With December arriving so quickly the festive season is all around us. Follow these twelve top tips to stay healthy in the holiday season so you can reach New Year in your best state ever, without having to lock yourself away to keep out of temptations reach.
Research shows that the three biggest stresses for most people around Christmas are: weight gain from overindulging, financial strain from overspending, and anxiety from having to spend time with people they prefer to avoid.
According to a recent Australian study by Roy Morgan Research, around 60 per cent of Australians dislike Christmas shopping (I’m one!). But instead of devising a shopping strategy about 20% head out to shop without any plan of action, and most (75%) come home without buying anything at all.
Instead they DO get to stand in queues, hunt-the-parking-spot, surround themselves with crowds of stressed people and ramp up their own stress, frustration and anxiety levels.
12 Top Tips For A Happier Healthier Christmas
Use this list of Twelve Tips to enjoy Christmas this year, instead of simply surviving it.
Shopping – whether it is standing in long queues, finding space to park, or trying to hunt down a desperately desired gift, many people find Christmas shopping the most stressful part of the season. Wherever you go you will encounter tired, cross irritable people.
It is good to remember that stress and anxiety are quite normal at this time of year. When one family member is under stress, other family members are likely to feel stressed too, aggravating the situation and making life even more difficult for all.
There are many different natural ways to deal with the stress. The simplest of these is without a doubt the flower essence, Bach Rescue Remedy.
Rescue Remedy has been around for over 60 years and was created to help people cope with everyday stressful situations. Its effects are calming and centering. It is suitable for stressed children as well as adults. Carry some with you or keep it in the car so it’s handy when you need to de-stress.
Get it from the Health Food shop or your natural medicine practitioner. Keep one in your bag, your car or your office, so you have it on hand whenever you start to feel stressed. It is available in a number of different forms now – drops, spray, gum, cream, even pastilles and is easy to use. You can take it as often as you need.
This might seem a no-brainer, but it is one that is easy to forget. The reality is that dehydration is a greater problem when you are drinking alcohol. Have two glasses of water before you go to any function. Alternate alcoholic drinks with cool clear water or soda water when you are out socializing. Adding a slice of lemon or lime to the water is even better. Carry a water bottle when you are out shopping.
Remember to keep hydrated.
3. Family Conflict
Family tensions seem to surface at this time of year, especially if your relationships are a little strained normally. If you struggle to interact some of the family normally then Christmas is not likely to be any different.
Rather than self-medicating with alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs in order to cope, you can again use the Bach Rescue remedy to help you get through difficult events. If you are able to identify triggers for the conflict, and consciously avoid them you may find it easier to cope.
Christmas gatherings are frequently the place where family dynamics replay just as they existed back decades ago. It can be difficult to be treated as the vague child you once were, when you in your everyday life you are a capable, competent and responsible adult with many skills and abilities.
Involving the family in a group activity after lunch can help keep conflict at bay. Backyard cricket, swimming if you have a pool, or charades if the weather turns nasty, will help lighten the mood.
And if it is still too much, then politely but firmly decline invitations.
It is far too easy to lose sleep during December, with busy calendars, lots of socializing, and preparations for the big day. Aim to get seven to eight hours sleep each night.
We all know that sleep deprivation can cause foggy thinking, slow reactions and irritability. But insomnia can also increase your risk of depression and anxiety, or contribute to obesity. With stress and anxiety already a problem for many people adequate sleep is essential to help keep it at a minimum.
If you are tired, don’t go out. It won’t hurt to miss some parties.
There are a number of herbs that aid sleep. Lavender is very effective and can be used in the form of an essential oil in a burner or diffuser, in your bathwater, or in carrier oil rubbed on the skin. Chamomile, Californian Poppy, Passionflower or Hops are others to help insomnia. Many herbal formulations to aid sleep are available as teas and are simple and lovely in the evening before going to bed. Children can also drink many relaxing herbal teas such as Chamomile.
5. Avoiding weight blow-out
Going to parties hungry, anticipating lots of yummy Christmas treats is a recipe for disaster. When you are hungry it is difficult to resist eating anything offered to you and you are likely to overindulge.
Finger foods are high in kilojoules, as well as fat and sugar. Opt for low-joule options like vegetable crudités, hommus or fruit. Eating smart when you are out partying is the way to stay on top of excessive weight gain. Limit temptation by eating regular nutritious meals and avoiding Christmas goodies like chocolates, pudding and shortbread throughout the whole season.
Keep up your regular exercise program, and keep in mind it takes many hours of exercise to burn off the extra kilojoules gained at two or three parties.
Finding some ‘purpose’ to Christmas may be a way to help you cope better. There are plenty of ways in which you could volunteer your time. As well as benefiting others, contributing to your community may create feelings in you that make you feel happy. If you find experiencing Christmas Joy difficult this could be a way to get in touch with it again.
