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Tips for a Healthy Happy Festive Season

It’s Christmas, the shops are bulging with all things nice and temptation to avail of the bumper packs, two for one and buy one get one free offers are so hard resist. And that’s just the food and alcohol! Add in the pressure to have a showroom perfect house with themed decorations, enough lights to be visible from the moon and a mountain of beautifully wrapped gifts, plus end of year work deadlines, and the stress levels begin to rise and panic sets in.

It’s easier sometimes to just go with it and deal with the fall out in January – also known as the January blues. This year take a few steps to minimise those feelings and face into the New Year with a bounce and a smile instead.

Food

It’s so easy to overeat over Christmas, there are boxes of chocolates and biscuits in the office, lunches and dinners out and at home we tend to stock up on tasty treats because “hey it’s Christmas”! And yes, we do all deserve to overdo it a little but the key message here is MODERATION.  Instead of saying yes to everything, and mindlessly dipping into the bowls of crisps, sweets, picking off the plates of nibbles and having that extra mince pie – STOP! Think about what you are eating, enjoy and savour it and then step away.  There are usually some healthy options too, try a few and surprise yourself on how tasty they can be, replenishing your vitamin and mineral levels at the same time.

Food is fuel – the cleaner and purer the more efficient and stronger the body!

Exercise

Running around the shops, traipsing around town and decorating the house is often all the exercise many of us get at Christmas. And yes, it does count but keeping active and getting some fresh air has a huge impact on balancing stress levels and keeping the extra inches at bay.  A brisk walk after a big meal is a great way to keep energised and if you have a current exercise routine don’t put it on hold altogether for the month of December.

Stick with it as much as possible and come January the thought of going back to the gym, hitting the pavements or signing back up for that Pilates class will not hurt as much.  It’s a great way to get together with friends and family too, organise a hike and a picnic, a turkey sandwich eaten at the top of a mountain cannot be beaten.  And for the really brave and bold a dip in the sea will put a skip in anyone’s step – just be careful!

A fit and active body is one that is truly alive!

Stress

The end of the year can be a hugely stressful time in any work environment. With deadlines, targets, planning and budgets all top of the agenda the pressure can be at boiling point.  Take stock, prioritise and manage your time efficiently. Plan your day and stick with that plan as best you can. Be realistic in what you can achieve and be open with your colleagues and managers on your manageable goals.

The same applies for stress at home, financially Christmas can add huge strain so be realistic and don’t spend what you don’t have. Easy to say, but by planning early, taking advantage of offers, pre-Christmas sales and not leaving everything to the last minute you can avoid getting into debt and spending January worrying about bills and expenses.

Take stock, be realistic and plan for a stress-free time.

Alcohol

Mulled wine, bubbles, cocktails and sherry it’s hard to avoid a tipple or two and get a bit merry. Family gatherings and meeting up with friends there’s usually some alcohol on offer and given the festive spirit, well why not!! But being mindful of what you are drinking is the key to minding yourself. No one enjoys hangovers and that feeling of dread after one too many and if you are already feeling stressed or a little bit low those feelings are magnified and come become overwhelming.

Follow the tips of never drinking on an empty stomach (hard to do over Christmas); pace yourself, drink plenty of water and try not to mix your drinks too much. Be aware of how much you are drinking, don’t top up, finish your glass first otherwise you really have no idea how much you have drunk. And remember it is ok to say NO! Your friends and family will be jealous of your clear head the next day.

Have a tipple and be merry just don’t over-do it on the Sherry!

And lastly be mindful of others. Christmas can be a difficult time for many people, if you know someone is feeling low, lonely or stressed reach out to them. Volunteer to help out at a local centre, fund raising or simply to do a bit of shopping for a neighbour – it will make their day and make you feel good too.

Enjoy, be kind, be safe and be healthy… Happy Christmas!

Ingrid O’Sullivan, Operations Manager

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