YOUR HOLIDAY EVENT RECOVERY GUIDE
AAAANNNNDDDD, WE'RE BACK. WE HOPE EVERYONE HAD AN AMAZING CHRISTMAS (OR ARE STILL HAVING AN AMAZING HANUKKAH). CONGRATULATIONS! YOU MADE IT THROUGH THE MAYHEM OF COOKIE BAKING, DINNERS WITH POLITICALLY-OPPOSED RELATIVES, AND CHILDREN FUELED BY COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF SUGAR AND PRESENT-OPENING ADRENALINE. YOUR CHRISTMAS-ERA EVENTS MAY BE OVER, BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE, THE COUNTDOWN TO THE NEW YEAR (AND MANY, MANY NEW YEARS EVENTS) IS JUST ABOUT TO BEGIN. SO, TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND LET US GET YOU READY TO HAVE YOUR GAME FACE ON WHEN THE 31ST ARRIVES. YOU NEED TO BE RESTED AND READY TO RING IN 2017. WHETHER YOU'RE THROWING THE EVENT IN QUESTION OR ATTENDING AS A GUEST, HERE ARE OUR BEST TIPS FOR STAYING COMFORTABLE AND SANE.
TAKE A BRIEF BREAK
We think the Europeans who still maintain this tradition are really on the right track. A siesta in the middle of your day, if there is any chance of sneaking one in, can be a really wonderful way to recharge your batteries. Maybe napping under your desk isn't an option, or the activity is just too peak--we understand--these are busy times. Try to find even five minutes to sit alone in your car (turn your phone off!) and recline the seat for a little quiet time to breathe deeply and get your bearings. If you can find relative silence and a flat surface, take a yoga mat, blanket, or even your coat, and lie down on the floor for a little savasana for 10-20 minutes. If you've ever attended a yoga class, savasana, or corpse pose, is the final relaxation exercise at the end. We like this guided relaxation from Yogini Tiff--just cue it up, close your eyes, and relax. Just be sure you let everyone around you know that you are taking this time to restore yourself so that you will not be interrupted.
Before you head out to party and indulge, or for a long, on-your-feet night of event management, you need to get, and stay, hydrated. We all know water to be the #1 way to keep your body working well, but there are a few other drinks that can help, too. Coconut water is full of electrolytes--it is basically nature's Gatorade. It's packed with enzymes, amino acids, B-and C-vitamins, and minerals that help prevent (and recover from) dehydration. Keep a little coconut water on hand (they come in shelf-stable packages) and at home in case you need a little lift the next morning, too. Fresh-pressed vegetable juice is another great way to get a big boost of hydration, vitamins and minerals. Grab one from your nearest juice bar or look for quality to-go versions at your supermarket, usually in the produce section. Just be sure that any pre-packaged drinks you purchase don't have any added sugars--this will sap your body of the strength you're trying to give it. If water is too bland, try giving your water a little personality by infusing it with lemon and fresh ginger or mint and cucumber.
EAT BEFORE THE PARTY
Believe it or not, liquids are not the only way to hydrate. There are many foods you can eat with higher water content that can support your hydration and give you lasting energy. A salad with grapefruit, avocado, and arugula is a favorite of ours--the healthy fats in the avocado will keep you full and satisfied and the grapefruit will help hydrate. We love the peppery greens with this combination. Add chicken--another hydrating food, for a protein-packed meal. Watermelon, smoothies, soups, and stews are also great snacks before you head out. Believe it or not, another great pre-party meal is a nice, juicy burger filled with protein, carbs, and fat. Going to the party on a full stomach of healthy food also prevents over-indulgence in sugary treats and helps to absorb any alcohol you might drink when you arrive. If none of this is possible, have some almonds or walnuts on standby so that when hunger strikes, you have a quick and nourishing snack handy. In some Mediterranean countries, it's customary to drink a small shot of olive oil before drinking--the fats help coat the stomach lining and slows the absorption of alcohol.
MAKE YOUR FEET HAPPY
Okay, so we know this is really not possible during party season, especially if you're getting really gussied up. Men's shoes are a bit more comfortable, usually, and though it's not required to wear high heels, many women do. So, to enjoy wearing your party shoes, we found a few tips that will help keep you comfy on your feet all night.
