For some reason most of us are very busy in this last month of the year. For many work is winding down and projects have to be finished. At the same time we have extra demands placed on us at home. We have extra activities to participate in with our children and we have more projects on the home front. All this decorating, shopping and getting ready for Christmas and the New Year can take its toll. By the end of the month we need a vacation we are so worn out!!!

So what can we do to stay energized?

REST: Hopefully by now we all know how much we can do before we start to get too tired. If we don’t know then it is time that we start to learn. So notice how your body feels when it is tired and when you are tired —REST. Go to bed earlier or schedule in naps but find a way to get the rest that you need.

EXERCISE: Exercise helps you to relax and to be more energized. If you can go out into nature (a nature park) and go for a walk, or go to the mountains to ski or go to the pool and swim. You get the picture. Do some physical activity outdoors. That seems to be more relaxing than exercising in a gym with lots of blasting music on. If you are in a time crunch remember that exercise is beneficial even when we break it up into 10 minute intervals.

TIMELY EATING: The timing of when you eat, and what you choose to eat can both have a big impact on your energy levels. Make sure that you eat at regular intervals. Eat at least 3 meals a day but you could also add snacks. Usually dietitians like you to think about eating every 4-6 hours. So that means that if you at breakfast at 6 am you would like to eat something between 10 am and 12 noon. Listen to your appetite to decide if you want a snack or a meal.

BALANCED MEALS: meals that are high in refined sugars and carbohydrates can give you a quick boost of energy that does not last very long. Think of your fireplace. Burning paper and kindling will give you a big burst of flame and heat but it does not last very long and the embers it leaves do not give much heat. But using the kindling and the paper to light a large, dry log will give you an even source of heat for hours. It is the same with food. Meals that are filled with lots of quickly absorbed carbohydrates (tomato sandwich on white bread or toast and jam for breakfast) will give you a burst of energy that is short lived. Add some protein to the same meal and you will stay full for longer and have more energy for a longer period of time. Have an egg with your toast and make sure you add a nice wedge of cheese to your tomato sandwich to make it balanced.

Make sure to have some fun and enjoy the busy holiday season.