Four ways to physically, mentally, & nutritionally decompress post-holiday.
The internet, for all of the magic it brings us in the form of on-sale Saint Laurent and cat videos, can often feel like a vacuum—one we’re occasionally all too guilty of contributing to. Case in point? The holidays.
If you went off your daily digital reads alone, you could surmise that preparing for the main event to go down is basically akin to training for a marathon. First, we schooled you on how to eat extra healthy the week before (y’know, if you feel like it) the main event. Then, we tasked Sakara Life with breaking down the best way to get at the bird. Now, we’ve hit up a series of experts to help you decompress afterwards. But hear us out!
Holidays, particularly ones with family, can be stressful...to say the very least. And we’re all aware of the havoc, imagined or otherwise, that the whole mainlining stuffing thing can wreak when you open up your Instagram only to be greeted by Australian food bloggers posting sprouted salads. Between beating yourself up for all of the above, you might just forget that you’ve actually been presented with a day off. Now do you see where the massages, squats, and mantras outlined below might come in handy? We thought so.
Fitness expert, nutrition advocate, celebrity trainer
“Thanksgiving comes once a year, so you should enjoy but stay mindful of what you are eating. Having a taste of any or all of it is not going to put you over the top; it’s a second or third helping that is the problem. If you do indulge, fix it the day after by getting in your workout; 10-minute express workouts are a great place to start. Wide Stance Squats, Around the World with a medicine ball, Shadow Boxing, Pushups, and holding the last rep for 30 seconds to a 1-minute plank.”
WIDE STANCE SQUATS
1. Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width distance apart, your feet turned out at 45-degree angles, and dumbbells in your hand and at your side.
2. Squat down, and simultaneously raise your arms out to the side, stopping when they are parallel with the floor.
3. Return to the starting position.
AROUND THE WORLD
1. Stand with legs shoulder-length apart, arms overhead, holding a medicine ball or light hand weights. Slightly bend your knees, keeping your core tight.
2. With your arms out, bend forward from your waist and lower to the right, down, to the left and up, in a circular motion. Reverse the movement.
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your knees soft, and your core engaged. Punch across your body, 15 reps on each side.
2. For uppercuts, start with your arm bent in a 90-degree angle. Punch upwards across your chest. Add hand weights to pump up the intensity!
1. Yeah, yeah, you learned them in gym class, but I want you to start over as if you’ve never heard of push-ups. Start out in front of a mirror so you can check your alignment. Are your hands aligned properly? They should be directly under your shoulders and lined up with your chest. Make sure your core is nice and tight and your shoulders and neck are relaxed.
2. Visualize what you’re trying to accomplish. You’re going to use your triceps to help execute the perfect push-up, so make sure you feel them engage. Your body from shoulder to foot should be tight and even.
3. Hold the last rep for 30 seconds to a 1-minute plank.
“We have a tendency to revert to our childhood behavior as grown adults when entering the family arena on the holidays. First, these are markers for everyone, in that they are yearly times we all get together and each role in the family is often highlighted—literally and figuratively, ‘their place at the table.’ It’s not uncommon for fixed roles to be assigned, which is an all-too-easy source for hurt and feeling misunderstood (‘so-and-so is the smart sister’).
“As old ways of reacting resurface, we may begin to act jealous, petty, competitive, sullen, et cetera, even if we usually don’t find ourselves falling prey to the more juvenile behavior! Don’t be hard on yourself for that. Notice what your vulnerabilities are beforehand. Do you feel dismissed? Do you feel not taken seriously? If you can predict the hurts you might experience, you can arm yourself with the proper inoculation—mantras like ‘I am my own person now, I get to define myself, it is okay that they don’t see what or who I really am.’ Hold on to your sense of self. Also, phrases like ‘I don’t have to be perfect’ go a long way.
“You can remind yourself to treat yourself and others respectfully, to separate yourself from childhood drama and update yourself to the present. Loneliness and disappointment around the holidays and feeling alienated from your family is a very common feeling. We all dream of the most responsive, caring, loving, and interesting family life, but we are ourselves, imperfect, and so is our family. Why not enjoy our holidays and not let our daydreams ruin our reality? Let’s let ourselves love what is, and let ourselves love what things could be but aren’t. Don’t put yourself down for all the very wonderful things you might want but can’t have or can’t get!