1. Wear gel insoles (there are so many! whole foot, arch supports, ball cushions, heel pads).
2. If you're wearing new shoes, shop for them at the end of a long day when your feet are already tired and a little swollen. If they're comfortable then, they will be comfortable at 1 a.m. Break them in by wearing thick socks at home for a few hours on several days before the soiree.
3. Sandpaper the bottoms for better traction, or attach non-skid pads. You could go so far as attaching YakTrax or other ice grips--this could be important when it might be icy out, as we are guessing you don't want to ice skate in your Jimmy Choos.
4. Anti-friction measures seem to help prevent blisters. We've heard that spray deodorant and baby powder keep feet from sweating and getting stenchy. Clear stick deodorant or anti-friction stick help keep feet moving in your shoes the right way. If all else fails, have some moleskin around--a soft, felty fabric with tape backing to attach to spots that might be blister-prone.
Now go dance the night away!
PREVENT A HANGOVER
Instead of giving you our best hangover cures, we thought we'd help you avoid having one at all, since they are so miserable. Alternating your alcoholic beverages with water is one of the best ways to prevent a hangover. Many people just like to have a drink in their hand--so if you're hosting, find ways to make water appealing for those who are either sober or trying to moderate as our doctor friends advise. Sparkling water, or the infused waters we mentioned above, are great places to start. Again, keeping the intake of sugar low is also key here--anything that contains sugar (mixed drinks, fruity beverages) will aggravate inflammation and hangover symptoms. And in the morning, if you weren't able to avoid a hangover, forget the "hair of the dog" and have a nice healthy breakfast with coconut water (to replace your electrolytes), poached eggs (cysteine in eggs helps your body process the post-alcohol toxins) and bananas or kiwi fruit to boost your potassium. If your stomach is upset, try drinking some water (seltzer is even better if you have it) with a few dashes of Angostura bitters (yes, that bottle in your liquor cabinet). Bitters are a traditional remedy for stomach upset and should help settle your belly in no time.
FORTIFY YOUR IMMUNE DEFENSE
Alcohol intake, sweating from lots of dancing, exhaustion from holiday activity can all deplete your immune system in no time (not to mention being in a lot of crowded places with a lot of people). Keep your immune system functioning well during this time and you can enjoy the countdown to 2017 feeling fabulous. First and foremost, wash your hands. A lot. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself (and others) from viruses. Eat well--lots of whole foods--grains, veggies, grass-fed meat, and fruit to try to rebalance from all the indulgence. Supplementing* a healthy diet with probiotics, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and the B-complex vitamins, is also a helpful boost during the winter where we are all inside a lot and breathe more recirculated air, travel more often, and attend a lot of gatherings.
*Please, of course, consult your physician before taking any supplements.
GET SOME FRESH AIR
Since we can't all live in California or the balmy southern states, we are up here in the cold northeast, trying to withstand the winter weather. Even still, we recommend that for party heartiness, everyone get some fresh air, both before and after your events. Whether it means you'll be riding your cruiser bike along the boardwalk in Venice Beach or strolling along the Charles River with your scarf around your mouth and frost tears in your eyes, get out there and enjoy the breeze. Heck, in Scandanavia, people routinely leave well-bundled babies out in carriages on the street while they dine or have coffee, so firm is their belief in the benefit of the outdoors. Fresh air boosts your immune system, improves your oxygen intake, lifts your mood, and gives you energy. Who doesn't need all that good stuff?
PUT YOUR FEET UP
It's all (finally) about to be over. You can see the end in sight. At night, before you go to bed, take a few minutes to elevate your feet. This is especially important after your big, long night of being up late to ring in the New Year when your feet and legs are aching, and you're maybe a little bit tipsy. Or maybe you worked the event and you're especially exhausted. In yoga parlance, this reclining restorative posture is known as viparita karani or "legs-up-the-wall" pose. (This is a great instructional video to show you exactly how to do it). Find your sweet spot and relax here as long as it feels good. This will help set you on the road to recovery, support your immune system, and rebalance your nervous system after excessive amounts of stimulation.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, Y'ALL. WE HAVE ONE MORE POST TO GO FOR 2016, A FUN ROUNDUP OF OUR FAVORITE TOPICS WE'VE COVERED THIS YEAR, TO SEND US INTO '17. WE ARE STILL HARD AT WORK OVER HERE AT BLACKSTONE PRODUCTIONS, EVEN THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS, SO DON'T HESITATE TO HIT US UP FOR HELP IF YOU NEED IT. IN THE MEANTIME, HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY.