Hangover Cures: Easing the pain
‘Tis the season to be jolly… and that usually means endless social functions and general overindulgence.
Let’s face it, eating and drinking is synonymous with this time of year – and it’s not without its repercussions. The most immediate consequence is the omnipotent hangover… and it’s unavoidable. Don’t worry though; we have a few handy tips to help lesson the pain (at least a little).
When you drink too much alcohol, your body becomes dehydrated and there’s a depletion of vitamins A, B (especially B6) and C. The tips below are aimed at helping your body get back to its “happy place” by rehydrating and replacing the lacking vitamins.
If you’re reading this before your big night out, then try to ensure you drink plenty of water throughout the night. A good system is to drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume.
Try to drink a lot of water before going to bed to prevent the symptoms of dehydration and to wash out the alcohol from your system. Continue to drink water throughout the day after.
This is by far the most effective way of dealing with a hangover.
After you’ve rehydrated yourself, get as much sleep as possible.
Try to replenish the vitamins your body has lost. Take a good multivitamin or take Vitamin C and Vitamin B specifically.
Sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade replace electrolytes and glucose.
Fruit will give you the energy and vitamins your body needs. Bananas in particular are most effective as they are high in potassium and magnesium, which will help your pounding head.
There is no scientific proof to confirm that this works – in fact, adding all those fats and carbohydrates to your already sensitive tummy should make you feel worse. But it doesn’t. We recommend cold pizza from the night before but many people swear by your typical Wimpy breakfast.
In addition to the things you should do, here are a few things you should not do:
- Don’t drink coffee. It’s a diuretic and that will only dehydrate you further.
- Forget about the Hair of the Dog. Drinking more will only delay the inevitable.
Most importantly, pace yourself when you drink and be sure to use a taxi service if you’re too intoxicated to drive.
Our Festive De-Stress Guide
With just a few hours to go before Christmas, most of us are already whipped into a Festive Season frenzy. Merry making usually involves lots of eating and drinking, but also an overdose of family time. With all the shopping, wrapping, cooking, entertaining, bonding and partying it’s easy to forget to sometimes take some time to ourselves to de-stress.
A little planning goes a long way, so here are a few tips to make this time of year a little less stressful:
Make a list, check it twice (like Santa Clause)
- Create a budget to ensure you don’t overspend this year. Calculate how much you can spend during this period, remembering to include expenses such as restaurant and drinks bills, presents, groceries, etc.
- Before heading out to the buy Christmas presents, create a list of names with present ideas. Cross out the names as you buy the lists. (You making some of the gifts too – see some of our tips towards the end of this article.)
- If your Christmas list is too long (and too expensive), consider creative ways of giving gifts. Many bigger families draw names from a hat and instead of buying for everyone, they buy for the person whose name they drew. Alternatively, you can also do a Secret Santa, where each person buys a generic gift and then on Christmas everyone takes a turn choosing a gift.
- Where possible, avoid actually going to the shops and rather buy online.
Create a schedule… for you
- On Christmas Eve, you’re going to Aunty Teresa’s house for dinner; Christmas Day will be spent with your husband’s side of the family at his cousin Gertrude’s home; on Boxing Day you’re having the family around to your place; there’s that braai at your friend Mickey’s place just before New Year’s and then of course there’s the New Year’s Eve party at that swanky restaurant in town. It’s exhausting just remembering all of it!
This Festive Season, be sure to schedule time for positive, relaxing activities that are focused on you and your needs. It might sound silly, but schedule some time for a longer lie in or a nap, take a long walk on your own, go for a manicure or a pedicure, or even take the time to plan one full day of healthy eating.
Dealing with family
- Everything doesn’t have to be perfect – so don’t expect miracles. If you and a certain family member generally don’t get along, Christmas Day (or any other special occasion) won’t change anything.
- Try to avoid topics that you know will cause disagreements.
- Remember that the Festive Season is not a good time to discuss difficult issues. Set it aside for another time.
- Learn to say no. You don’t have to attend every family event or activity.
