless arguments with trolls, constantly check our messages and may obsessively become engrossed in groups which are not constructive. It’s great to find common ground with strangers, but sometimes we need to find common ground with our loved ones too. The world will not collapse if we don’t watch that video, read that comment or snoop on your frenemies.
Get Your Heart Pumping
Next to clearing our minds and taking our eyes off our device screens, getting our heart rate up is amongst the best way to release some pent-up year-end stress. Exercise releases endorphins, helps you build muscle tone, helps you sleep at night and keeps you healthy (4).
If you can’t make it to the gym, there are an overwhelming amount of exercise tutorials and regimens online to get you started. Make sure you are careful not to overdo it or injure yourself by using reputable resources. Not every Instagram model is a trained personal trainer and if your form is not right, your weights are too heavy or you are simply doing the wrong workout, you may hurt yourself.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
You’re not alone if the excitement of summer holiday festive foods get the better of you. Walking into any grocery store towards the end of the year ensures a barrage of sweet, salty, carb-alicious treats which are hard to avoid in the wake of a stressful yearend. You may not want to miss out entirely, but you should be mindful.
The more processed your food, the less filling and nutritious it is which starts a bad cycle of us eating more. The knock-on effect is that we may feel less relaxed by the end of our summer holiday than we had intended (5). You can manage this by watching your portion control, snacking on fresh fruit and veggies in between meals and planning your meals ahead of time.
If you’re off to an indulgent lunch or dinner, make sure you have a healthy breakfast. A healthy, filling smoothie in the morning will be the difference between you reaching for that extra mince pie or handful of crisps to stave off a grumbling tummy.
If you’re a fan of fizzy drinks, now is especially important to decrease and monitor your intake. In the summery December heat, we become dehydrated more quickly and the sugar in our soft drinks only exacerbates the thirst (6). If you have a bottle of cold water close at hand, you can ensure that you are hydrated and you can cut down on the extra sugar you would otherwise be slurping down.
When it comes to alcohol, we are definitely more likely to indulge in the festive season. A beer or a glass of wine in the sun is one of life’s greatest joys, but it does take its toll. It’s a great idea to dilute your wine with sparkling water to make a spritzer, opt for an alcohol-free beer, or mocktail, or follow each drink with a generous glass of water to keep you hydrated and happy throughout your relaxing summer festivities.
Take a Walk
The holidays are the best time to get back to your hobby. If your hobby takes place outdoors, even better. A good, engrossing outdoor hobby will take your mind off the day-to-day goings-on and improve your mental health (6). Taking a hike, going fishing, riding a bike, whatever it is that you fancy, the fresh air and summer sun are bound to do you some good. Be sure to pack enough drinking water and lather yourself in sunblock. South Africa also has an especially harsh sun so you should consider finding shade during the hottest times of the day.
Before you get back to work, take some time for yourself so that you can face 2021 feeling refreshed and revitalised. For an additional boost, have a look at the Sfera Bio Nutrition range of vitamins, minerals and supplements to keep you going before your holiday, and to keep you on form because; ke Dezemba boss!