Stay Healthy This Christmas

Christmas can be a difficult time of year to stay healthy.
Even if you’re not involved with Christmas from a celebratory point of view, the festive period brings with it increased exposure to delicious food, alcohol, public holidays and hopefully a lot of fun.
We get out of our routine, go on holidays and pretty quickly it's easy to spend the summer getting up later, enjoying lazy days at the beach, barbecues, later nights and increased consumption of more calorie-heavy drinks.

Just because it’s the summer/holiday period, it doesn’t means you need to lose all the hard work you’ve put in through the year and totally run off the bandwagon. But I do think that we all need a holiday sometimes and it’s important to embrace the fun times and enjoy yourself without too much burden. That’s why I follow a few of these ideas at varying times to keep me on track.

Pick your events

The holiday period can mean your calendar very quickly fills up with a lot of events. From staff Christmas parties, friend catch-ups, numerous summer food festivals that you might attend, family and friend barbecues and just endless events that are not your normal. You don’t have to attend them all, but if you do, pick out one a week that you might consider significant where if you want to let your hair down a bit more, make it at that one.

The others consider some planning around them. You will go for the social catch up and not just for the food and wine. Instead, opt to be a driver, or maybe you plan to eat salads or skip cake. This way you still attend and get the social buzz but not all the rest.

Make wise food and drink choices

Similar to the suggestion before, at your chosen event, enjoy the food, enjoy the drinks. At the other events you attend, consider your choices. You can make better choices by;
  • Portion control
  • Skip dessert
  • Aim to eat mostly salads and colour on your plate
  • Choose lean meats like seafood and chicken
  • Eat dip with vegetable sticks, not crackers
  • Allow yourself one plate of food and avoid any snacking
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Choose low-calorie drink options like soda water, calorie-free fizzy drink and red wine over white.

Keep moving

You don’t necessarily have to set that 5am alarm to get to the gym. Allow yourself a sleep in on your holidays. But it is still good to keep moving. Aim for exercise you want to do, not because you have to do it. This might be bushwalking with your friends, stand-up paddleboarding and swimming at the beach, go play a game of tennis or golf. These activities feel less like exercise and more like fun!

Get your sleep

Being social can quickly see a 10pm bedtime become 2am. We need our sleep, for recovery, energy, and to recharge. Our holidays are after all about coming back to a new year refreshed. If you continually allow late nights to happen, you won’t feel refreshed and you’re likely to become run down.

Reduce your stress

For many of us, work is a huge stress.Sometimes, family gatherings this time of year can also be very stressful. Try to reduce your stress here by thinking about what you can do to minimise it. Maybe who does what cooking on Christmas Day is a huge panic, try planning early and delegating the jobs so it doesn’t all land on you. If you are a stress head about work, chances are you still aren’t zoning out even away from the office. Turn off your work emails and have a few days to just not have a reminder in your face. Stress and your mental well-being is a huge factor for being healthy.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the fun and the hype of the summer break, and it’s great for the mind and well-being to make sure you’re having fun. But it’s equally important to allow yourself time to recharge, recover and make sure you look after yourself over the holiday period.

- Nicole Frain, St.LukesHealth Brand Ambassador
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