Most of us would like a have a month off just to plan and organise Christmas for our families and friends. It can feel like working double shifts for the whole of December, especially if you have a full-time job and family responsibilities too. There are a host of extra tasks and activities; gift buying and wrapping, food shopping, cooking, preparing for guests to visit, card writing, decorations, drinks parties and dinners, client entertainment, visits to friends and family whom you won’t be seeing on the big day and your normal day job too!
It’s easy to just push through dreaming of a perfect holiday when you’ll catch up with your sleep and enjoy lots of relaxation time. However what often happens is that after Christmas Day, we collapse with exhaustion, feel run down, catch a cold and generally feel awful.
There are a few simple things you may choose to do to look after yourself in the run up to the festive season.
- Eat quality food – avoid junk food, processed foods, and highly refined foods like white pasta, white bread, sugar, cakes and pastries. Choose organic, fresh, unprocessed foods. Base your meals on lean protein (red meat, poultry, eggs, oily or white fish, tofu, beans or legumes, nuts, seeds) and complex carbohydrates (whole grains) with small portions of starchy vegetables (sweet potato, beetroot, squash, pumpkin), and get good fats from oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds and cook with coconut oil and dress salads and vegetables with olive oil or flax oil. If you’d like some inspiration for healthy fast food check out my free eBook Quick Kitchen Supper Dishes (click on the image to access the ebook or go to https://www.thehealthheroine.com/the-health-heroine-free-gift/).
- Eat regularly – don’t go for hours without eating, try to time your meals approximately 4 -5 hours apart and if you need to add in a protein based snack. It’s important to keep your blood sugar levels balanced so that your energy levels are even throughout the day, and you’re not tempted to choose sugary snacks because you’ve delayed a meal.
- Choose foods to support your adrenal glands – stress often depletes the body’s store of Vitamin C, B, and Magnesium. Stress also suppresses the immune system leaving your susceptible to infections. Eating a rainbow of vegetables is an easy guideline to follow. Eating lots of dark green leafy vegetables, and a handful of nuts and seeds and some whole grains every day will help support your nutrient status.
- Keep hydrated – carry a bottle of water with you and sip throughout the day, especially on those long shopping trips. Drink plenty of water before you go to a party and always have a glass of water alongside your favourite alcoholic drink.
- Alcohol – it’s fun and enjoyable to have a celebratory drink or two or three(!!!), but remember to schedule some alcohol free days too. There’s little chance of sparkly eyes and clear skin, if you have alcohol every day in December. Alcohol every day will take a toll on how you look and feel.
- Time out! Just 15 minutes of quiet YOU time will help to reduce the stress levels. It may be that you sit quietly with a cup of herbal tea, or take a gentle walk around the block, or lock yourself in the bathroom, if that’s the only place people can’t get you! Breathe deeply, calm down. Listen to a guided meditation, or some soothing music on your phone or iPod. Do this a couple of times a day or access it when you feel hyped.
- Sleep – by now you’re probably thinking ‘there’s no way I can do all this, organise Christmas and get an early night’. However gifting yourself an opportunity to sleep well will help you feel energised in the morning. Start by setting some boundaries around when you stop ‘doing’ in the evenings. 9pm or 10pm watershed for phones, technology and Christmas preparations. This will allow you time to relax, to get ready for bed, and to have a blissful restful sleep.
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