“Sometimes it’s helpful to debrief with a friend and just tell the story of what happened and how you feel about it. You might also want to start a ‘holiday journal,’ where each year you jot down main ideas and put it in a keepsake book to review over the years. Even bad memories can become neutralized or more poignant after a passage of time. Life is an ongoing journey and some days will be great, but others painful. It is all part of the process. Decide to think of life’s pains and strains as beautiful and not tragic—you will feel more rested! Remind yourself of who you are today and do some of the things that you love about your life. Chill out by eating healthy, getting proper sleep, and some aerobic activity.”
MS, LDN, Dietitian & Wellness Nutrionist; Founder, Nutrition Stripped
“Incorporate these five foods to beat the bloat naturally post-Thanksgiving dinner. There’s no need for crazy juice fasts or skipping meals, simply incorporate some of these foods (or all!) with heaps of water, veggies, and fruit.”
“Cheers for leftover cranberry sauce! Cranberries are a natural diuretic, meaning they help flush your body of excess water and everything that goes with it. Hate cranberries and cranberry sauce? Try asparagus, which has similar effects!”
“Not only rich in healthy fats and fiber, but also potassium, which is great for replenishing your electrolytes post-Thanksgiving meal with indulgent cocktails. Also, the fiber found in avocados keeps you full, is easy on digestion, and will keep you regular (all of us can appreciate that).”
“Loaded with Omega-3-rich fatty acids, fiber, and plant-based protein, not only are these little gems incredibly nutrient-rich, chia seeds also form a gel that expands when mixed with water. This is great for ‘sweeping’ out your digestive tract to keep everything moving along. Added bonus, they keep you hydrated! Try my Chia Fresca (aka Bubble Water) recipe, which is my favorite way to enjoy chia seeds.”
“Rich in B vitamins to help keep your energy up as well as replenish any lost vitamins while indulging in cocktails or simply not eating enough nutrient-dense foods—remember, B vitamins are water-soluble, so they’re typically the first to go when drinking alcohol.”
“Pineapple has a natural digestive enzyme called bromelain, which is not only a great antioxidant and enzyme, but has been touted to help with inflammation, muscle relaxation, contraction and pain, cancer prevention, antibiotic absorption, enhances excretion of fat, shortens labor, and inhibits blood platelet aggregation—aka blood clotting. If you can’t get any pineapple, try frozen pineapple and whip it up in an easy-to-digest smoothie, such as my favorite Vitamin C Surge or Tropical Tango!”
“I can’t stress enough the importance of drinking water throughout the day or herbal teas. All of these foods + plenty of water with lemon = one happy belly.”
Salon Director, Mario Badescu
“We offer Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, and reflexology. Swedish massage is very common and popular, as it warms muscles to release tension and encourage relaxation. Your therapist will use their hands and oil or lotion to perform the massage. Deep-tissue massage is another form of Swedish massage, where your therapist will use their hands and fingers to focus on deep layers of muscle tissue. Reflexology is performed on the hands and feet by applying pressure to various points that correspond to different organs and systems of the body. It also helps to relieve stress and promote relaxation.
“Massage is a great way to relax the body and mind; it can even be helpful in lowering blood pressure. At-home facial massages are a great thing to do for yourself at this time of the year! Not only will a facial massage boost circulation and blood flow, it can help depuff after a day of overindulgence.”
Apply a bit of facial oil or a cream cleanser to your pointer and middle fingers, then firmly but gently massage, using short upward strokes alternated between hands. Start on the sides of the neck, about 2-3 inches below the ears. Start on one side, then move to the other.
Move your fingertips to the chin and massage using the same short upward strokes. From there you can move to the corners of the mouth, followed by the base of the jaw.
Move to the cheekbones.
Using the same massaging motions, move to the under-eye area, along the outer sides of the eyes, and the area between the eyebrows and the eyelids.
Finally, move to the forehead. Start with fingertips from both hands in the center of the forehead and move outward in opposite directions toward each temple and down toward the earlobes.
Aim to massage each part of the face for 30 seconds.