Enjoying the festive season

It is nine days to Christmas! The festive season  is the time we celebrate Christmas and the close of another year. For some of us this means party, party, party! Others feel rushed to meet work deadlines or complete plans for the Christmas holidays. It is the time of year when ‘moderation’ can seem out of place. I have five simple strategies to help you maintain your energy to enjoy the festivities and look after your total self.

1. Sleep

Depending on what time of day your celebrations and other commitments are occurring, your sleep time might be affected. We can manage a couple of late nights and shorter sleeps, but after a week we will be feeling TIRED. As you do with other important commitments, schedule sleep in your diary. This might mean an afternoon nap on a Saturday , a sleep in on Sunday morning or making the decision to leave an evening party by 10pm.

2. Meals and snacks

Festive food need not be unhealthy, but often snack foods are high in fat and salt, such as potato chips, roasted salted nuts and fried spring rolls. Better options are unsalted nuts and plain crackers with salsa and vegetable based dips. If you are dining at a café or restaurant choose lower fat meals such as grilled, steamed, baked or BBQ meat, chicken or fish rather than fried options. Also limit meals that come with creamy sauces.

3. Fresh fruit and vegetables

I encourage you to keep up your two serves of fruit per day and also your five or mores serves of vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide a range of nutrients and antioxidants as well as fibre. My clients always say “I feel better when I’m having my fruit and vegetables – I have more energy and I can think clearly’.

4. Sip and savour alcohol

If you drink alcohol then plan to sip and savour. Some Christmas parties go for several hours and we can lose count of the number of drinks that we have had. In the warmer weather we may drink more alcohol because we are thirsty. I recommend hydrating with water first to satisfy your thirst and then taking time to enjoy your drink of choice – savour the experience. I also suggest spacing your alcoholic drinks, for example have a glass of wine and then two mineral waters. If you are pouring your own wine you can choose the amount. Ideally plan for some alcohol free nights. If you have parties most nights of the week, then perhaps offer to be the driver one night and skip the alcohol. You and the others you drive will appreciate it.

5. Protection from the sun

Christmas functions may be held outdoors during the day, such as a picnic or BBQ. Even on cloudy days we can experience sunburn. Wear your sun protection cream and sun hat and choose a shady spot to sit. The combination of sun and alcohol in large amounts is not a pleasant experience and can be dangerous. Keep covered, sip and savour your alcohol and top up on water.

Christmas parties are a wonderful way to catch up and share with family, friends and colleagues. Enjoying the festive season doesn’t have to leave you feeling tired or exhausted. Plan ahead for sleep and fresh nutritious food. Keep well hydrated, monitor sun exposure and sip and savour your drinks.

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