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5 New Year’s Resolutions for Post Holiday Burnout

I really dislike New Year’s resolutions for a couple of different reasons.

First of all, making a goal to change something for an entire year is a terrible idea.

Change doesn’t happen overnight and making a goal for the whole year is a big commitment. Usually, it leads to biting off more than you can chew. For instance, going from no regular exercise to working out 5 times a week.

Another reason why it doesn’t work is timing.

January is cold and dark and falls right after the busy holiday season. Many people are feeling burnt out and don’t need to do more, they need to do less. Now don’t get me wrong, New Year’s resolutions work well for some; there are some who like to dive right in.

If you are someone that always sticks to your goals, then this blog is not for you. However, if you are someone who makes a resolution in January and gives up by mid-February, then this blog is here to explain why it’s not your fault. Perhaps the reason why you cannot make a change is because your nervous system is dysregulated, you are over-tired and over-stressed. So, you don’t need a big change, you need rest and nourishment.

Winter is meant to be a time of rest and here are some things we should NOT be doing in January such as:

  • Eating lots of raw foods, such as cold salad
  • Drinking ice cold water
  • Waking up in the dark to do intense cardio exercise.
  • Fasting or detox diets

Here’s what we should be doing instead:

  • Eating lots of warming and nourishing foods
  • Drinking warm water and herbal teas
  • Getting extra sleep
  • Gentler exercise like yoga and walking
  • Supplementing with vitamin D

What is Burnout?

If you are feeling stressed and anxious but also tired, you may be dealing with burnout.


Burnout is an imbalance of the hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is our long-term stress hormone that is also a part of our natural circadian rhythm. Cortisol is what wakes us up in the morning and melatonin allows us to fall asleep at night. Our circadian rhythm is connected with sunlight. There is less sunlight in the winter, therefore our body is already having to make an adjustment.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone, so like many of our sex hormones, it also is a glucocorticoid – meaning it affects blood sugar and insulin levels. Therefore, our cortisol levels will affect other hormone levels, our metabolic rate, and our energy levels. Keeping cortisol balanced is important to our overall health and it is more difficult to do in the winter. particularly for anyone who has to deal with a lot of stress (so you know, everyone.) Therefore, any changes made in the New Year should focus on keeping cortisol balanced and enjoying this seasonal time of rest.

What About Non-Health Related New Year’s Resolutions?

The most common New Year’s resolutions are related to diet, exercise, weight loss or the cessation of bad health habits, like smoking. However, there are many other goals we may have, such as financial goals, family and relationship goals, spiritual goals, goals related to hobbies and interests, home organization; the list goes on.

These New Year’s resolutions may not seem health-related, but they are. Health is about self-care and when we take care of ourselves, we are better equipped to achieve our goals. When we are feeling tired and stressed, change is more difficult. Feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm can come from an imbalance of cortisol, aka burnout. So, whatever your goals are for the New Year, your self-care should also be a priority. I know it has become a bit of cliché, but it is true that you cannot pour from an empty cup.

Here are some New Year’s resolutions which support your health but are easier to obtain if you’re already feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

5 Self-Care New Year’s Resolutions

Stay Hydrated

Winter can be cold and dry. Hydration is important for skin health, digestion, mood, and energy levels. It can be more difficult to stay hydrated in winter because water is naturally cooling, so we may not feel like drinking it if we are cold. Instead of drinking water from the fridge, try room temperature or warm water.

Other ways to stay hydrated in the winter:

  • Herbal teas
  • Bone Broth
  • Soups and Stews
  • Seasonal fruits and vegetables

Get More Sleep

Some animals hibernate in the winter; we do not have that luxury, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need a bit more sleep during the colder months. If you can get away with an extra hour or half an hour sleep, do it!

If you have trouble falling asleep, here are some tips:

  • Avoid caffeine at least after 12PM (this includes coffee, black tea, green tea, sodas and diet pop)
  • Drink relaxing caffeine-free herbal teas instead (chamomile, lavender, passionflower)
  • Avoid screens 30-60 minutes prior to bedtime. The blue light interferes with melatonin production. You can also make adjustments to your phone or laptop.
  • Avoid alcohol close to bedtime, as it can interfere with the quality of your sleep.
  • Try guided meditations, sleep hypnosis, Yoga Nidra or sleep stories (there are many podcasts available and lots of options). This can be a great alternative to scrolling on your phone in bed.
  • Increase activity and sunlight during the day. This will help to balance our circadian rhythm.

Start a Yoga Practice

The good thing about yoga is you can do by hardly moving at all. Breathing exercises, meditation, hand gestures and yoga philosophy are all a part of a yoga practice, just like the asanas or postures.

Practicing yoga as a whole can help to reduce stress and increase mindfulness. Practicing the postures can provide some gentle movement during the winter season, and the best part is it can be done indoors.

A hatha practice or gentle vinyasa practice is a great way to get some movement, mindfulness, and relaxation.

Go for a Walk Outside

You probably shouldn’t run or ride your bike in the ice or snow, but it’s still a good idea to get some exercise and sunshine whenever possible during the winter. A simple walk will do.

The natural sunlight will help your circadian rhythm and give you some much needed vitamin D. If possible, spend some time in nature, which could just be a local park or your own backyard. 

Take Vitamin D

Here is a very easy New Year’s Resolution: include Vitamin D for immune support, bone health and mood into your daily routine. However, if you’re like me in that you often forget to take supplements, this may be somewhat of a challenge.

Here’s what I do to remember to take my vitamin D and other supplements:

  • Have it in a visible spot – not in the back of the cupboard
  • Have a reminder, note in the fridge, reminder on your phone or in your planner.
  • Develop an anchor – some type of association, for example always taking your supplements with breakfast.

These are some low commitment resolutions that support your health during winter. You could choose one or two or do them all if that feels available to you.

When is a good time for Big Change or Cleansing Diets?

Living in rural Canada has made feel very connected with the seasons, but they will affect us no matter where we live. I think it is natural for our routines, eating habits and sleep patterns, to adjust with the seasons and we should try to work with our body’s natural rhythm and accept these changes.

There is a natural time for renewal, transformation, and cleansing, it’s called – Spring. If you’re interested in aiding your body in detoxication, Spring-time would be a better time to do it; it’s also when a lot of fresh greens are in season.

Making new health goals every month, or every season, can be a lot easier than trying to make a goal for the whole year. If you want to feel really one with nature, you could even align your changes with the cycles of the moon. Our bodies align better with the calendars provided by nature anyway.

The point is: Don’t feel pressured to start 2024 as this completely new and improved person; it’s just another day. With that being said, we wish every one of you a happy and healthy new year!


Kirsten Colella, CNP, is a Holistic Nutritionist who graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition with high honours.  Living on a farm with her family, Kirsten likes to eat in line with what the seasons provide, creating new flavour and food ideas accordingly. Kirsten shares her delicious recipes, colourful food pics and health-promoting food ideas on our Instagram page @essentialbalanceholistic

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