The festive season is a chance to eat, drink and be merry. A time to enjoy a bit of guilt- free indulgence, let our hair down and have fun after a year of working hard. However it’s still our responsibility to look after ourselves, and it’s important to find the balance so we’re not causing ourselves any health issues in the process. It is possible to still have fun and indulge over the party season without going completely overboard, here are a few things to bear in mind.
In December it’s easy to have the mentality, ‘it’s ok, it’s Christmas!’ But if you’re shovelling away excessive food and treats from December 1st, not only will you gain weight but you also won’t enjoy it as much closer to the big event. It makes sense to maintain your regular diet, watching what you eat and being mindful of fat and calories up until at least mid December. That way when you do indulge, it’s for less time and will likely mean less weight gain. Any days between the tasty Christmas meals, buffets at parties and family sized boxes of chocolates being passed around, you could make a conscious effort to eat a little lighter. Again you’ll enjoy the festive meals much more and it will help to keep down your calorie consumption overall.
Hand in hand with diet is exercise, don’t give up your fitness routine with the attitude ‘I’ll workout again in January’. Now is the best time to be sticking with it, if anything you should be pushing yourself harder to help counteract the extra calories. Gyms are generally pretty quiet this time of year, pop in three times a week and go for the burn. You’ll still be in the swing of it for your new year’s health kick and you will help to minimise any damage caused by over indulging!
Even if you’re not a big drinker throughout the year, chances are you’ll have a number of drinks over the festive period. Whether it’s a warming glass of Baileys hot chocolate or mulled wine, or some glasses of champagne to toast with at Christmas dinner, it’s a time of year where the booze is flowing. If you know you have a tendency to go overboard, it can be worth setting a limit on the drinks you allow yourself, or asking a sober friend to let you know when you appear to have had enough. You don’t need to have a full on alcohol addiction to have a problem with it, binge drinking is also extremely damaging. It’s easy to do at this time of year so is something to be mindful of. Another thing to be aware of in December is that the rates of drink drivers increase. Avoid walking around at nighttime if you can help it since this is the time you’d most likely be hit. And certainly don’t consider driving yourself if you have touched any alcohol.
Finally, sleep is absolutely vital to our health and Christmas is a time of year when you might be getting less of it than you need. Late nights from Christmas parties, travel, getting up early because you’re busy and have things to prepare ready for the big day. It can all take its toll. Plus, when we’re off work it can be easy to fall into a habit of going to bed later. Try and keep a good sleep routine in December, set a bedtime and aim to be asleep before midnight at the latest.