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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 November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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