The holidays are brimming over with family, friends, traditional foods and lots of good cheer. But that’s not all. The holidays are also loaded with sugar, stress, alcohol and busier-than-usual schedules. And even though you’re having a great time, chances are, your hormones aren’t. In fact, all of our imbibing and celebrating can totally disrupt hormones and exacerbate cycle issues even more. Here’s how to reset and recover your hormones post-holidays.
Why holidays mess with your hormones
Here’s the long and short of it: your liver breaks down toxins in your body and prepares them for elimination. The liver also helps to remove excess estrogen from the body.
How do the holidays affect liver function? Well, not every nicely. With the holidays comes an increase in sugar, alcohol and stress, along with a lack of sleep and the interruption of our daily routine. All of these factors make it much harder for the liver to do its job optimally.
This means you have more toxins and more estrogen in your body, leading to hormonal imbalance. Here are 5 specific factors to watch out for, along with easy ways to rebalance your hormones throughout the holiday season.
Sugar increases glucose and insulin levels, and too much of it can have a domino effect on hormonal health, including too much estrogen, which gives you period trouble, mood swings and PMS problems.
Sugar fix: It’s OK to enjoy some sweets this year, but try to fill yourself up with a satiating meal before going out. A mix of healthy fats, protein and complex carbs can help you avoid going overboard on sugar.
Simple carbs, like bread, pasta, potatoes, cakes and cookies, mess with glucose and insulin levels, too. And when these are out of whack, hormonal mayhem follows suit.
Simple carb fix: Try to limit grains, and instead, have lots of vegetables, like dark leafy greens and well-cooked cruciferous varieties. Don’t be afraid of fat, and enjoy coconut oil, avocado, grass-fed butter. For protein, enjoy turkey, eggs, beef, and chicken.
Alcohol – especially sugary cocktails – slow down liver function, increase estrogen and throw of hormones.
Alcohol fix: Drink responsibly and when you do enjoy a holiday drink, try to follow it with a detox juice, made from 1 cup spinach, 4 celery stalks, a fistful of both cilantro and parsley, 1/2 lemon, 1/2 apple and 1 carrot. Blend it all together and you have a delicious, refreshing detox drink.
Even if the holidays are a good time, they’re still a stressful time. There’s so much to do and even more to process. Stress is inevitable. High levels of stress over long periods of time increase cortisol, which can lead to an increase in estrogen, and also make it more difficult for your body to have enough progesterone – the calming hormone you need in the second half of your cycle.
Stress fix: Get enough sleep every night (7 to 9 hours), practice setting boundaries so you don’t burn the candle at both ends, and commit to stress-reduction practices, like meditation, journaling and exercise.