Two things that can be energy draining: surviving the holidays + traveling. When you put them together, you’re practically doomed for exhaustion.

Nobody wants to ruin their holiday vacation by being the worn-out Grinch of the bunch, especially if this is the only chance you have each year to visit with your family and loved ones. Learn how to beat the exhaustion of traveling during the holiday season so you can make the most of your time off.

Step 1: Prepare early

We’ve all fallen victim to procrastination a time or two and know how often it results in a disaster. Trying to juggle all of your plans at the last minute will only lead to chaos, stress, and your desire to hop back in bed.

Prepare early for your trip so you don’t experience a last-minute panic causing you to stay up all night packing. You can also pack items that will help boost your energy during your trip. Instead of depending on coffee for a morning pick-me-up, pack some protein bars that will recharge your battery during the days. Energy boosting snacks are an essential item for your trip to keep your energy high.

For gift-giving holidays, don’t leave the shopping until right before. Nothing is worse than the stress (+ guilt) of not being able to find the perfect gift, so do yourself a favor and schedule a date with yourself to plan out the presents!

Step 2: Fueling your tank

Photo by  adrian  on  Unsplash

Photo by adrian on Unsplash

If you’re preparing for a long car trip, you’d fill up your gas tank first to start with a full tank. Think about your energy in the same way. Before you leave for your trip, make sure you’re getting plenty of rest. Don’t run around up until the last minute wearing yourself out.

Make sure you indulge on your restorative sleep in your own bed at home before you leave. Depending on your sleeping style, a different type of bed can affect how well you can catch your ZZZ’s at night, so your sleep may be disrupted while you’re sleeping in a new bed during your travels. Making sure you’re all caught up on your sleep will be especially important if you’re traveling to a new time zone.

#ProTip: You can beat jet lag by adjusting your sleeping schedule a few days in advance. Start sleeping and waking up according to your destination’s time zone and you’ll have no trouble looking like local when you arrive.

Step 3: Don’t overdo the feasting

Meals bring people together, so preparing large feasts is a big part of the holidays. When you start filling your plate, be conscious of what you’re selecting and how much of your plate that you’re covering. Stuffing yourself full will leave you ready to crash on the couch, especially with the overload of tryptophan in your Thanksgiving meal.

Not to say you shouldn’t treat yourself during the holidays and indulge a bit, but try not to go crazy. Especially when you see the dessert table. A bunch of sugary desserts will give you a temporary rush, but soon you will crash back down.

For all of your meals that aren’t the big family feasts, make sure you’re maintaining a healthy diet with complex carbohydrates and nutrient-rich foods to energize your body.

Photo by  Jacob Postuma  on  Unsplash

Step 4: Keep up with your workouts

Maybe you work out regularly, or maybe you don’t. Either way you want to make sure you keep your body moving while you’re traveling, especially to start counteracting all of the calories you’re consuming.

Staying stagnant will drain your energy. Get up and move around, even if it’s just for a short walk or practicing some yoga flows.

Step 5: Remember that water is your best friend

When you’re dehydrated, even to a minor degree, you’ll have difficulties concentrating, feel moody, and lose your energy. In fact, feeling tired is one of the first signs of dehydration.

To avoid this energy drainer, keep a refillable water bottle on hand at all times. If you’ll be doing a lot of walking or other physical activities during your travels, this will be especially important.

Step 6: Stop stressing

Stress will wear you out, and you’re probably already experiencing more stress than usual during the holiday season. One of the biggest stressors during the holidays? Shopping. Get this off your mind and get all your shopping done early in December so you can spend your winter break relaxing and preparing for your travels.

For any other stress lingering in your mind, try these techniques for naturally eliminating stress. Some of the best options are listening to music, deep breathing, and avoiding procrastination. Take some time to calm down and relax with whatever method works for you to clear your brain.

If you follow all of these steps, you’ll be able to survive your holiday travels without being completely drained by January.

Happy holidays!

Guest Contributor, Laurie Larson, is a writer based in NC. She loves traveling, especially in central Europe, and dreams of visiting every continent one day.