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6 Ways to Avoid Christmas Coma

6 Ways to Avoid Christmas Coma

The Christmas food is all gone and you sit on the couch, stomach protesting, no energy, panic rising. What was supposed to be a great holiday, a really nice time spent with your family, now feels like your own personal hell. Even though you really haven’t moved much the whole day, you feel like you could sleep for days.

What went wrong? Does it have to be like this? Christmas itself can put a lot of pressure on people, and ending up in Christmas coma definitely doesn’t help. The good news is that there are simple ways of avoiding this situation and they are easier than you might expect.

The reason you end up in Christmas coma is basically a combination of not enough movement, and too much food. D’ohh, I guess you knew that already, but simply knowing this is not enough—you still end up bloated and apathetic. The attraction of all the food and the temptation of the couch after dinner is just too powerful unless you take action to combat it.

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What you want to do is find ways to slow down your food intake, use opportunities for movement, and choose food and beverages wisely. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? You don’t have to make a lot of sacrifices, and a little bit of care will go a long way.

1. Start the day with activity

If you know you’re going to be spending a lot of the day sitting, take the chance to get some light to moderate exercise in early. If your area regularly gets snow for Christmas, shoveling it is a good exercise option: you could volunteer to help some of the neighbors shovel theirs—a guaranteed way to  increase your popularity. Another good option is to go for a walk after breakfast. Choose the activity that works best for you and fits into your schedule.

Starting the day with a little exercise wakes you up and prepares your body for the day. By getting the blood pumping a bit, your body is more prone to taking care of the food you eat later.

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2. Go for protein

Focusing on eating high-protein foods will make you feel satisfied earlier. All in all, you’ll eat fewer calories and won’t feel so bloated.

3. Drink water

Drinking water keeps you properly hydrated, whereas drinking alcohol, coffee or tea will make you lose more fluids than you take in. It’s also very easy to consume way too many calories drinking, wine, beer or soft drinks. Firstly, start the day with a large glass of water. During the day, if you don’t want to switch to water only, have a sip of water in between sips of your other drink.

4. Talk during lunch and dinner

Since we want to seize the opportunity to get closer to our family and friends, don’t pass up the opportunity to talk to them during lunch and dinner. Not only will you bond more, you will also slow down your eating, which is a good way of avoiding the post-meal drowsiness. If you slow down your food intake, your body will have time to signal to your brain when you’ve had enough before it’s too late.

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5. Don’t forget the veggies

This one is a given, and the reasons are basically the same as why you should go for protein—they will satisfy your appetite earlier. Reach for as many green and leafy options as you find on the Christmas table to give you good carbohydrates, and avoid the starchy stuff like potatoes, corn, parsnips, and pumpkin.

6. Go for a walk

A great way to interact with people more is to ask them to go for a walk with you before you park yourself on the couch. Not only will you get some exercise and fresh air while your food is digesting, you can also continue the conversation you started earlier during lunch or dinner. Who knows—maybe you solve a big global problem. You can also use  your walk as an opportunity to take some great pictures.

What’s your strategy for avoiding Christmas Coma?

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Featured photo credit:  Black and white image of pretty woman sleeping peacefully via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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