Christmas should be the most beautiful time of the year right??
As much as Christmas is an exciting time for most of us, the reality is that it can also be the busiest and most stressful time of the year, leading to a less than-healthful couple of months over the Christmas and New Year period.
With a never-ending to do list of purchasing presents, catch-ups with friends, work and school functions and organising family and food, it is imperative for good health to remain focused on looking after ourselves. Here are some ways that will ensure you can enjoy the lead-up to Christmas without the feeling of exhaustion and the less-than-healthful effects that come with our madness around Christmas.
Plan ahead with food
We often have a choice when it comes to what we provide for our guests and what we take to other people’s functions. Healthy foods can be more delicious than the less healthful options if prepared and presented well.
Focus mostly on plant-based foods, protein and good fats e.g. platters with brightly coloured fruits and vegetables (some roasted veg such as broccoli or cauliflower and sticks of veg for dips such as guacamole or hummus), wholegrain crackers and breads, olive oil, figs, dates, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, goats cheese, lean slices of chicken breast or fish bites.
If you’re going to a function where you know you will be surrounded by less healthful options, have a substantial healthy snack or meal before you go. This way you won’t be starving and feel the need to eat everything that comes your way.
Limit less healthful snacks for the kids and pre-plan some snacks for the weeks leading up to Christmas. Stack the pantry full of healthy snacks and put some meals in your freezer for those days you simply don’t have the time to cook. This will avoid the ‘6pm what’s for dinner rush’ and the need to call on takeaway.
Keep up your self-care practices
Choose a couple of non-negotiables and write them down. Make a promise to yourself to do these everyday no matter how busy you feel. I love to write mine on my mirror in my wardrobe to remind me every time I go in to get dressed. Making time for yourself everyday no matter how busy you feel should be a non-negotiable.
Think outside the square
Why not make your catch ups you do with friends at this time of the year be a walk together and then coffee or lunch, or a beautiful picnic in the park where you can make the most of being out in nature. It doesn’t always have to be an indulgent lunch or dinner with drinks. If you’re drinking alcohol, be sure to add some water or sparkling water in between drinks and try not to overindulge too much.
Say not to unnecessary things
Now is a great time to practice the art of saying NO!! Let go of feeling the need to please everyone in the lead up to Christmas. Catching up with all your friends in such a short space of time fills your diary and ensures you are run ragged. Saying no to the things that you feel compelled to do, free’s you up to do more of the things you love. After all, what’s the point of being with those we love if we are not in the moment, thinking of all we have to do.
Sleep can seem elusive in those weeks leading up to Christmas. With a never-ending to do list, it can be tempting to skip on the sleep and get everything done.
Making sure your body has a good night’s rest by having a wind-down routine before bed, using meditation or breathwork to combat stress and focus on getting some sunlight into your eyes first thing in the morning. You can take your exercise outside or sit and enjoy a quiet cuppa in the morning light before the busyness of the day begins. This is a great way to keep your body energised and ready for another busy day.
A happy and healthy MERRY CHRISTMAS.
Shanelle Curtis is a certified Health and Wellness Coach, certified Women's Health and Wellness Coach with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and Bachelor of Education in Special Needs.
Ally McDonald-Bull; Wellness Coach