Eyelids can feel so heavy after a hearty meal. Sometimes it can be nice to just give in, take a nap. But there are also some pretty simple tricks to experience the upcoming holiday season with open eyes. So – back to the question in the headline. Why? As usual, the answer is more complicated than the problem. I choose to point out a few things that can definitely affect energy levels – and that you can easily change yourself:
Preparations. Who does the work in your home? If one or a few people are in charge of the cooking and other chores, it is not uncommon for them to go out with pure exhaust already when the table is set. Share the work as fairly as possible and put on the table only what you really like.
Alcohol. The delicious drinks, which for many belong to the season, contribute significantly to that dull feeling after the meal. Opt to drink a little less. Maybe reward yourself with drinks of a little higher quality instead. And drink every other water (at least).
Food. All the good things offered can easily entice us to eat much more than we really need. When large amounts of protein and fat are digested, the body focuses on this, and we get tired. Vegetables fill up without adding so much energy and a fresh and delicious salad adds health to the meal. Eating slowly and only the treats you really like is also a good idea.
Candy. Sweets in abundance are difficult for our stone-age brains to resist. Also, much of the season’s food and drinks contain more sugar than we might think. The result is blood sugar that rises like a sun, falls like a stone to make the sofa cushion absolutely irresistible. Eat what you like, but try to avoid the snack that makes your blood sugar go roller coaster. And drink water – avoid the sweet drinks!
Salt. Much of what we eat contains large amounts of salt, which contributes to dehydration and energy lows. The best way to avoid this is also one of the easiest: drink water regularly, both during the whole day and with food!
Passivity. It is easy to become passive with the computer, book, or TV. Take time for a walk or exercise round at least once a day. Enjoy the fresh air and some natural light, even if it is scarce this time of the year.
Finally: we need to enjoy life, but the enjoyment can sometimes be inversely related to how much we eat and drink. It is often a matter of breaking habits. Just enough is a good principle, or “lagom,” as we say in Sweden when we mean not too much, not too little.