Christmas…it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it!?
Christmas can be a really difficult time of year for many. It can be stressful, sad, lonely. But even for those who really enjoy Christmas and look forward to it, by January 1st most of us are desperately craving routine and normality!
I personally have learned that I need to be very careful at this time of year. When I suffered with physical and mental health issues in 2015, I started on a journey of recovery that involved many gradual, but still major, diet and lifestyle changes. Recovery from anything is rarely a straight upwards trajectory, there are always ups and downs. And my biggest “down” came in January 2016 after I reverted back to my old diet and lifestyle at Christmas. “Sure what harm could it do?!” I thought. But those 2 weeks of complete and utter over-indulgence caused me the biggest setback I’ve ever had and my anxiety levels soared higher than ever in January.
I promise you I’m not here to party poop on anyone’s Christmas! I do still thoroughly believe Christmas is about indulging – eating, drinking and doing a lot of things we wouldn’t normally – and these should all be enjoyed, guilt-free. But my advice to you (and myself!) is this – FOR GOODNESS SAKE JUST TRY NOT TO COMPLETELY LOSE THE RUN OF YOURSELF!
Here are 5 tips we should all keep in mind this Christmas. Little things that won’t infringe on your enjoyment of the silly season, but they could really help you, your body and mind survive Christmas reasonably unscathed!
1 – Reign In The Buying
Before I even get into the food and drink, let’s talk about the other “stuff” we indulge in over Christmas. Like I mentioned in Monday’s Mind Yourself post, one area that we really lose the run of ourselves in is with all the buying we do at Christmas. There is so much pressure put on us all to BUY BUY BUY!!! Not just gifts for other people, but also treats for ourselves. This madness needs to stop!! All research shows that “stuff”, possessions, do not make us happy. This frantic spending is the main cause of stress and anxiety at Christmas – the pressure to find the best/most perfect present and the reality of putting yourself in debt.
It might be a little late for it this Christmas, but maybe talk to your friends and family about presents for next Christmas and how you can all reduce the pressure and stress for each other. A few years ago my family decided to do a Secret Santa instead of everyone buying for everyone. We started off with a bigger budget, but now we are down to €15 or you can do something hand-made instead!
When it comes to buying for ourselves, we now try to ask do I really “need” this or do I just “want” it! It really puts things into perspective! A stylist I follow encourages people to get 30 wears out of each item of clothing. How many times have you worn the new outfit you got last Christmas?!
2 – Stay Hydrated
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record with the whole “drink more water” thing, but there is seriously nothing as underestimated as good old water when it comes to helping you and your body feel better! If in doubt, just drink water! In Winter in general we tend to drink much less water, but especially around Christmas we’re more likely to be sipping on fizzy drinks as well as lots of alcoholic beverages, leaving us incredibly dehydrated and tired.
Try starting each day of the Christmas break with a big glass of water, stay warm with comforting and hydrating herbal teas and, if drinking alcohol, alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water.
3 – Eat A Good Breakfast
My old Christmas week breakfast always consisted of a massive bowl of Coco Pops with chocolate soya milk, cos, you know, they weren’t chocolatey enough if I used plain milk! Like I’ve said before, breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day and my sugary cereal ensured that my daily Christmas blood sugar rollercoaster started off at a dizzying height, leaving me tired, moody and craving sugar for the rest of the day.
Remember that Roses chocolates are not an acceptable breakfast (!) and try to get something nourishing into you at breakfast time like porridge, wholemeal toast with eggs, natural yoghurt with fruit, nuts or seeds. This will really satisfy your body, keep your energy levels more stable, and curb a lot of those sweets cravings…at least until the afternoon!
4 – Everything in Moderation
Like I said above, Christmas is absolutely a time when we should feel free to indulge and enjoy ourselves. There is absolutely no point in completely restricting yourself. I certainly know I won’t be! But, as always, the key is to practice “moderation”. Eat the foods you want to eat, enjoy them, but simply try to eat moderate amounts of them.
I find it really helpful to try to eat more mindfully. So every time you pop a Roses chocolate in your mouth, take a moment to notice how it smells, tastes and feels, so that you actually know you’ve eaten it! Just have alcoholic drinks at social gatherings rather than having a drink every night at home. And remember, the stores only close for 1 day…you’re not gonna run out of food! We have a tendency to fill the cupboards with food at Christmas and then feel under pressure to eat it all before Christmas is over. So just don’t buy as much! If it is not there, you can’t eat it!
5 – Exercise/Get Outside Every Day
As much as I absolutely love being curled up on the sofa watching movies and Christmas TV, it only takes a couple of days for the festive cabin fever to kick in.
Our bodies need daily physical activity, and fresh air, so do yourself a favour and get outside for at least a 30 minute walk every day over the Christmas period.
So there you go, a few tips to help you get through the Christmas season without completely losing the run of yourself. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas filled with love, health and happiness…3 things that money can’t buy 😊