We all love Christmas and look forward to the food, drink and the relaxing time spent with family and friends. However, how many Christmas’s have you had where you feel bloated, sluggish and let’s put it bluntly, fat, by the time it’s New Year’s Day? I imagine the answer is yes for most people and by the time January comes you feel you need to go on a drastic detox and hit the gym hard. Well, it does not have to be like this. You can have your mince pies and mulled wine, but feel healthy and energised by the end of it all.
If you follow these 5 simple tips you can make the most of your Christmas holidays and come back feeling totally energised and recuperated. Print this out and stick it on the fridge to remind you to take care for you and your body everyday.
Your body is primarily made of water and if your body becomes de-hydrated you will not be feeling the best you can – fact. Lack of water can result in prolonged headaches, tiredness and increase your food consumption. Do not forget that once you actually feel thirsty, this is the sign that you are already de-hydrated. You want to try and prevent this from happening by having regular drinks or sips of water every 30-60 minutes, and in total should drink 2-3 litres every day (more if you exercise). To help you achieve this, mix up your drinks with hot teas (normal or herbal), ice cold squashes, hot or cold water with sliced lemon, fresh mint leaves and chopped ginger. Another good tip is to buy a nice water bottle with an inbuilt filter e.g. Bobble water bottle, which should help to remind you to put it in your bag wherever you go. This also helps to monitor how much water you have drunk in one day. Seriously, hydration is absolutely key in helping you feel great. Do not forget that for every mulled wine you have, you should match this with a glass of water to prevent dehydration and hangovers!
Now please do not think I am advising you to exercise every single day as I know that is not realistic for most people. However, I am recommending you include movement into your daily escapades. Get wrapped up warm and why not embrace the winter mornings or beautiful afternoons when you would normally be at work? This could be by putting your walking boots on and going for a relaxed country walk, it could be a brisk stroll or cycle to the shops and back for your milk and bread instead of hopping in the car. The main thing is to try and incorporate movement on the days you do not intend to build up a real sweat. Mix up your exercise regime over the holidays. Go for a run around the park one day, visit the gym when it is nice and quiet, then practise a bit of Yoga in the comfort of your own home. Look upon these sessions as an opportunity for you to be alone or quality time with a great mate.
With all the food around at Christmas it can be very easy to forget about basic fruit and veg (apart from the veg on your Christmas dinner!). No matter what else you may consume that day, there is no reason to cut out regular fruit and vegetable portions. Try and stick to having fruit as mid-morning and afternoon snacks, and make sure to include some vegetables with your lunch and dinner. By keeping your regular in-take of vitamins and minerals, you will be less likely to catch a cold or feel run down even if there area a few late nights!
4. Catch up on sleep
Sleep is the time where your body recuperates and your brain digests information it has been exposed to. I am a big believer in sleep. It not only helps you looking revitalised, it aids the body’s restoration process after exercise helping you to shape your body and it also allows the brain to organise it’s self effecting everything from emotions to memory retention, creativity to attention span. If you are not able to get a solid 7 – 9 hours sleep why not include a short power nap in the afternoon when you feel tired? Trust me, after 5 nights of decent sleep you will feel a million dollars!
Take only 5 minutes out of your day to be on your own. During this time, lie down either on the floor or bed and focus on your breathing. Simply observe your breathing pattern and depth. Try and stay present in this (i.e. do not fall asleep!), but completely focus on your breathing acknowledging thoughts as they come into the mind, but choosing to let them pass as you focus purely on your breath. If you practise Yoga or Pilates this will be nothing new, but making this a part of your daily routine over the holidays will help to de-stress, re-focus and broaden your horizons.
I know some of you will have young families meaning time is still pressured, however use what little time you have to implement as many of these tips as you can. Run with what ever works for you during your Christmas break and ENJOY!!