Episode 70 – Handling the Holiday Hustle
For the month of November I’ll be covering topics with the theme of Nourish + Restore.
In this week’s episode, I’ll be chatting about the best ways to handle the holidays with the stress, travel, events, chaos and hustle that can derail us if we’re not prepared.
Michelle Rogers, ND, MSAOM, FDN-P
Over the past several years, I’ve created the most accessible, streamlined and effective virtual practice working with high-achieving women entrepreneurs, go-getters, and other badass women all over the world.
I intentionally blend my background of Functional, Naturopathic, and East Asian Medicine with my extensive experience in the online business world to help provide my clients with the personalized blueprint and strategy they need to get the mental focus, energy and business strategy required to share their gifts, better serve their clients and show up even more for the people they love.
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Hey there, and welcome back to The WELLthy Woman Podcast. In today’s episode, I’m going to be chatting about how to handle the holidays gracefully, so you can feel prepared for whatever this season brings.
I’m specifically talking about the chaos, travel, social events, and family food dynamics.
Now, you might be one of those holiday cheer types, which is all well and good, but that’s not me. I prefer to keep things mellow and actually celebrate the seasonal changes as opposed to the typically recognized holidays, but hey, I feel you – the holidays can be stressful – on MANY different levels.
First, I want to talk about the chaos – the dependable NON-routine that we helplessly tumble into towards the end of November. It’s like everything we’ve been working towards all year – the food choices, the movement, the organization, the motivation, the rituals… it all starts to slip away…
UNLESS, we can anticipate, plan and prioritize.
Let’s start with scheduling issues. First, our bodies have to adjust to the end of Daylight Savings, which I personally think is a silly construct, but that’s besides the point. It might seem like an hour time change shouldn’t make that much of an impact on us, but our body’s 24 hour clock is pretty hardwired, so it actually takes us a day or two to adjust. On top of that, there are several articles and studies that talk about some interesting health issues that spike around those times, including heart attacks and traffic accidents.
Beyond this, a lot of us tend to travel during the holidays – whether it’s a road trip or air travel, and these can definitely throw off the routines that we’ve spent so much time melding into our day.
I know I’ve mentioned this in a previous episode, and in some of my instagram stories, but creating a habit takes a lot of consistency, and consistency takes patience and dedication. Ingraining a habit into our subconscious can take anywhere from 18-254 days, but if we don’t maintain our boundaries, and prepare for reasonable adjustments, we can easily lose that momentum when things shift and we’re either in a new environment, we have visitors or we’re exposed to a number of different variables over the holiday season.
So, the first thing to do is anticipate the shifts, plan to be FLEXIBLE and prioritize the essentials.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to train myself to get OUT of the mindset of “if it’s not done right, it’s not worth doing” – this is a perfectionistic mindset and it can be detrimental to your progress, because it can not only create stagnation but it can make you fall off the path altogether.
Maybe you’ve developed this amazing morning routine, but now you’re traveling or you’re in someone’s house or an airbnb or on the road… you don’t need to sacrifice ALL the work you’ve been putting in, you just need to adjust things.
Maybe you can only do PART of the morning routine at the time you want, but maybe you’ll have to reformat your day to fit in some movement later than you want, or meditate before bed instead, but that’s okay. Things don’t have to be perfect, right? Prioritize your non-negotiables.
Give yourself some grace, but still ensure that you’re nourishing yourself in the ways you need, because, believe me, it’s going to come in REALLY handy during these next couple months, especially if the holidays tend to be a stressful time for you.
Next, let’s talk a little more about travel, because it can be really taxing on our bodies for multiple reasons, especially if we’re crossing time zones. Again, we need to anticipate the stressor, plan to deal and prioritize our non-negotiables.
The stress of traveling can take a serious toll on our immune system, which makes us more susceptible to catching something from our flying friends who ALWAYS seem to be coughing and sneezing.
My favorite things for air travel are:
- Intermittent fasting
- spring water
- activated charcoal.
Intermittent fasting is one of my favorite strategies when traveling, because it actually helps our body adjust to new time zones. Although light has the biggest effect on our body clock, the time we eat – and don’t eat – is a close runner up.
I usually wait to eat until the next opportunity for breakfast – doing this, will help to reset our body clock to our new time zone, which helps regulate our sleep, our mood and our energy. If you’re a butter coffee drinker, feel free to indulge – your body will still be in a fasting state.
Spring water is my second favorite travel tool. As soon as I’m past security, I’m on the search – ideally, I try to find a glass bottle, but if Evian is all I can find, then I deal. Staying hydrated is key, because it helps keep the detox pathways open and moistens our mucus membranes, which helps defend our body from catching any nasty bugs or viruses.
The activated charcoal helps to mop up the various toxins we get exposed to while flying. Last year, the World Health Organization released an article talking about how the toxic recirculated cabin air might be linked to cancer, chronic fatigue and neurological disorders.
These toxins include the off gassing from cleaning products, fire retardants, jet fuel, engine oil and other chemicals. Gross, right?
Yeah, be sure to take your activated charcoal. I recommend taking it every 2-3 hours.
Alright, what about social events? Whether it’s related to work, family or friends, we tend to have more late nights and the booze.
So, what to do when we’re trying to maintain the healthy trajectory we’ve been on… anticipate situations you might encounter, create a plan and prioritize your non-negotiables.
I usually create boundaries for myself in these situations. For example, decide how many adult beverages you’re going to have – if any – and stick to it. If you’re going to have some booze, stick to the strong stuff, because oddly enough, it creates less stress on your body due to lower levels of sugar, empty calories, mold and other potential toxins found in beer and wine.
I also recommend mixing it with soda water and a bit of bitters or citrus to spruce it up, if needed. Avoid tonic water, though, because it tends to have high fructose corn syrup.
Your activated charcoal is going to come in handy here too – it’ll help mop up some of those toxins from the booze, so I usually like taking some before bed.
If you’re a non-drinker – awesome. I love sipping on sparkling water with a little citrus and bitters. It’s a super tasty cocktail like beverage that still makes you feel like you’re a part of the gang.
In regards to late nights, I know it’s not always easy to be in bed before 11p, but do your best not to pull too many late nights in row, because it will tax your immune system and potentially throw things off for you the next day.
Finally, let’s talk food. Again, we need to anticipate the stressor, plan our approach and prioritize our non-negotiables.
It can be difficult to deal with the guilt trips and peer pressure that can surround the holiday season for those of us who choose the clean food route. Whether you’re gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, nightshade-free… whatever your dietary preferences are, you’re bound to run into someone who is, at best, confused, and at worst completely offended.
The confused part is easy, because it can give you an opportunity to start a conversation and share how eating cleaner has improved the various aspects of your life. Who knows… you might single-handedly improve someone’s health and happiness.
The offended part, however… not so easy, but still workable. Again, this goes back to the preparation. If you know you’re going to someone’s home where the host could be offended if you choose not to fill your plate, then call ahead, explain the sitch and offer to bring a dish or help out. If that person is going to be unreasonable, eat something beforehand and perhaps re-evaluate whether or not that energy is serving you and your family… BUT that’s a whole other issue that I’m not going to be covering in this episode.
Bottom line is that you have to be an advocate for yourself. Plain and simple.
So, for a smoother holiday season, I recommend that you…
- Anticipate your obstacles
- Plan your approach
- Prioritize your non-negotiables
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Otherwise, tune in next week, where I talk with you all about adrenal health, my favorite way to test your stress response and how to restore their function, so you can maintain energy and avoid burnout.
Chat with you next week!