Finding balance over Christmas can be a challenge. The Christmas period is fun but can be highly stressful. With last-minute shopping, increased traffic and rushing to finish work – the negatives vs multiple late nights with alcohol and the office becoming a mecca for chocolate and mince pies, there’s a lot to consider. Balance can be lost over this time, leading you to feel more tired and less like yourself by the end of it.
We all need to let our hair down and have fun this festive period. It’s a great time to treat yourself and take some well-deserved R&R, but make sure you don’t lose sight of your overall goals. If you’ve been spending months working on improving your health or are feeling motivated to get started on a new routine, it would be a real shame to undo the progress you have made.
Here are our top tips for being merry, healthy and wise this Christmas.
Adapt your usual training routine
This way you won’t make promises to yourself you won’t keep and will continue to feel motivated to stick to your more flexible routine. If you usually work out 3 times a week, maybe switch up the kind of training you do so you can schedule it around family gatherings and events.
Try and set aside 15 minutes a day to move, especially on days you’re not getting in a gym session. A short online workout, brisk walk or quick set of 20 reps (say pushups, squats and situps) first thing in the morning or during a work break to raise your heart rate regularly, helping keep your mind healthy.
Get everyone involved
Get moving together! Schedule a long walk and catch up with friends or relatives on the phone or in person. Go for a boxing day (or the day after) walk or run with your partner to brush off the sluggishness of Christmas day and enjoy the crisp, fresh winter air can help you find balance over Christmas.
Drink plenty of water. Not only is hydration vital to help manage those dreaded hangovers but it also helps your digestion, especially important at a time when you’ll be enjoying a wider variety of treats and keeping warm with drying indoor heating.
Get in a good breakfast. A healthy and balanced breakfast will help you pack in some much-needed nutrients. If you’re after a warm breakfast try some porridge or an omelette. If that doesn’t take your fancy, how about some natural yoghurt and fruit?
Choose your tipples wisely. You might want to take a break from drinking or cut down a bit if you’ve been drinking more than usual this time of year, and no one likes a hangover anyway. Why not try a wine spritzer for something lighter or experiment with mocktails? You could challenge your friends to a mocktail-making night or create a DIY ‘me time’ Christmas gift with a recipe and bath bomb for a loved one who deserves it.
Have some ‘me-time’
Kick back a little. Christmas and the run-up to the main event can be hugely stressful with a lot of planning so it’s important for both our mental and physical wellbeing to take time out. Eat leftover turkey, check. Playing a board game, check. Snooze on the sofa, check. Do what makes you feel happy and relaxed.
Get plenty of Zs. Sleep is essential for our mind and body, helping us to rest and recover from whatever life throws at us. Getting plenty of sleep also helps keep the stress hormone cortisol in check which should help your body recover from any exercise you do fit in, and help you feel zen about all that pre-Christmas prep.
Play some games
Spend quality time having fun as a family that gets you up off the sofa. Video games like Just Dance, Wii Sports or Ring Fit Adventure will have you showing off your best moves, whilst even good old-fashioned charades will have you jumping up and down or flailing about. Exercise that doesn’t feel like working out will leave you feeling refreshed and stress-free, genius!
Don’t forget the vegetables
Fill up on veggies. Loading your plate with greens is an easy way to reduce the impact of a proper Christmas sugar crash while reducing hunger later on in the day. This tip is also a double whammy as you will cram in plenty of essential vitamins and minerals, vital for maintaining a healthy immune system which can come under attack at this time of year.
The festive season is a time when we get to enjoy being around family and friends. Celebrate, have fun at parties and stick to the goals that make you feel your best during this time.