With Halloween behind us, the year-end holiday season is upon us. Shopping, making merry, and family gatherings can take their toll on our festive spirits so following are some helpful hints on how to sail through the next six weeks or so and greet the New Year in good health.
‘Tis the season to be jolly. In this metaphor, “to be jolly” means “party hearty.” You can sleep when you’re dead, as they say, so why not burn the midnight oil and party like it’s 1999? Late-night hours and sleep loss can give you eyes a raccoon would envy.
Perk up your eye area and take a break: prepare chilled cotton balls – soak them in water, flatten with your fingers, and store them in the freezer on wax paper until needed – or a gel eye mask, lie down, place the cooling agent over your closed eyes and relax for 10 minutes. Fluids that have accumulated in the tissues around the eye sockets will drain, reducing swelling.
Another way to treat dry or irritated eyes is by dropping in artificial tears (such as TheraTears, GenTeal, Blink Tears or Systane, to name a few). “Artificial tears are generally designed to lubricate the ocular surface and replace tear volume.”
Steer clear of eye drops that promise to “take the red out” because they work in the short run by constricting blood vessels but can produce even redder eyes later.
His eyes – how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
If too much food and drink have made you puffy, it’s partly because many holiday treats are high in sodium and salt acts like a magnet to water. Your body retains it and you end up looking – and feeling – bloated. One solution is to drink lots of water or any other caffeine-free beverage.
Peppermint tea is a home remedy for indigestion and helps keep you hydrated after a bit of binging.
Sleep propped up on two or three pillows to help keep fluids from pooling in your face overnight.
All I Want for Christmas Is You – or My Two Front Teeth. Like it or not, gift-giving is expected for many year-end celebrations, from Secret Santa surprises at the office or the perfect something for a family member. Shopping, writing and addressing cards and envelopes, and carrying heavy bags (or bicycles) can wear out a perfectly good pair of hands.
Pamper those aching hands with the following techniques that alternate compression and relaxation which increases circulation to the hands and relaxes them:
- Stand over a table and place your palms flat on it.
- Spread your fingers, then press against the table for 15 seconds.
- Turn your palms around so your fingertips are facing your legs and press again.
- Hold your right hand in front of you, palm down, and spread your fingers.
- Use your left thumb to firmly press each of the webs between the fingers, one by one, toward the wrist.
- Repeat with the opposite hand and thumb.
If climbing ladders to string lights, walking the mall to check items off your list, and caroling door-to-door have made your “dogs bark,” soothe those tuckered feet by switching between warm and cold foot baths:
- Prepare a tub of warm water infused with a few scoops of sea salt.
- Immerse your bare feet and soak them for 10 minutes.
- Prepare a second tub of cold water.
- Plunge your tootsies in for 10 minutes.
- Repeat the warm/cold soaks.
After two complete rounds of moist heating and cooling, the warmth should relieve the soreness as the chill reduces swelling. After drying your feet, snuggle them up in warm socks and elevate them above heart level by resting them on pillows or a sofa arm. This helps drain the fluid that accumulates after long periods of walking and standing. Massage your feet with a peppermint foot lotion before retiring at night to stimulate circulation. The menthol will invigorate your feet and give them a refreshing scent.
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Wise words but not always an option when you have to feed a dozen starving relatives. If kitchen duty standing over a hot stove makes blood rush to the surface of your skin to cool it down, you may well wind up uncomfortably flushed and red in the face.
Here are some tips on lowering your internal thermostat when you can’t beat the heat:
- Chew on ice chips
- Drape a slightly damp, cold towel around your neck
- Fill a bowl with whole milk and ice cubes, dip a cloth in the solution, and pat your face with it (the lactic acid has an anti-inflammatory effect)
During the sprint to December 31, stay glowing by taking time out from planning to relax to actually chill out. Pay attention to warning signals your body is sending when you are overdoing things: chapped lips, an acne outbreak, even frizzy hair from too much product and over-styling can add up, lowering your self-esteem and wearing down your morale.
Look your best and feel great by tending to your needs along with those of others you cherish. A little pampering goes a long way. Aren’t you worth it?