♫ Jingle bells, Batman smells...♫
It’s that time of the year again! That time when companies start marketing campaigns starring STRIKINGLY similar folks in red suits, Michael Buble reminds us all that he’s alive, and Grandma Kay shows up expecting you to eat all eight boxes of cookies she brought with her.
Ah, yes. The Holidays.
It’s a time of cheer and indulgence - a little last hurrah prior to the new year when we set some intentions and goals to work towards. Often times, the holidays get perilously close to gluttonous, and we all take our happy indulgences a little too far and reach for that twentieth cookie when we probably didn’t need to give ourselves a stomach ache. As a part of our own ramp-up to our New Year’s resolutions, we wanted to take a hard think about some small things we might be able to incorporate into our holidays to make them a little more healthy and in line with our philosophies of balance.
So when you get home and start plugging your computer in for that family LAN party, gather ‘round the console with your sister, or are about to get your ass whooped in Scrabble by Gran, here are a couple of universal thoughts to keep in mind to make the healthiest out of the coming holidays.
Moderation as a Mantra
Some of us here at D20 (*cough* me *cough*) play a little too much World of Warcrack, and when you log into WoW there’s a little “TIP:” blurb that a lot of companies have been incorporating into their load-in screens. In particular, WoW has one that says “Remember to do everything in moderation (even World of Warcraft!). I admit it’s a little weird to have your drug dealer tell you to take less drugs, but they’re right - moderation in all things, balance, is a life philosophy that we strive for.
If you look around at “healthy holiday tips” around the internet, you’ll get a whole lot of “Bring your own foods! Step on the weight scale to hold yourself accountable! Here are some foods with out-of-the-way ingredients that I can’t afford because my brother spent half our holiday budget on butter already!” You might get a couple of fitness tips or ideas that come off to you as a little too “sucking the fun out of this time of merriment,” so even if they are, objectively, good ideas to keep in mind during the holidays, they might not be the most palatable because they might come across as too extreme for where you are at in your journey for balance.
As you approach the holidays, we at D20 would like to encourage you to keep in mind this mantra of “moderation in all things,” especially when it comes to the idea of moderation. As family gatherings start, finals end, and vacation begins, don’t create a masochistic holiday for yourself. The first and best thing you can do is set an intention for your vacation. Know what you want. We have a big ol’ ritualized welcoming of the New Year specifically to set a couple of intentions for the coming year. Take the time to do so leading up to the New Year. Are you worried about eating too much at the holidays? What’s your exercise: family: gaming ratio going to look like? Are you going to eat until your bursting or take it slow and finally learn how to tell your Grandma “No, I’ve had enough, thanks!” this year? Envision what you want out of this time, make that a priority, and let that be your guide.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
Drink WATER that is. We want to do a whole bit in the future on tackling the importance of good hydration, some interesting drinks that aren’t water that might hydrate you more than water, and the similarities between traditional athletes and esports athletes, because the science might shock you, but for now we want to offer up the little nugget of universal knowledge that, Hey, water is, like, really important for you man. And you’re not drinking enough of it. Because 99% of us aren’t. So I’m generalizing and pooling you, dear reader, with those other people. Just swimming around. In a pool. Of water. That you’re not drinking. Nailed it.
Water is really cool, and vital to pretty much all of our bodily functions. Whatever that holiday intention that you set might be, drinking more water is one of those things that will fit into any holiday health plan.
Ya feelin’ hungry? Ya want a snack? Well you aren’t drinking enough water so you might just be thirsty and mistaking it for hunger, go drink a cup of water and come back to the cookie plate when you’re positive it’s hunger and not your body literally crying out for fluids. You don’t retain water as well as you do pie, either, so you might pee it all out later and even lose a little weight if you’re into that.
Are you going to drink a ton of milk or eggnog and eat a bunch of carbs and stuff? Super stoked to sit on the toilet for longer than you’d like later? According to nutritionist Maria Adams, MS, MPH, RDN, drinking plenty of water is great for your digestive health because fiber pulls water into your colon to make elimination easier and reduces the burden on your kidneys and liver by helping to flush waste products. So drink up!
Does your family give you a headache? Water helps with that, too. In a lil’ study done, within 30 minutes of drinking ~two cups of water, your headache should leave you alone, so water can be a nice little bandaid, but, mind-blower incoming, if you stay hydrated throughout the day, you can even prevent a lot of headaches. Maybe not the headache your nephews might give you, but.
If you are going to go outside for a workout or two this winter, water becomes just as crucial as if you were exercising in the summer sun. Respiration is one of the top ways our bodies lose water, and when you’re exercising out in the cold under all your layers, you’re working harder and therefore breathing harder, but without the physiological cue of sweating to remind us to drink up, you can end up more dehydrated after a winter workout than a summer one.
But the most important reason to drink a lot of water this holiday is to keep focused so when you end up playing flex queue with your brothers for hours you can blame the inevitable losses on them feeding and not you. Because you’re focused. From all the water you’ve been drinking. And not foggy from all the wine. Yeah. Nailed it.
S.L.E.E.P. the Greatest Gift of All
The healthiest thing you can do for your body this holiday is to let the darn thing get a good night’s sleep. We’re talking all 5 stages, 7-9 hours, ♫damn it feels good to be well-rested♫, Super Levels of Exhaustion Elimination Plan S.L.E.E.P.!
It’s almost like someone could make a whole business inspired by the benefits of sleep, complete with products and cool swag and a mission statement for a genuine problem we’ve identified and are looking to solve in the community of people we care about the most...
Sleep is one of those things like exercise and hydration that we all intrinsically know are good for us, but just aren’t as well educated on how vital they are for us to make them into our priorities. We also don’t entirely know how it works, but.
Here’s your excuse to make it a priority this holiday. Here’s your permission to set an alarm for 9pm that in turn gives you the social permission to interrupt your uncle’s reminiscing and insist, “Hey Uncle Don, real sorry, but I’m doing this thing called taking care of myself so I need to go brush my teeth and listen to some soothing music, maybe extricate myself to a sleep-conducive bedroom that is dark, quiet, and comfortable and even drink some Reboot so I can really pamper my body’s basal sleep need and pay back some of my sleep debt.”
Or, you know. You could stay up real late 1v1’ing your cousins. We’re not your parents.
But, if you do that, drink water. If you don’t want your eyes to be all tired and your soul to be all groggy in the morning, consider some Reboot to tuck you in. It’s cozy!