Christmas is around the corner and with it come Christmas markets, mulled wine, cookies and other sweets, end-of-year work parties, family gatherings. Sounds wonderful, right?
Yes, for the most part. But as much as we’re supposed to love this time of the year, many actually dread it, AND THAT'S OK. The Christmas holidays can be stressful: choosing the best gift, preparing the best meal, decorating with the finest garments, wearing the perfect holiday outfit. There is this idea that because it’s Christmas we *should* all of a sudden be joyful, happy and always available.
In terms of our health and lifestyle, the holidays can be quite a challenge too. Not only is it a time of many group meals that we didn’t prepare or choose to have, it’s also extremely busy. A lot of our energy is spent with people we wouldn’t necessarily spend our time with otherwise. We have even less time for self-care than usual. This is how we can end up eating or drinking too much and feeling mentally and physically drained by the end of the holidays.
Here are some ideas that might help you stay more balanced during this time:
Had a large meal and feel all bloated? Saw around 50 relatives who all asked you the same questions? Get moving! Go outside, and take a walk in the fresh air. A brisk 30-minute walk is just as much of a workout as any gym class. If you normally have an exercise programme and you are back home for Christmas, try to keep your routine up. Roll out your yoga mat for some stretches; use youtube for a 20minute workout. Planning ahead is key.
A good way to make sure you don’t overeat is to not go to a dinner party starving. Some people make the mistake of skipping lunch because they know they are invited for dinner, and they end up eating way too much. Have something healthy and light at home, like a salad. You’ll feel much better about indulging in the festive meals afterwards.
Also, eat when you’re hungry and try to do so mindfully. Do you love Christmas cookies? Savor them, instead of stuffing your mouth with them while talking about your horrible boss with the cousin you haven’t seen since last Christmas. Breathe before you put it in your mouth. Notice how it looks and how it feels in your mouth.
Running around from errands to shops to friend’s houses can leave us with no time to drink. Carry your water bottle with you, and make sure to sip throughout the day. This can help keep your stress levels down, and can keep sugar cravings at bay. Staying hydrated can be especially important if you drink a lot of alcohol.
Dreading meeting that person that you know will ask you upsetting questions? Take a few deep breaths beforehand. They can be extremely calming. I will be writing a separate blog post about the breath, a simple tool with incredible benefits. In the meantime, just try taking a few deep, belly breaths for one minute and notice how you feel afterwards.
Release your expectations
The holidays don't have to be perfect and you don't either. Adjust your expectations and be open to surprises- just because things didn't go as planned, it doesn't mean you can't still enjoy yourself. In addition, try to be realistic about the number of things you can get done/the people you can see during the holidays. Learn to say “no” to some invitations, without feeling guilty about disappointing the other party.
Some of these tips might resonate with you, others might seem extremely hard to apply. The best way to explore what would best work for you, is to book a session with me as your coach. Beautiful things happen when you spend a whole hour (or even better, several) being listened to and fully supported-could this be a gift you give to yourself?
Stay tuned for next week, as I will share some functional medicine-related books that would make great Christmas gifts.
This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.