My Balance & Wellness
with Sarah Hawthorne

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The Six Pillars Of Health For A Successful Holiday Season

 Photo by  Lauren Edith Andersen  - Clothes by  Stella Carakasi  - Styling by Lauren Andersen and Samantha Nobles-Block @radishandfig 

Photo by Lauren Edith Andersen - Clothes by Stella Carakasi - Styling by Lauren Andersen and Samantha Nobles-Block @radishandfig 

December is all about wrapping up work in time for Christmas and New Years, and attending various social events and festive parties. As dynamic and fun as all of this can be, it can also take a toll on our bodies... leaving us feeling depleted and run down. In this post, I am thrilled to share with you my personal tools for feeling vibrant and staying well during the holiday season. 

1.    Hydrate
Drinking adequate levels of water is essential for many reasons:
•    The body is approximately 2/3 water
•    The brain is almost 3/4 water
•    Roughly 85% of our blood is water
•    The average person loses 2.5 - 3 liters of water each day (in urine, sweat, stool, and from breathing)
•    Adequate levels of water are required to allow toxins to leave our tens of trillions of cells and be excreted in our urine and stool. Otherwise, we suffer from toxic build-up, which leads to cellular dysfunction and potentially chronic disease and cancer
•    Be sure to keep your fluids up in times of illness such as the common winter cold and flu
•    During the cooler months of the year, it’s common for the surface of our skin to dry up, so it's important to hydrate from the inside out to replenish moisture levels
•    Drinking water suppresses food cravings and helps to regulate appetite
Drink pure spring water or reverse osmosis filtered water (still not bubbly), organic bone broth (and broth based soups) made from the bones of grass-fed / pasture raised animals, organic and fresh made veggie juice, as well as organic herbal tea varieties to stay hydrated.   

2.    Get plenty of rest and sleep
As you know all too well, the holiday season is busy with full work and social calendars, so it’s extremely beneficial to schedule quite time and get some much needed shuteye to restore the adrenal glands. Sleep is essential for detoxifying the brain and repairing the body. Try using this sleep calculator to discover how much sleep your body really needs depending on what time you go to bed. For me, I thrive on 8 hours sleep, so I ensure I go to bed early enough to get it. 
  
3.    Move your body
There are endless ways to stay fit and get active during the cooler months of the year. With so many fun classes (indoors) to take these days, and if you can’t make it to a studio, you can participate in recorded classes posted online. I’m a big time yoga fan but I also need to get out in nature regularly, so I layer up appropriately in order to face any weather that may come my way during one of my hikes or trail runs with my dog. 

4.    Be mindful of your food choices
Life is obviously about enjoying yourself, however with so many celebrations and temptations filling up the calendar and dinner table, it’s helpful to have a plan in mind as to how you are going to make the best choice possible to nourish your body. Of course you'll want to indulge in a little treat here and there, but can you fill up on mostly veggies and then share a dessert with a loved one? Or if you have a richer than normal meal one evening, can you back it up with a healthy breakfast and sweaty workout the next day? It's all about balance and moderation!!!

5.    Boost your immune system
Even though I love to travel during the holidays (especially to Australia for some warm summer sunshine), I personally choose not to get the flu shot or take medication for a cold. Instead, I support my immune system with good nutrition and restorative lifestyle choices. I boost my diet with fermented foods and bone broth, and supplement with Vitamin D3 and probiotics (note if you take Vitamin D3, ensure you have adequate levels of magnesium in your diet / consider taking it in supplement form to prevent depletion). If I am feeling run down, I also add Zinc and Vitamin A (fully formed retinol) to enhance the body’s natural immune defenses, warding off illness and speeding up recovery.  

6.    Manage stress
It doesn’t matter how much you work out and how clean you eat if you are chronically stressed. Too much stress has the power to make us sick and unhappy. Many people are prone to experiencing a “burn out” at the end of the calendar year so take lots of deep breaths, soak your tired body in a warm bath, flow in a gentle yoga class or simply turn off all technology and read a good old book… Whatever grounds you, making you feel calm and relaxed.