Christmas is notoriously a time to indulge, but don’t let this be the green light to overindulge! You can still enjoy all the festivities of the season and get through the Christmas period without too much impact on your health and waistline.
With Christmas edging closer now is the perfect time to embrace the festive cheer! However, that doesn’t mean your Christmas wellbeing has to take a pounding!
Give more than you ever expect to receive
I’m not talking about presents and I’m definitely not talking about money. In my opinion, the most valuable thing anyone can ever give – is their time.
Doing something for a friend, helping a stranger, volunteering, making a present, completing random acts of kindness or simply taking the time to genuinely thank someone will strengthen relationships and create experiences that material gifts can’t even get close to. Happiness is a choice. It is the best gift you can give others because it’s contagious!
Practice daily gratitude
Graduate, Shawn Anchor, has studied happiness at Harvard University for over 12 years. He found that writing 3 things you are grateful for every day for 21 days straight increased people’s happiness levels, decreased their stress load and even boosted their immune system!
Top tip: Leave a notepad by your bed. Write three different things every day that you’re grateful for – it can be as simple as, I am grateful that my partner made me a cup of tea this morning.
Get outside to experience the magic
Thousands of studies have been carried out on the benefits of being in touch with nature; from reducing depression and anxiety to lowering blood pressure. It can even helping with ADHD and autism in children. You don’t need mountains or woods to reap the benefits of the great outdoors. Find parks, green spaces or even your garden, wrap up warm, throw on some wellies and encourage outdoor exercise and play!
Top Tip: Go for long walks with the family, a friend, your dog or simply on your own. Soak up the beauty of nature and notice how much more calm you feel.
Move your lymphatic system
Physical Your lymphatic system is your body’s waste removal system. It requires movement to eliminate the toxins your body is constantly processing. Otherwise, if these toxins hang around too long they get re-absorbed into your blood stream – yuk! Exercise is a great place to start to shift these toxins. Short bursts of jumping, dancing and sprinting are the best choices but power walking also has its benefits.
Other ways to move your lymphatic system include dry skin brushing, massage and relaxing in an Epsom salt bath for 10-20 minutes.
Top tip: Ask for a mini trampoline for Christmas, it’s one of the most effective ways to move your lymphatic system whilst being gentle on your joints!
Digestion starts in the brain; seeing and smelling food releases the correct enzymes to aid digestion, chewing your food properly then allows you to savour tastes whilst reducing the workload on your stomach acid. This is such an important rule! Humans cannot effectively digest foods in a sympathetic state i.e. stressed. This means when we are rushing around, having family feuds or shovelling food down our necks like it’s an Olympic sport – our body simply doesn’t absorb as many nutrients and our mind forgets we’ve even eaten! This results in over consuming empty calories, making us more and more nutrient deficient and increases those dreaded cravings!
If weight loss or maintenance is your long term goal, this one tip alone will save you A LOT of unnecessary weight gain and mean you won’t start the New Year with a sugar monster on your shoulder!
Top tip: Put your cutlery down between bites as this will force you to slow down. If food is in your mouth – your hands should be empty!
Focus on upgrades
There’s no escaping the fact that Christmas revolves around food and drink! You can still enjoy yourself by keeping ahead of your Christmas wellbeing with the basic 80/20 concept . In order to be have a healthy and balanced diet, you don’t always have to make 100% healthy food choices. 80% is enough! It helps you to balance your food intake, eat in moderation and occasionally indulge! Realistically Christmas is just one day so enjoy and truly savour every mouthful on Christmas day but try to upgrade your choices where you can over the whole Festive period.
Top tip: Pack more nutrients into your meals by eating real foods – as close to nature as possible – 80% of the time. Think about finding recipe ‘upgrades’ which means including more nutrients and less (or no) chemicals!
Give your digestive system a holiday too!
No-one likes to be overworked at Christmas, so don’t force your digestive system to work back to back shifts either!
This is especially relevant if you eat lots of processed foods, drink alcohol or consume too much sugar. These are the worst offenders for cell damage. Our digestive system can only regenerate cells and repair damage when we are in a fasted state i.e. not digesting. Therefore giving your body a 12 hour break will reduce the amount of damage that takes place as well as increasing the amount of time the digestive system has to repair itself and process the night before’s over indulgence!
Top tip: Plan ahead! If you know you’re going to be eating more than usual and maybe eating dinner late, start the morning with water and herbal teas, and if you really want to charge your system, exercise before breakfast!
Spend more time being than doing
Have you ever found yourself snapping over the tiniest things due to a build-up of life pressures? Although connecting with others is great for our health, spending 10 minutes a day to pamper yourself or just be on your own simply enjoying being rather than doing, is also vitally important. Nobody wants a stressed super Mum, sweating into the gravy, or a burnt out do it yourself Dad frantically trying to assemble the new toys with no instructions – that really isn’t good for our Christmas wellbeing!
Scheduling 10 minutes for yourself every day will reduce the festive frictions as well as giving your adrenal glands a much-needed break. (The adrenal glands produce the hormone, cortisol, which helps us respond to stress).
Top tip: Box breathing – breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breath out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, then repeat up to 10 times. Give it a go and experience its calming effects!
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Mulled wines, festive cocktails, binge drinking and even too much tea and coffee are enough to cause chronic dehydration. Set yourself up for success by getting into the habit of drinking a glass of water when you wake up every morning before doing anything else! Whilst drinking alcohol – set reminders to drink water between alcoholic drinks – one water one wine – and make sure you drink plenty of water before you go to bed!
Top tip: If the thought of cold water on a winter’s morning freezes you to the core, then warm it up, add a slice of lemon or try herbal teas! Just be sure to start your day with water before that Advent Calendar door opens!
Savour the moments – disconnect to re-connect.
Christmas is all about spending quality time with families and friends and although this year we have restrictions, the households we do choose to mix with are important. Our modern world makes it very hard to be truly present, but Christmas is a great time to practice this skill. Don’t spend Christmas getting a ‘buffer face’ watching endless movies, rubbish TV or surfing on Facebook. Disconnect from your screens to re-connect with the people that really matter in your life.
Fun Fact: Just having your phone on the table (even if it’s face down) is proven to reduce social trust and engagement.
Top tip: Staying present – this means stop looking forward to the next thing, slow down and enjoy right now.
Pamper yourself!Make sure that the holidays are just that, a holiday for everyone, including you. Plan out some ‘me’ time when you can do what you enjoy, relax and recharge your mental batteries. Why not treat yourself to a relaxing treatment at the ReJuv Spa here at AMG London, the perfect way to unwind and improve the appearance of your skin too!
Getting to sleep naturally is the best way to ensure that the mind and body get the rest they need.
Trying the methods above can increase the chance of falling asleep without needing to use any sleep aids.