11 tips to stay healthy this Christmas

We all love the Christmas season but it’s no secret that it is not always easy to keep healthy over the festive period. We always eat too much and many end up putting on weight, we end up over indulging in drinks: mulled wine, Christmas cocktails. eggnog, champagne the works.

1. Drink more water

Stay hydrated. At the pharmacy everyone used to tell me they find it very difficult to drink water in winter and yes I can understand that but water helps our body and mind to keep functioning properly. So do your best to drink lots of fluids in the form of water, infused water like in my picture – you can add lemon; cucumber; mango; orange and blueberries like me or anything else that you might like or herbal teas. You will be surprised at how you can drink soo much more when the water is flavoured. Furthermore many people mistake thirst for hunger; when truly hydrated you won’t have false hunger & be more in touch with your natural hunger patterns (remember – ONLY eat when hungry!!). As an added benefit keeping your body hydrated will also have a direct impact on your skin – dehydrated body = dry, itchy skin while maintaining proper hydration will keep your skin smooth, supple and wrinkle free. (PS the straws are all re-usable) Having a clean environment means we will all be healthier.

2. Start your day with a healthy breakfast.

Always start your day with some healthy food – Whatever you think will keep you going for a few hours – whether it’s smoothie, whole grains bread (unprocessed is best), eggs, or a meal replacement shake. I love smoothie bowls – I make them a couple of times a week. The recipe to this healthy bowl is simple it contains Vanilla meal replacement powder, Spirulina, Almond milk, coconut and pineapple and it tastes delicious and keeps me healthy.

Health benefit – if we are going through busy times more than ever we need to fuel our bodies with the right nutrients. Setting a healthy intention each morning by eating a nutritious breakfast will set us off in the right direction of making healthier choices throughout the day and will get our body ready for action. No artificial sugars added will mean that you will be less tired throughout the day.

3. Take some “me-time”.

Be totally selfish, carve away a bit of time each day that is all about YOU. Read a book, go to the gym, do some yoga, meditate or for the ultimate luxury detox – take a long detox bath. Now I am sure you are all thinking ‘well its easy for you – you live alone and you can schedule me time easily’. But even I find it difficult sometimes. So for those busy parents or busy professionals schedule 45 minutes for yourself in 24 hours – ask your partner for support if you have kids or plan it directly before work or after work if work is super demanding. Trust me your mental health is something you need to actively take care of every day. I fired up my fire place and got to reading today with my healthy Christmas hot chocolate as a treat. Recipe in my ebook.

4. Make sure you are getting enough Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most overlooked salts. It plays a critical role in brain function and mood as well as energy levels. It helps improve concentration, endurance, it reduces the possibility of migraines and cluster headaches. It reduces PMS symptoms and cramps, it helps maintain a healthy blood pressure and can help in preventing bone loss in post menopausal women. It reduces the risk of developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome particularly in women who suffer from Poly Cystic Ovary syndrome. Over the Christmas period it will keep your brain sharp and reduce that feeling of tiredness after a long day of socialising.

I always like to start my day with a magnesium sachet mixed with 250ml water especially when I go to the gym early in the morning – that way i get my daily hydration and my magnesium intake out of the way first thing in the morning. If you are taking any other medication check with your doctor of pharmacist (or PM me) to check if you can take magnesium sachets with them but u can also get Magnesium from the foods I put together in this image:)

5. Be prepared

Take snacks with you to work – whether its an apple; a banana; an energy ball, a salad; some healthy whole grain crackers or if you feel left out when your colleagues are ordering food from take aways but you still want to indulge in something yummy you can get some ideas from my ebook ‘have yourself a very healthy Christmas’,

Healthy Christmas snacks

6. Eat Mindfully

Get your strategies in place to cope with festive temptation and have a happy, healthy Christmas.

-Plan ahead: Eating out later? Plan a day of smaller meals beforehand & avoid between-meal treats.

-Chocolate boxes: Never have more than one box of chocolates open at a time, keep unopened boxes out of sight.

-Buffet event: Do not hover by the buffet table. Make your selection then step away from the table. Think about what you’re putting on your plate – make it one portion and do not make repeat visits. Choose a smaller dessert-sized plate, and avoid the high saturated fat offerings like sausages and quiche; instead load up on fruit, skinless chicken and vegetables.

-At work: If everyone brings in Christmas goodies to share, make your contribution is festive fruits or one of my healthy energy bites.

