December can be a wonderfully cosy time of year with religious festivals and the winter solstice providing opportunities for both conviviality and reflection. Scheduling time to come together for feasting and fun is something that is embedded in religions and cultures across the globe. However, it can become emotionally charged with unusual amounts of time spent with family and loved ones in crowded spaces and high expectations. The combination of emotional stress and too much rich food and drink can take its toll on physical and emotional well being. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the festive season without sabotaging your health or your relationships.
- Enjoy everything, but think moderation – Eat mindfully and savour every bite. That way you’ll be less likely to over do it and suffer the consequences later on.
- Load up on vegetables – most meals around Christmas have a combination of healthy and less healthy components but vegetables usually feature. So choose wisely and max out on the veg!
- Be prepared – More than at any other time of year, at Christmas the social pressure to consume is at its peak. Stock up on healthier alternatives including nuts, seeds, dried fruits, vegan mince pies, healthy snack bars, trail mixes, raw cacao, fruit punch, fruit and vegetable juices, sparkling water and coconut water.
- Stay hydrated – water, coconut water, herbal teas and vegetable juices are all good ways to hydrate the body. Dilute alcoholic drinks with sparkling water. Fennel, peppermint and ginger teas are good for digestion. Lemon balm and chamomile are calming.
- Get physical – even if you can’t maintain your usual exercise routine aim to get some physical activity every day. Go for a walk, dance, cycle to see friends, do some yoga or play physical games. You’ll burn off calories and the endorphins will leave you feeling energised and happier.
- Take time out – A daily meditation practice can help to keep things in perspective and leave you better able to deal with all that life throws at you. Take a few minutes each day to focus on your breathing. If you become aware that thoughts are coming up let them go and return to the breath.
- Gratitude – take some time to feel gratitude for the year that has passed, the people in your life, your work, your home and your health. Think about what you have learned about life, love, work and relationships and how your experiences might guide you in the future. Reflect on what you would like for the year ahead and the steps you might take to manifest your dreams.