- Surround yourself with people who love you and accept you for who you are. This is not always your immediate family, it is someone or a group of people who add positivity and love to your life.
Creativity helps to relieve stress. The creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps to resolve conflicts and problems, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. (http://www.healthnewsdigest.com)
Below are a few creative projects to try over the next period:
- Save money on gifts by making them instead. It adds a personal touch and the gift will always be appreciated.
- We loved these recipes for edible gifts: try making White Chocolate Truffles, Christmas Rocky Road or Candied Peel. Get the recipes here: http://www.theprettyblog.com/2012/11/3-edible-gift-ideas-recipes/
- Package luxurious bath salts in smaller, unique containers, make coasters or pretty vases. Check out this link for some unique (and easy to make!) DIY gift ideas: http://www.bhg.com/christmas/crafts/cute-craft-christmas-gifts/#page=1
- Pretty up your home with a beautiful flower arrangement. Create a beautiful bouquet in minutes: http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.za/en/2012/12/five-minute-flower-arrangement/
- At this time of year, there are plenty of wine corks to go around. Collect them and create some cork art: http://www.learnvest.com/2012/12/10-easy-holiday-diy-projects-made-from-wine-corks/?gallery=612#pid-7160_aint-0
Most importantly, look after yourselves and your loved ones this festive season. Remember, that sometimes this time of year truly can be perfectly imperfect.
Coping with Exam Stress
Many South African university students are nearing the end of exams, with one or two left to go, while matrics across the country are bracing themselves for one of the most important exam seasons of their life so far.
By now you should have a solid review timetable in place with a good understanding of the work and a healthy knowledge of your weak and strong points within the syllabus. However, no matter how prepared you are, you might be struggling to cope with the stress of it all.
Remember that being prepared means revising the work as well as learning how to balance work, exercise and yes, even relaxation. Roger Mead, US Stress Management Consultant and General Secretary of the US International Stress Management Association says, “Stress is not about the exam, but about what you think of the exam. People shouldn’t see them as monsters they can’t escape.”
Below are some tips to help you cope with exams stress just before and during the actual exam:
Get enough sleep and relaxation
A tired mind will be no good to you during an exam, so don’t pull an all-nighter the night before. Make sure you get a good night’s rest. At least an hour before the exam, stop everything and make a point of winding down and relaxing. Your body will thank you – you will be better able to cope with the stress of the actual exam and produce your best work.
Get some exercise
An exercise session, whether it’s a 10-minute walk or a full on gym work out, will help your body feel more relaxed and focused.
Eat good food
Eat a healthy meal before the exam, including fruits and vegetables, proteins and healthy carbohydrates (not heavy carbohydrates like rice and potatoes – they will just make you sleepy!). This will ensure you have the energy to get through the exam and even concentrate better.
Manage your expectations and don’t let yourself fall into the trap of believing that anything less than an A+ is failure. You need to build your confidence and negative thinking will only pull you down. Try to avoid that stressed out friend – the one who gets too worked up about exams – because her stress is catchy.
At this stage in the game, we’re not talking about revision anymore. We’re talking about the actual exam – a last minute search for everything could create unnecessary panic. Make sure you have everything you need beforehand, such as your stationary, your exam number or student card, a bottle of water to keep you hydrated, etc.
Plan your time
Once you have the paper, start out by taking a quick look through the structure of the exam. Plan your approach – mark the questions that you know the answers to and complete them first. This will help boost your confidence, and a confidence booster in the exam is exactly what you need. Remember to leave some time at the end to carefully review and edit your answers.
If you find that you don’t know some of the answers, don’t let panic creep in. Focus on your breathing, remain calm, move to the next question and return to this one at a later stage if there is time.
Let it go
When you’re finished the exam, allow yourself at least a short moment of celebration. Don’t spend time debating answers with friends and stop analyzing your answers, trying to figure out where you went wrong – there’s nothing you can do at this stage except hope for the best.
Remember that these exams might seem like the most important thing in your life right now – but in years to come, you will see they are only a small part of your life. Try your best, work hard and concentrate, but don’t let them consume your very being.
