‘Tis the season to be jolly (and indulge)! The festive season is here, and Christmas is just around the corner! While for many people this brings on much excitement and joy, yet for others this is not always the case. A lot of stress, anxiety, and loneliness is on the cards, and this can play up both at home, at get-togethers as well as in the workplace.
The merry period is renowned for its big get-togethers, office parties, eating and drinking, and more eating and drinking. There are many late nights, lazy days, excessive consumption of mince pies and mulled wine and health and exercise routines often decline. As a result, and with good reason, it can be hard to prioritise staying healthy and active, especially when you’re juggling a busy social calendar with shopping, cooking, and attending your festive rendezvous.
Health is such a broad concept, and it expands further than just physical health and wellbeing. It includes mental and emotional, financial, and psychological health where there’s often a correlation between the different health spheres. There are many ways to look after your health, whilst still partaking in the fun and all it has to offer.
5 ways to stay healthy this festive period (and beyond):
Monitor your Booze Intake
If you are firmly ensconced at home over the festive period, remember those alcohol units can really mount up. Mulled wine on Christmas eve, Bucks Fizz with breakfast, wine with dinner, Baileys for dessert… the list goes on! And there’s nothing wrong with letting your hair down and enjoying drinks with your nearest and dearest. But keeping tabs on how much you are drinking and how frequently is a good idea, as alcohol is packed with calories, causes sluggishness, and can influence your mood in the moment and beyond. Either choose one meal and go all out, or why not intersperse your favourite tipples with some softer ones?
Rest, rest, rest
Christmas may be the busiest time of your year, so even though your schedule may be packed, try stay on track with your sleeping hours, and where possible, take naps to rest your body and mind from what’s been a unusual year. Sufficient sleep is essential for a good mood, good health, and good attitude — perfect for the holiday season! Many people are away or at family over this time and not in the comfort of their own homes, but make an effort to maintain any evening routines that help you wind down from your day: digital detox, warm bath, meditation, chamomile tea and so on.
It’s completely understandable that many of us are going to shift our schedules to include more get-togethers, leaving us short on time for our regular workouts. An effective way to combat this is to plan a more intensive workout to get the most of your workout window. Whatever your preferred exercise is, there are ways to increase your gains in a shorter workout time. For example, if you’re doing yoga, intersperse your poses with quick blasts of cardio, or where possible, include weights into your movements for that extra burn.
Walking is another great way to keep your heartrate up and your body moving over the festive period, especially after those long lunches. Take extra long walks after your meals and spend time outdoors in the fresh air, clocking up those steps.
Whether it’s navigating complex family dynamics, financial worries, Coronavirus concerns or the pressure to make everything perfect, Christmas can be overwhelming and take its toll on your mindset and moods. Try balancing your social obligations with the need and space for self-care and preservation. Setting boundaries will improve your overall health as it allows you space to breathe, recalibrate, do what’s best for you and not feeling pulled in multiple directions all at once.
There are a plethora of ways to care for yourself. Everything from meditation, journaling, enjoy a restorative soak in festive-scented bath salts, listening to your favourite music on a walk, reading a book whilst others take care of your children for an hour – the list is endless. Mindfulness practices help us reconnect with ourselves and connects us to our thoughts and feelings. Take time each day to think of the positive aspects of your life and try appreciating how far you’ve come amidst 2 years overflowing with loss, uncertainty, and fear.
Eat with care
While Christmas might well be the most magical time of the year, it’s also often the most glutinous, booze-filled and, let’s face it, exhausting period in the winter calendar. There’s often overindulgence when people relax and switch off from the year. This is completely fine within limits, so try being a little mindful of what you put on your plate.
There are many ways to do this, you could fill your plate up with 50% vegetables, 25% protein and 25% carbs. Load up on leafy greens like Brussels sprouts, cabbage and other winter vegetables as these are packed with nutrients which will help replenish energy levels. Don’t arrive starving as that’s when poor food choices are made, have a little snack before hand if possible, and after the meal if you’re full, stop grazing.