For most people, the festive season is a time to indulge, making it difficult to stay healthy during the holiday season. As Christmas and New Year creep up on us, the perfect storm of too much food and not enough time to exercise hits us with full force. We then find ourselves a week into the new year, unable to do up our pants button, and wondering how we got here.
This year we have a few tips that will help you enjoy the holidays without sacrificing your health.
The holiday season can be exhausting. Between trying to wrap up loose ends at work, spending your free time Christmas shopping, wrapping, decorating, and cooking, and having to travel or entertain guests, the entire festive season can leave us worn out, to say the least.
Our first tip is to just get some rest. Between all the frantic running around, find some time for yourself. Don’t sacrifice on sleep either. The better rested you are, the healthier you will be and the more capable of facing the next day of holiday madness.
This is a simple one that is way too easy to forget about. With all the aforementioned running around, it’s easy to forget to stop and hydrate yourself. For us Australians, this can be particularly damaging, as Christmas happens to fall on one of the hottest days of the year.
Challenge yourself to carry around a litre water bottle with you at all times. It’s so important to keep hydrated in this heat, whether you’re running around a shopping centre, cooking in a hot kitchen, or doing absolutely nothing on the couch. Don’t underestimate how important drinking water is to stay healthy during the holiday season.
This is the big one. At Christmas and New Year, we all have a tendency to overeat on rich and sweet foods. This is what makes us feel sluggish and bloated during the festive season and leaves us with some extra padding in January.
The key is to avoid overeating by enjoying everything in moderation. Try to approach your holiday feasts not with the goal of eating everything in sight, but with the goal of trying and enjoying everything. By consciously changing your intention going into a meal, you can change the outcome of your meals. Instead of guzzling down food without thought, take your time to enjoy and appreciate everything on the plate.
This method means that you can still get enjoyment from the taste of your food while you stay healthy during the holiday season. The fact that you are eating slower by savouring it gives time for your stomach to send the ‘I’m full’ signal to your brain. This then avoids the way-too-full feeling you get when you eat a mountain of food in a short amount of time, resulting in you being out of action and on the couch for the rest of the day.
One of the hardest things to keep on top of during the holiday season is regular exercise. It often feels as if you just don’t have the time, or that you would be missing out on fun festivities if you went to the gym.
The reality is that regular exercise will only enhance your holidays by boosting your mood and giving you energy. Though you may not be able to fit in your usual workout, you can always find activities to do as a family, such as playing outdoor sports, going for a walk, or taking a trip to the beach. Though you may not consider these activities exercise, by approaching them with the intention to move your body you will be surprised at how much of a workout they can give you.
Instead of falling into the unhealthy holiday habits we have all set for ourselves, try to enforce some of these tips in your daily routine this festive season. You don’t have to be the perfect image of health, but remember that every little bit helps when it comes to maintaining your health over the holidays. Whether it be staying hydrated, getting another hour of sleep, saying no to the extra chocolate that will make you feel sick, or just going for a walk after dinner, these small changes can make a difference to your overall health and help you stay healthy during the holiday season.
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