Ideas to help improve your mood and energy during the holiday season

Love them or hate them year-end holidays are almost here.

Stress and sleep

Monique Cazelais
Monique Cazelais

14 November 2018

When you are feeling overwhelmed, getting out of your head is key to maintaining your energy and health. This means letting go of thoughts that keep you in the past or present.

You know them, the ones that replay thoughts over and over again in your head. It might be - something that happened that made you happy or upset; wondering how you might get everything done; berating, defending, evaluating yourself or someone else all in the space located between your two ears.

You can feel like you’re stuck in the spin cycle of a washing machine. Plus you feel more stressed and exhausted as a result.

Take a moment to catch your breath

See if you can take a hint from nature. As nature retracts and pulls its energies downwards into the earth, it's a good reminder for us to take some time do the same.

Even if it's just for a moment, it can be quite amazing how giving yourself one moment to stop and catch your breath can take the edge off. It can be as simple as:

  • Taking an extra moment to feel the crisp air on your skin;
  • Paying attention to the changing landscape at a given moment in a day;
  • Savouring a warm beverage or a bite of food for a little longer than normal;
  • Turning on some good music and dancing your heart out for a few minutes;
  • Walking outside and igniting your different senses one at a time - what are you seeing? Repeat the word “seeing” to yourself over and over again and see what emerges. Then do the same with hearing, smelling and sensing. Bringing attention to any of your senses in a given moment is a great way to let go of thoughts, feeling more alive and noticing things for the first time.
  • If you have the time, volunteering, spending time with a friend that makes you laugh or enjoying the outdoors all have a way of bringing us back in the moment.

Drink water

Your body is made up of roughly two-thirds water, a little more a little less, depending on your age.

Every single process in your body is pegged to the flow of water. Dehydration can affect your mood, your energy level, it can give you headaches, and affect your ability to think clearly among many other issues.

A good rule of thumb is to drink 8 x 8ounce glasses of water per day. The amount of water you need varies greatly based on your weight, size, diet, and exercise level etc.

So how do you know if you are getting enough?

Check the colour of your urine! Use this chart as a tool to know if you are dehydrated

Think of drinking filtered or spring water (find ecofriendly sources of spring water). Water from the tap has been chlorinated and there are traces of other chemicals that aren't good for your health.

Eat warming winter foods

Eat foods cooked for longer periods of time over low heat - They warm you up vs. raw foods or foods cooked for short periods of time (according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)). Slow cooking breaks down the structure of foods. This facilitates digestion, which is especially helpful when your body has been working hard to maintain a temperature of 37 °C.

Stews, roasts, soups made with chicken or bone broth are especially nourishing and nice to have as a staple menu items when it is cold outside.

Eat more fall harvest vegetables - These are the ones that we typically find in slow cooked meals or as sides (ex, carrot, rutabaga, parsnip, cabbage, squashes). They are said to be more warming than those that grow quickly (ex, lettuce, summer squash, radish, cucumber).

Think about it, in the dead of winter, would you rather have a big raw salad or a slow cooked meal? Chances are you would choose the slow cooked meal - because it warms you from the inside out - we know this intuitively. We feel the warmth of these foods as we walk into the dining room or kitchen.

Add flavour

Bitter flavours - Add some bitter flavours to your diet such as lettuce, watercress, endive, turnip, celery, asparagus, alfalfa, rye, oats, and quinoa help stimulate digestion - a useful thing especially when we are eating heavier foods to see us through the winter.

Spices - The ones you would use in slow-cooked foods, roasts and winter baking are loaded with nutrients and anti-oxidants. Think cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, star anise, nutmeg, ginger, pepper....some of these spices have anti-oxidant levels that dwarf the mighty berries. Because nutrient profile differs from one spice to another, variety is always good.

Italian Herbs - are among the most prevalent herbs in treating colds. Think sage, basil, oregano, thyme. They’ll add great flavour and support your digestion. They are also restorative and warming.

Rest and sleep

Sleep is an opportunity to mend and repair all the organs in your body. It's also a time when your mind finally has an opportunity to let go of those thoughts that keep you from relaxing during the day.

If you are having a hard time getting to sleep, modern life may have thrown your internal wake-sleep cycle off kilter. Here's how you can help bring it back:

  • Soak in natural light during the day even if only for a few minutes;
  • Reduce the amount of light in your home at sunset;
  • Eliminate late-night news intake (this is a late night stimulant!);
  • Remove electronics from the bedroom as well as all light sources that might glow in the dark - alarm clocks, heating devices, air purifiers etc., use blackout blinds;
  • Create a bedtime routine to wind down, as we do with children (there is a reason this works!);
  • Practice taking moments to catch your breath during the day (as outlined at the beginning of this blog). It will relax your nervous system. You will more than recover any 'lost time' as you gradually learn to relax and sleep better. Not only that your world will start to open up in new ways.
  • Meditate before going to bed or once you are lying in bed. If you are new to this there are excellent sleep meditations on the insight timer app (in French, if you are new to this, there are some excellent app suggestions here


Making changes in your lifestyle takes time. Start with ideas that appeal to you, that you would like to incorporate into your life. Often when we do that other habits emerge organically, and if you need extra help in the interim, here are some products that might interest you:

  • Stress - A.Vogel's Passion Flower tincture helps you gradually relax during stressful periods. It addresses symptoms such as nervousness, insomnia, restlessness, agitation, and irritability.
  • Energy and focus - Bio-Strath is a fermented herbal superfood which contains over 60 nutrients, clinically proven to increase energy and focus.
  • Immune system support - Echinaforce is used for prevention and treatment of colds and flu. Wishing you much health, joy and peace as well as a wonderful new year!

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