And finally… Good luck!
Three Apps to help you sleep better
Improve your sleep with these Apps that you can download onto your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
Type: White Noise Machine
Sleep Bug is an ambient sound mixer that produces a variety of scenes and music with random sound effects. The built-in sound generator creates a realistic listening experience to help calm a busy mind and is perfect for adults, children, and babies who are having trouble sleeping. You can also use sleep bug in the office to mask out distracting noises, improve concentration, and increase privacy.
Improve your mind and improve your life, through sound!
Get it: here
Sleep on it
Type: Sleep Tracker & Alarm
Get the alarm that does it all! Set your alarm and with one tap you can record how much sleep, then add info about sleep quality, your mood, meds and more to see what affects your sleep and how much you really need to feel rested and energized.
Get it: here
Sleep by MotionX
Type: Sleep Tracker, White Noise & Alarm in one
Monitor your sleep cycles using the internal sensors in the iPhone and iPod touch.
Visualize your sleep with easy to understand graphs and statistics
See how long it takes you to fall asleep, your patterns of deep and light sleep and overall rest
Get it: here
More sleep for better health
A few decades ago, people slept for nearly nine hours a night. Now, we count ourselves lucky if we even get seven hours per night.
We might have more time to work or play but we’re not doing ourselves any favours. In fact, we are doing ourselves harm. A lack of sleep is known to have the following effects:
Studies at the Sleep Medicine Program at the New York University School of Medicine show that production of leptin and ghrelin, which are hormones that impact our appetite, are influenced by how much or how little we sleep.
Put simply, a tired person is lazy about food choices and eats more junk food and as a result, tired people have a greater risk of gaining weight.
Depression and anxiety
Sleep deprivation could result in depression and it makes you worry more. In fact, insomnia is a key symptom of depression.
A lower sex drive
Poor sleep patterns elevate cortisol levels and significantly lower testosterone levels, negatively impacting moods. Low energy levels and increased levels of anxiety means a decreased interest in sex.
People produce growth hormones when they are in a deep sleep, so while we are sleeping, our skin is repairing itself. If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t produce enough growth hormone and your skin will begin to have less elasticity with more fine lines and darker circles under the eyes.
There’s nothing worse than going to bed early only to lie there wide awake or counting sheep. If this happens to you, get out of your bed and find something relaxing to do. Remember, your bed is for sleeping (and sex!) and you need to train your body to understand that.
Below are a few other sleep tips:
- Create a natural sleep-wake rhythm by having a regular bedtime and wake up time, and try to stick to it at weekends. This trains your internal clock to sleep when it needs to.
- Make up lost sleep by having naps, don’t be tempted to sleep later in the mornings. Limit naps to 30 minutes.
- Meditate and use breathing exercises to improve sleep quality. Try this technique: Breathe in through your nostrils for a count of three, extending your stomach. Hold your breath for three seconds then exhale out of your mouth for a count of six. Repeat this a few times until you feel calmer.
- Limit caffeine intake after 7pm
Tech to the rescue
Believe it or not, it’s possible that your smartphone might help you sleep – but only if you stay off the social network and stop surfing the net at least 30 minutes before bedtime. You should also switch off your TV half an hour before bedtime.
So, about having your smartphone help you to sleep, there are various smart phone apps that are designed to assist with sleeping:
- White noise and sound apps
White noise lulls you to sleep by distracting you from stress and drowning out background noise. If you decide to go with one of these apps, program it so it turns off when you’re asleep.
- Sleep cycle monitoring alarms
Sleep cycle monitoring alarms measure movement and then distinguishes between deep and light sleep. However, this isn’t entirely accurate as brain activity can only really be monitored in a sleep lab.
- Journaling apps
Keeping track of your diet, exercise and energy levels will help you understand how you are impacting your sleep patterns. Just be careful not to become obsessive about it.
There are a number of these apps available in South Africa, simply go to the health and fitness sections of your phone’s app store to find them.
Products from Bioharmony to help you!