Credit card blowout in January can be devastating, often taking many months to pay off. Paying for gifts, as well as your celebrations, with cash means you will know whether you can afford the purchase or not, and avoid the financial headache in January.
Rationalize who you will buy gifts for and consider whether you can gift with your time, or something you have made yourself, instead if finances are tight.
If you are hosting the Christmas meal, avoid the temptation to over-cater. You don’t need more food than you would on any other day. You will be thanked when your guests do not feel awful after eating too much.
Incorporate the practice of mindful breathing into your daily habits every day through December, if you haven’t already. Simply spend thirty seconds to take slow deep breaths. Do this a few times a day. It is a great way to reduce stress. The simple relaxation technique of focusing on your breath helps to relieve tension and anxiety.
Alternatively you could meditate – there is no need to be scared of this, it is not about becoming a yogi, simply the practice of drawing focus and reducing stress. Here are some fun, light, easy ways to spend just a few minutes in meditation.
Christmas is about giving, but it is also the time to allow you to receive the gift of relaxation from yourself.
It’s easy to say take some time out for yourself but often we feel there is no time, especially in busy December. However setting aside a relaxing night in to create a home spa experience, followed by a good book or DVD and an early night, could be the answer to getting through Christmas and the New Year and soaring into the New Year.
Run yourself a soothing bath if you have a tub. If not sit yourself in a comfy chair with a relaxing foot bath and a ‘renew you’ herbal brew for about twenty minutes. Add essential oils to the water to help you relax. Follow with some nourishing cream on your skin before you curl with your book or movie.
10. Loss and loneliness
For many people the Christmas Season is one when feelings of loss for a loved one who has passed are magnified, especially as they are surrounded by others celebrating with their families.
For others who are single, whether they are young or elderly, it can be a time of great loneliness. Those far from home can feel overwhelming homesickness. When emotions become overwhelming Homeopathic remedies can be of great assistance. There are a number of excellent ones to help with grief, such as Ignatia, Nat-mur or Causticum. Homeopathic Nat-mur, Capsicum, Phos-ac or Ignatia are just some of dozens of remedies that help relieve homesickness. But Homeopathic Remedies need to be well matched to your own individual experience, or symptoms, of homesickness or loss, and this is best prescribed by a professional Homeopath, who takes many things into consideration before selecting the remedy best suited to you.
If you have decided to add purpose to your Christmas, including someone on their own, far from home in your celebrations is one way to achieve this.
11. Embrace your inner child
Children look forward to Christmas with enormous excitement. They pour love into cards and gifts made at school. They marvel at the Christmas tree and street lights, rip open presents, pop crackers and join in the traditions with absolute exuberance. They keep going all day because they stop before they have overeaten and don’t need to lie around to recover. They live every moment of the day before falling into bed at night to sleep soundly.
Approach Christmas with the resolve to have fun.
Start the practice of alcohol-free days each week.
Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Limit the number of drinks you consume and alternate them with water or soda water. Be aware that many restaurants use over-sized wine glasses that contain much more than normal serving sizes. Also watch out for top-ups.
Drinking alcohol in the evening interferes with sleep. While you may fall asleep easily, it leads to disturbed sleep later in the night, possible waking you for long periods, or leaving you exhausted in the morning.
If you do overdo it help reduce a hangover with Vitamin C on the day after and Vitamin B Complex both BEFORE and AFTER the big night. It’s a much better combo than Berocca and is minus the aspartame which Berocca contains.
Many people find Homeopathic Nux-vomica, taken in accordance with Homeopathic prescribing guidelines gets rid of the headache and nausea very quickly.
Chlorella has been shown in studies to reduce hangover by 96%. It’s a green sea algae and available from health food shops. Buy a reputable organic brand – very important!
Coconut water is rich in electrolytes to help cleanse and antioxidants. Drink it through the day before you head out as well as before you go to bed to help offset some of the damage caused by the alcohol.
Dandelion root tea helps detoxify the liver and can be drunk before you go out as well as the following day.
Very Important – What Not To Do
Finally these are some things that you should NOT do if you want to easily sail through into the New Year.
- Don’t start a new diet, there’s time for that later.
- Don’t add the expense of sending out cards to people you see all the time.
- If your kids are scared of Santa, don’t force them onto his lap just to get the cute picture.
- Remember, you don’t have to find the ‘perfect’ gift. Fundamentally a gift is a token that tells the recipient that you have had them in your thoughts, nothing more. It does NOT have to be big, or expensive, or just what they have always wanted. It is A TOKEN of the feelings from your heart.
- Do NOT stress about being the ‘perfect’ Mum, partner or friend – most people close to you will understand.
And finally don’t become a slave to any list – gift, card, menu, parties, or even this one. Stay flexible, honour what your body tells you is needed the most, and enjoy the Christmas Season.
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.
- The Twelve Days of Christmas (dorindaduclos.com)
- Stress – No thanks! Or Season’s Greetings! (yourlifesolutionsblog.wordpress.com)