Pop a Peppermint
Smelling peppermint “stimulates the trigeminal nerve, which stimulates the area of the brain responsible for arousal and can make you more alert,” says Hirsch. (So that’s how Santa stays up all night.)
Beware of Energy Vampires
Ever get off the phone with someone and instantly want to hit the sack? Then you’ve been bitten by what Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist and the author of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions ($16, amazon.com), calls an “energy vampire,” someone who drains your lifeblood. Here, she identifies common types to watch out for, as well as the “garlic” you can use against them:
The chronic talker: This motormouth never takes a breath, and standing there listening is surprisingly exhausting.
The garlic: Fake a small bladder. Say, “I’m so sorry to interrupt, but I have to go to the bathroom,” says Orloff.
The sob sister: A whiner who loves a captive audience, this fiend isn’t interested in solutions; she just wants to vent…and vent.
The garlic: Say, “I love you, but unless you want to get into solutions, I have only five minutes to listen.”
The blamer: This is the person who is always saying, “If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”
The garlic: Don’t apologize or agree. In a firm but kind tone, say, “When you talk like that, it hurts my feelings. Please stop.”
The controller: This vampire likes to tell you—and everyone else—what to do.
The garlic: “Never try to control a controller,” says Orloff. “Speak up, but don’t make a big deal of it. Just state your needs. Say, ‘I appreciate your advice, but I’d like to work through this on my own.’ ” Then say it again. With this species, repetition is key.
The go-for-the-jugular friend: Wildly ambitious, this vampire cuts you down to build herself up.
The garlic: “Try to eliminate this person from your life,” says Orloff. “If you can’t, do not react to her zingers—what she wants is to see your horrified look.” Instead, “visualize a protective shield around you so her toxic comments can’t get into your gut.”