High-energy holidays

' the season to be partying. Anouska S. Willson helps you put some pep in your step.


Picture this: it’s 2am and your company's end-of-year bash at the local izakaya is just winding down. You've stuffed yourself with yakitori and niku jaga and downed half a brewery's worth of daijockeys over the course of the evening. Your colleagues are heading on to a nightclub, but you decide to go home—there’s no way you're going to fall victim to boogie burnout. You crash for a few hours at your place, then drag yourself into work where you spend the day wiped out and unfocused, but still allow your coworkers to convince you that another night on the tiles will put you right back on track.

Sound familiar? Annual festivities are an integral facet of corporate culture across the globe and are often great social events. Yet seasonal celebrations night after night can also become too much of a good thing, particularly as booze, belt-busting canapés and limited shut-eye zap your energy both over the holidays and long after the shrine (and sleigh) bells have stopped ringing. However, taking time out to rev your energy reserves during the New Year break should leave you with enough oomph to rock and roll all night and party every day—at least until the season's over.   


Eat, drink and be merry

The culinary mainstay of the holiday shindig is the appetizer: Nothing is more appealing than a round or three of finger foods when you're famished and fatigued. Unfortunately, these bite-size munchies often make up for their zero-nutrient content with hundreds of empty fat calories. The result? Seasonal sluggishness and a waistline to rival Santa's by New Year's Eve. To put the brakes on festive feasting overload (and the energy dip that follows), the American Dietetic Association recommends snacking throughout the day, ideally fueling up every three to four hours. Eating protein-and-carb-combo minimeals are your best bet, like string cheese and fruit, half a chicken sandwich or some sushi, as these chow choices leave you sated for longer and pack a hefty dose of energy.

          Keeping an eye on what you drink will also abet your holiday get-up-and-go. The bottomless glass of chu hai you ordered to wash down your all-night happy hour tidbits not only increases your hankering for even more easy edibles, but also depletes your energy supply as alcohol dehydrates your system. To combat water-loss weariness, guzzle non-alcoholic beverages before arriving at the party and, once there, try making every other drink a glass of water. Another trick suggested by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA): order half-wine, half-sparkling water spritzers so that rehydrating seems less mundane.

          Remember too that end-of-year parties are not all about scoffing and swigging, but socializing as well. Studies show that lively conversation keeps the mind alert, so work the room to floor fatigue. And fill up your dance card—upbeat music has been linked to turbocharged energy levels, and busting a move to some groovy tunes adds even more pick-me-up power.


Silent night

While recharging on the run may seem like the only way to go during party season, don't deny yourself some downtime at home. Living it up into the wee hours means missing out on your most significant source of energy—sleep—causing a slump in stamina. And when you do actually retire for the night after a heavy drinking session, rather than aiding your slumber as is often believed, alcohol will inhibit it. According to the sleep research website, while spirits may speed your initial sleep pattern, they will cause you to wake up more often during the night, leading to cranky listlessness in the morning. Sleeping in won't make up for lost zzz's either—instead, the Better Sleep Council advises taking a power nap of no more than 20 minutes the following day to keep you going with minimal grogginess and grouchiness.

          Spending some time home alone could also boost your perk-up potential. Feng shui expert Lillian Too, author of the Feng Shui Fundamentals series, maintains that you should "observe some periods of silence during the day" if you are prone to working and socializing in bright, loud environments, thus striking a balance between yin and yang energies. Meditation and breathing techniques can help you achieve this harmony, as well as providing an energy rush. Kazunori Sakakibara of the Yoga Therapy Ashram in Tokyo suggests the following meditative exercise: "Sit or stand with your spine straight, neck and shoulders relaxed, and eyes closed. Breathe deeply, gradually filling up your lungs and abdomen with air, then exhale, focusing on the spine and counting the number one. Repeat the process, counting until you feel revitalized."

And when it comes to using your nose, you don't have to stop at cleansing breaths to up your vitality: a study at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia discovered that a whiff of peppermint can instantly invigorate and sustain your energy high. Tokyo aromatherapist Yuko Kaneko keeps a bottle of peppermint oil handy at all times and sniffs a couple of drops from a tissue for an easy and refreshing pick-me-up—just what you need before you paint the town red. Happy holidays!

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404: Fitness
High energy holidays 
402: Beauty

Paint it red 


400: Fitness
Fitness to fall for 
399: Interiors

398: Beauty

Deep purple 
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396: Health
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395: Interiors

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394: Beauty
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392: Health
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391: Interiors
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390: Beauty
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381: Kneadful Things
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372: Going with the flow
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371: Tee time
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369: Dressed to thrill
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364: Healthy homes
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362: Fit to be wired
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360: It's hip to be square
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350: Deck the walls
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