Top Health Tips to help you survive the festive season

Christmas is a very busy time for most people and it’s so easy to get burnt out before the big day arrives. We all do it, every year, and we promise ourselves that next year we won’t overdo things. Well, here are my top tips on how to do ensure that you have a stress free, calm and healthy lead up to Christmas.

Manage your own expectations and of those around you, so that you don’t take everything on yourself and become totally overwhelmed. So, with that in mind, get your partner to help you and remember you are allowed to say no to things. You are definitely not boring if you don’t go to every party so I suggest you are selective in what you say yes to!

Planning - its all in the planning. Spend some time planning your meals and jobs to do for the festive period. If you are having family to stay, when they offer to help, ask them to bring something to contribute towards a meal to help share the load.

Not food related but, if you are able, start ordering your Christmas presents early to avoid a last minute panic. And it’s important to manage your stress levels because, when we’re stressed, our brains release cortisol, a stress hormone which suppresses melatonin (sleep hormone) so this does not help us to sleep well. We need all the help we can in terms of easing the load whilst you may be having less sleep and parties going on!

The holiday period is a social time and its important that you enjoy yourself, it’s not a time for denial.  However, don’t use that as a licence to eat everything you are offered all the time. It is possible to maintain some level of balance and you don’t have to take every drink or piece of food that comes your way!

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During Christmas week:

  • Start the day with a nutritious breakfast - this is really key as it sets you on a healthy path as well as being a good pick me up from the night before!

  • FRUIT & VEG - keep your vegetable intake high as they will keep your digestion healthy as well as filling you up more and you will eat less of the foods that may be more calorific

  • KEEP HYDRATED -  adequate hydration is especially important when you are drinking alcohol

  • ALCOHOL - Drink alcohol in moderation and ideally have a glass of water for each alcoholic drink you may have. Also, alcohol affects the deep stages of sleep and lowers your immunity

  • If you are drinking alcohol consider taking milk thistle to help support your liver

  • EXERCISE - as exercise will help to flush any toxins out of the body and clear the mind. As time is often limited, you only need 15 minutes to do a quick indoor circuit or you can go for long walk with the family or a gentle jog around the park and benefit from getting outdoors

  • SLEEP - make sure you get enough sleep and make sure you are home for one or two evenings each week during the party season so that you can have an early night. You don’t get a medal for staying up all hours and running yourself into the ground!

Before heading out on a night out:

  • Ensure you are fully hydrated

  • Have a 30 minute max power nap during the day to prepare you for a big night out

  • Eat a nutrient dense snack

  • Dance the night away - it’s a workout!

After a boozy night:

  1. Drink a pint of water and take some vitamin C before heading to bed

  2. For breakfast, eat eggs or oats as they contain the amino acid cysteine which helps break down acetaldehyde, the chemical that causes hangovers

  3. Eat a banana with your breakfast as the potassium content will help to replace your electrolyte stores

  4. Get moving/exercise -  as this will help to offset some of the negative effects of alcohol but take it steady

Evening after:

  1. Epsom salt baths - will help you sleep like a baby and will ease any aches and pains caused by too much dancing! Also, a great detoxifier as it draws toxins out of the body

  2. Get to bed early, with a cup of cocoa, or cinnamon and honey. Your body will really thank you for it.

Sleep, healthy food, plenty of water and exercise are KEY to you feeling fit and well.

And finally, have a wonderful Christmas time and enjoy yourself!