I always find that this time of year makes me cringe – on one hand, it is nice to have children home for school holidays (no making lunches, checking homework and all those other tasks that seem to rule our lives during term) but also it is just a plain hectic time of year. By the time Santa arrives, the year has taken its toll - our energy reserves are depleted, and our nerves are hanging by a thread.
Despite the busyness of Christmas time (in fact, precisely BECAUSE of the busyness of Christmas time), it is important to make sure we take a bit of time to look after our own wellbeing, so that we can enjoy it to the full. Personally, I want to end the year on a high note, not feeling like I need to catch up on sleep for a week!
Christmas can become an excuse to ‘go nuts’ (in more ways than one!). But there are ways you can enjoy socialising, relaxing with friends and eating tasty food, whilst avoiding that sluggish feeling.
Here are a few tips for surviving the silly season:
- I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – you are what you mostly eat. The 80/20 rule is the way to go. Eat well 80% of the time, and what you like the other 20%. There is no need to deprive yourself of a few Christmas goodies, or be a Nigel No-Fun, but keep treats under the 20% mark. Focus on nourishing your body the other 80% of the time, so that you can enjoy the other 20% guilt-free.
- Factor a little time in for some R&R. Yes, I know – impossible at this time of year, right? But you can’t look after others if you aren’t looking after yourself. Give yourself permission to schedule some down time so that you can take the pace down a notch in order to recharge your batteries. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to be planned and prioritised. Take a walk in the park, go for a Sunday drive, play with your kids or pet, or take an aromatherapy bubble bath (Lavender, Neroli and Basil essential oils can help you relax).
- If you have a busy social period coming up, try to go easy on the alcohol. Having too much alcohol will make you dehydrated, and will speed up the excretion of valuable nutrients such as B-vitamins and magnesium - which won’t help your energy levels, and will leave you feeling blah. If you choose to drink, try having a refreshing white wine spritzer with sparkling mineral water, so that your alcohol intake is slowed, and you stay hydrated at the same time. Organic wine (preferably low-sulphite) that has been made from grapes that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides is best.
- Food-wise, there are some great options at this time of year that are both delicious and nourishing. Think barbecued prawn skewers, grilled chicken salads, avocado, mango, stonefruit, fruit smoothies, raw nut nibble mixes, etc. Use fresh herbs, garlic etc to spice things up and add extra zing to your meals. These will all help to keep you energized for this busy period.
- Try to increase your intake of B-vitamins. The B-vitamins are needed in greater quantities when we are stressed, taking certain pharmaceutical medications (such as the Pill) or drinking alcohol. Increase your intake of green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, and raw nuts and seeds, as these are all good sources of B-vitamins. It can also be a good idea to take a practitioner-strength vitamin supplement at this time, to help make sure you are meeting your needs.
- Increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium is ‘food for the nerves’, and our nerves are often frayed at this time of year. Quality protein such as chicken, dark chocolate, and raw nuts and seeds are a great source of magnesium.