The Christmas season is upon us!
Here’s our guide to thriving (and not just surviving) during the festive season!
Redefine your expectations
Christmas is one day in the year, and whilst we all want to have a good time, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your health or mental well-being. Some people find Christmas to be a stressful time, and it can help to lower the expectation bar and really simplify your holiday plans. Forget what everyone else around you is doing. If you want to say ‘no’ to parties and drinks with the neighbours, that’s very OK.
Don’t try to do everything yourself
In most households, the bulk of the Christmas organising, shopping, and cooking tends to be undertaken by one person- and if that’s you, it’s time to ask for (and accept) help.
Sometimes we set ridiculously high standards for how we want things to be, and it’s tempting to do it all yourself, so you can get it ‘just right’.
The reality is, no one minds (or even notices) if the majority of the dinner comes pre-made from the supermarket, or that you simply stuck a piece of holly on a pre-iced cake you bought last-minute. You don’t have to make cranberry sauce from scratch (unless you love to), and nobody needs to be force-fed with sprouts just because it’s Christmas.
Get family members (including kids) to lay and decorate the table, stack the dishwasher, pick up wrapping paper, and feed pets. Don’t be a perfectionist, and ask people who have finicky dietary requirements to bring a pre-prepared dish of ‘something they love’ that you can bang in the oven. You shouldn’t have to prep four different meals just because someone decides they’ve turned vegan that very week.
Manage your festive spending
Try to create a realistic budget. Spending time with people you love is more important than over-spending. Speak to friends and family about a no or token present exchange, or consider doing a Secret Santa, so everyone gets a gift, and you don’t have to buy twenty.
Getting enough sleep is your number one way to feel calm and happy during the festive period. Set a regular bedtime and remember that booze is likely to interfere with your quality of sleep. Teenagers may ‘need’ to stay up later, but it doesn’t mean you have to.
On Christmas day, the average person in the UK consumes around 5000 calories- twice the requirement for an adult male. Exercise will help to mitigate the calorie splurge, but also it will help you to sleep better, and feel brighter in your mood.
If at all possible, try to get out first thing in the morning (drag along the family dog, too), as morning exercise has been shown to reduce blood pressure, and reduce stress and anxiety. Exercise before noon also helps to banish food cravings, make better food choices during the day, and will burn more fat, when compared with exercising in the afternoon or morning.
Start your day’s eating with good intention
Christmas is a time for a little indulgence but help your weight (and your energy levels) on track by starting the day with a healthy breakfast. Microwave porridge, or berries with nuts and yoghurt can be thrown together in 3 minutes, and keep a stash of bananas and easy-to-peel satsumas for the kids. Don’t bulk-buy crisps and chocolates, as you’re likely to be polishing them off in the New Year, and put treats high up and out of sight, so you have to make a real effort to get to them.
Christmas is a time for celebration but over-indulging on booze will lead to a hangover, and sometimes a squabble with a family member. Try to stick to one type of drink, don’t drink more than one per hour, and alternate with water or a soft drink.
Champagne and white wine contain fewer of the chemicals that contribute to a hangover than red wine and darker alcoholic drinks, but nothing beats drinking in moderation and drinking plenty of water before bed, to ensure you don’t wake up with a pounding head.
Remember to breathe
If you find your patience wearing thin over Christmas, remember to breathe.
Before you blow your top 😤 at the in-laws, take yourself to a quiet space, and calm yourself by activating your parasympathetic system using the power of breath work.
Breathe in through your nose to the count of four, while gently pushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Hold your breath for seven seconds, and then slowly release your breath through your mouth to the count of eight seconds. Repeat until you feel yourself calming down and try to take a short walk outside at the first opportunity.
Look after your skin
The winter weather, central heating, and partying can take a toll on your skin, encouraging outbreaks and leaving it dry and sensitised. Do your very best to remove makeup before bed, and remember to still use SPF products (yes, even in winter). If your skin is being problematic, or you’d like a boost to be looking your very best, book in for a professional skin care appointment with us.
Schedule a health MOT for the New Year
Start 2024 with a health MOT to kick-start your wellness goals.
We can help you to optimise your health and spot problems before they become big issues, so book an appointment (and one for your loved one, too).
And finally, if you have children you’re concerned about, we’re open for appointments for them too – so book now and enjoy a fabulous, happy Christmas time!