Some call it the triple threat: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. They are wrong. It’s a quadruple threat. There’s also New Year’s. After one holiday ends, another one’s right around the bend. As we round the final corner of the calendar year, it’s important not to drop the baton.

Before the metaphors get too thick, let us take a moment to focus on recovery. Holidays take a lot out of you. In medical school, we learn about a condition called holiday heart, an alcohol-induced arrhythmia that causes irregular beating. It’s usually only temporary, but the coinage of the phrase underscores the blow that holidays can deliver to a celebratory system.

Recovery is key.

The first thing to do would be to get rid of all the Halloween candy in your house. You don’t need it, and there’ll be plenty of extra pounds coming your way anyways with all the turkey and gravy that will be spilling over the edge of your plate at the end of the month.
Next, get to the nearest beach, pool, stream or stagnant drainage ditch and jump in. Swimming is great stress release and uses a lot of the muscles that you normally don’t use when you’re sitting in your office all day or folding clothes or taking pictures or whatever it is that you do for your day job, unless you’re a lifeguard, surf or swim instructor. It sounds like newage hippy talk about the ocean being healing or whatever, but it can help you tighten it up.

If you find yourself with any free time, try to devote at least a ton of it to handling some chores and errands. 2014 has already brought us Cut/Copy, E-40, Too Short, John Dig-weed, Dumbfounded, Shing02, Action Bronson, Tokimonsta, Big Freedia, Dam Funk, Danny Brown, Jhene Aiko and way too many more to list in this column. On top of all the regular stuff you have to do for your work or school or whatever, on top of all the lame errands you’ll have to run and on top of all the gatherings you’ll have to attend for the holidays, there’s going to be a bunch of shows coming up that you will be kicking yourself for missing, especially if it’s over something you could have avoided if you had been just a little more on top of your game.

Set some goals for yourself and bang ’em out so that when it comes time to let go, you can actually let go and not just be ignoring all the things you know you should be doing that you put off to marathon-watch some show on Netflix.

The last couple of months of the year are always the best, but they also can be the most stressful. Make yourself useful now and get ahead so that you can surf the holiday wave, not drown in it.