December can be an extremely busy time of year, filled with lists of demands for santa, shopping trips, work christmas functions and overindulging at many meals. This packed schedule spells bad news for your body – too much food, not enough exercise and stress, stress, stress.
We have come up with some simple tips to keep on top of your health (and sanity) this Christmas.
It’s all about family
Don’t expect to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas as it’s likely to fall short of your expectations. The most important thing is for you and your family to have fun and be together. Christmas isn’t about stuff, it’s about people, so get all your favs together and spend some quality time together.
Sleep is one of the most important factors in our physical and mental health. Studies suggest we need between 7-9 hours a night. And unfortunately ‘catching up at the weekend’ doesn’t actually work. If you feel burnt out, listen to your body and stay home.
Make an effort to be more physically active. We are lucky in NZ to have Christmas in the middle of summer so get out the house and go for a walk, play some BYC, take the kids for a swim at the beach. The options are literally endless in our beautiful country.
Don’t be a Christmas martyr
Do you always try and do EVERYTHING for EVERYONE to make sure Christmas is perfect…? Then stop right now. Don’t try and do everything yourself – delegate! It makes for happier families… and a happier you. Instead put the kids to work, ask guests to bring a plate, play to other people’s strengths and ASK FOR HELP! There is no award for the best Christmas organiser so you might as well share out the work.
The gift of giving help
If you’re seeking a little happiness and contentment during Christmas, by far the most valuable thing you can do over Christmas is offer the same to others. Drop in on a neighbour. Visit someone on their own. Listen to someone who’s having a hard time. Whatever it is – we are never happier in ourselves than when we are giving something away to another human being. It is good for the soul.
Go for healthier food choices when you can
Most party nibbles are full of fat and processed carbs. However, most of time there are healthier alternatives if you look closely. Veges with some hummus, chicken skewers and olives. All good for your body and taste yum too! But remember, it’s all about balance, you can have that mince pie (or 3) but maybe increase your fruit and vege intake the following day.
Consider your drink choices
Try to stay within your own limits; don’t get sucked into the peer pressure of downing drinks, playing drinking games or keeping up with the crowd.
There are lower calorie and alcohol options on the market these days so you can indulge without all the calories. And moderate your mixers. Mix your drinks with no sugar mixers or sparkling water to keep sugar consumption to a minimum. Better yet, make every second drink a glass of water! Your body will thank you in the morning.
If you have overdone it on the alcohol, then it is important to get yourself back on an even keel. Don’t just sit there feeling ill – get up and drink plenty of water to help your liver recover and eventually eradicate the hangover.
Make sure you’ve got a safe ride home. If you want a quieter night, offer to be sober driver; your friends and family will thank you!
If you see someone heading to their car when you think they’ve had too much to drink, don’t be afraid to speak up. You could save their life.