By Emily Holler
December. The most highly anticipated, dreaded and exciting month of the year! Between work Christmas parties, vacations and New Years Eve frivolities, not to mention the veritable feast we all partake in on Christmas Day itself, it becomes quite a challenge to maintain the healthy habits we have painstakingly adhered to throughout the year.
The silly season is laden with opportunities for family connection, social interaction and personal downtime but is unfortunately also equally laden with the dangerous temptations of overindulgence, unhealthy choices and late nights plus the subsequent unhealthy emotions such as guilt.
Rather than spending the entire season in lockdown, a little preparation and planning can help evade the pitfalls while enjoying the positive opportunities and gifts on offer at this magical time of year. Here are our top tips for staying healthy and happy during the upcoming festive season.
1. Make good food choices
Christmas is an opportune time to enjoy some treats but we don’t have to veer too far off course when enjoying a Christmas feast. Take a plate of veggies or a fruit platter along to work functions to be sure there is a heathy and delicious option. Alternatively bring your own snacks along as a back up. If you’re involved in planning the Christmas feast, why not opt for healthy fresh options such as seafood and salads rather heavy meats and starchy vegetables. Traditional Christmas dinners often mimic those served in colder climates. Christmas Day in Australia should be synonymous with fresh, healthy and light foods. Sweet treats such as a fruit parfait made with coconut cream or tropical fruit kebabs are healthier options than puddings and trifle.
2. Pace yourself
Refuse to allow the feverish pace of the silly season to drag you in. Running frantically from engagement to engagement with bouts of stressful last minute shopping trips wedged in between is a recipe for early burnout and conflict with loved ones. It’s ok to say no if you’re lucky enough to be invited to more functions than you can attend without overdoing it. Also, if you’re hosting the functions yourself, plan a menu you can comfortably achieve. Try to stick with recipes you’ve previously made rather than trying a whole new range of dishes. It’s ok to be a doer. Just don’t be an over-doer.
3. Get adequate rest
Maintaining healthy sleep habits over summer is essential for staying healthy. Why not organise a babysitter for the morning after your work Christmas party and don’t schedule early appointments the next day so you can ensure you get a sleep in. Enjoy the parties and engagements you attend but avoid being the last person standing at every single one. Late nights are very taxing on adrenal health.
4. Limit alcohol intake
This one is a tad obvious but always needs to be reiterated. Enjoy some sparkling water between each alcoholic beverage to ensure you stay hydrated and make better choices such as clear spirits like vodka or gin with soda water as opposed to a creamy mudslide. Last but not least, limit your intake.
5. Maintain your routine
Where possible try to maintain your regular routine including exercise and wellness practices. Although the festive season can be hectic, for many of us it can also provide some valuable downtime so make the most of the extra time off and do some more meditation or a couple of extra sessions as the gym if possible. If you retain some semblance of your regular routine it’ll be easier to implement positive changes in the new year.
6. Avoid unhealthy emotions
Guilt. Stress. Worry. These are just some of the unhealthy emotions that can take hold at the festive time of year. Be mindful of habitual patterns returning such as family conflict, stress about money or guilt about overindulging. Unhealthy emotions can be equally if not more damaging than any festive feast. Curb the tendency to fall into this trap.
7. Keep your vitamin intake high
This is the perfect time of year to maintain your vitamin intake and ensure your immune system and overall health are being nurtured. A fully organic diet may provide the necessary nutrition, particularly if you are juicing regularly, however for most of us supplementation is needed to achieve optimum health. Drop into our dispensary if you need a top up or chat to our naturopath's if you're not sure about your current supplement regime.
8. Move your body
The festive season is the perfect time to get active. Think cricket matches in the park, beach volleyball or cycling expeditions. Bring along some sporty equipment to family gatherings and you’ll encourage others to get amongst it also. You’ll be making magical memories while ensuring you stay fit and active. That’s a win win!
Following these recommendations will support you in staying healthier and happier during the upcoming silly season. If you can walk that middle path between enjoying some festive indulgences without sacrificing your overall wellbeing, you will emerge fresh and energetic to kick goals in 2018.