– At the supermarket: Make a shopping list and stick to it. Avoid the aisles of temptation.

-Perfect portions. Even on Christmas Day, when turkey, mashed potatoes and cheeses are begging to be eaten, make sure vegetables take up one third of the space on your dinner plate. If you’re in charge of cooking, steam veg where possible or use only a small amount of water. Use the veg water for gravy and any leftover vegetables in a delicious soup to help fill you up and keep down the calorie count in the days after Christmas.

Eat Mindfully

7. Drink in Moderation

Party season is well and truly upon us and, for the majority, that will mean a lot of eating celebrating and – you guessed it – drinking.

And although there’s no reason you should be feeling guilty about over-indulging this Christmas (after all, a bit of a blowout every once in a while is actually good for you) it’s likely that back-to-back Christmas events will leave you feeling less than fresh before Christmas has even arrived.

So, while I’m never going to say a Christmas bender is ‘healthy’ (sorry), here are a few healthy habits that could help offset some of alcohol’s collateral damageand ensure you make it to the 25th December in one piece…

-Have a goal. This could be stopping drinking at a certain point in the night or aiming to only have alcohol at the weekend.

-Eat something. Food can slow down the rate that alcohol is absorbed into your system and you will avoid binging on alcohol. Before going out, eat a healthy meal with carbohydrate content to help prepare your stomach like a nice wholemeal chicken wrap.

-Downsize the supersize glasses. Opt for a small (125ml) glass rather than a large (250ml) one for wine.

Stop the top-ups. Stop topping up your glass before its empty. This can help you to keep track of how much you’ve had!

– After each glass of mulled wine have a glass of water to keep from getting dehydrated.

-After a long night out have a rehydration sachet mixed with 250ml of water before going to bed.

8. Stop Multi – tasking and breathe.

Do not do 10 things at once. If you feel stressed go slowly. End one thing and then start the next. You do not have to decorate the tree, tell a joke and cook dinner at once. Find moments in which your digital devices are secondary and give them a little break too. Find a few moments to just be still and breathe. Concentrate on the people that surround you in real life during Christmas time. Of course you do not have do completely abandon your phone, but maybe you can compromise on certain times to check your emails or the social web. Also the switch to flight mode is an easy option that gives you some off-time here and there.

9. Have a mindful Christmas

Christmas is one of the happiest times of year but with all the planning, spending & socialising – it can also be one of the most stressful .Here are some tips on relaxing techniques:

– Try mindful eating

You may find yourself constantly on your feet during the countdown to Christmas -Take regular breaks &tuck into your favourite healthy snacks to lower your stress levels.

-Practice ‘letting go’

Most of us find big crowds stressful, I know I do, the key to staying calm is to “let go” of any judgemental thoughts that pop into your head while you’re out and about.  Like, “I can’t stand crowds”, by being aware of the negative thoughts, you’ll stop them spiralling out of control.

-Deal with difficult emotions head on

Spending too much time with tricky in-laws, parents or siblings can bring all sorts of difficult emotions to the surface.  Is your mother-in-law interfering again? Or is your dad being overbearing? Identify any troublesome emotions by saying, “I have a sense of anger arising”, or “I can sense irritation.” This will help stop difficult emotions from going unchecked and a heated argument escalating.”

-Breathe

Navigating the manic Christmas crowds can quickly raise your stress levels. When you feel your heart-rate start to rise, breathe slowly.Get into the zone by focusing on your breathing. You’ll soon feel calm and collected, even in the midst of all the festive shopping frenzy.

– Listen to music that calms you down – it will help deal with traffic and all the Christmas shopping stress 🙂

Practice Mindfulness

10. Fit some exercise in

If you manage to find 30 minutes in a day to exercise it will make you feel so much better. Even if you go for a 30 minute power walk after dinner or download an app and do some scheduled workouts found on it at least you get moving 🙂 Endorphins are the best and most underrated natural anti depressant in the world.

Exercise

11. Get your 5 a day.

Let’s be honest, most of us get through the entire Christmas period eating no more fruit than what is found in Christmas sweets. It just doesn’t really feature on the Christmas menu all that much. But at this time of late nights, overindulging and partying, it’s more important than ever to get your vitamins and minerals, to help you stay in good health. Ensure that your Christmas shopping list enables you to fill up the fruit bowl and get your recommended daily portions of fruit and veg. (And no, mulled wine doesn’t count as one portion!) (The straws are reusable – always use reusable or recyclable materials)

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