Christmas is time to relax and enjoy the company of loved ones. It’s also a time of feasting and merriment. In traditional times when food was not so abundant, feasting meant fine meats, seasonal vegetables and traditional homemade puddings. Just having that was considered well off as being able to afford good food was not something everybody enjoyed.
These days we have an abundance of food. Year round we are overfed but often undernourished. Modern diets are usually high in sugar and refined carbohydrates while low in vital nutrients needed for good health. At Christmas, this goes into overdrive as we gorge on sweet things, alcohol, coffees and other treats.
If you’re anything like me there comes a point during Christmas where it starts to feel like too much. Too many parties, late nights, buckets of chocolates and my favourite mince pies, all take their toll on your health and state of well being. Christmas week draws on and the hangover intensifies.
You start to feel groggy, tired and not in the best form. You may find yourself looking forward to New Year’s, just one last party and then you can take a break, go on a detox and start to feel healthy again. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
On the other hand, you may be in a process of rebuilding your health. You may be overcoming a chronic condition that has been with you for a while and you’re wondering how you are going to get through Christmas without aggravating your condition and making it worse?
Here are 5 tips that will help you to feel well during the Christmas period. They will help you to minimise the damage and stay healthy while still having a great time. In fact, you’ll probably have a better time having little to no hangover and feeling well while still being in touch with the things that really make Christmas special.
Tip #1- Eat three proper meals per day.
Start the day with a good breakfast that you enjoy. Skipping breakfast or eating badly will set your blood sugar on a rollercoaster that will leave you craving sweet things and stimulants throughout the day. For the same reason, have a really good lunch and dinner. Aim for lower-carb meals. Lots of vegetables with protein and healthy fats keep you feeling satisfied for longer.
Having three good solid meals a day will fill you up with nutrients and keep your energy consistent so that you won’t depend on stimulants to pick you up. The people I meet with the worse energy levels are always meal-skippers. Bad energy levels are not just about feeling tired during the day, but also show up as not being able to sleep properly at night as well as low moods and crankiness.
Tip #2 – Make a plan for alcohol consumption.
Decide what your alcohol plan is going to be for events so you don’t end up missing out later on by being too hung over. If you’re looking for alcohol that has the least hangover effect, go for clear spirits. These are easiest on the liver and do the least upset to the digestive tract. Darker beers and wines tend to be harder on the liver and promote a hangover so you might want to limit these.
Take your time with alcohol and decide what your upper limit for the evening is going to be. If others try pushing it on you just say you’re here for the people. It’s always great having a good night out that you can remember the next morning!
Tip #3 – Bake your own sweeties
One lovely thing you can do for your family and guests is bake some of your own treats. Your body will thank you for it and everyone will feel so much better without the food hangovers. There are plenty of healthy recipes on the internet. I suggest looking for paleo treats and recipes as these use natural ingredients.
But you can actually take any recipe and make it healthy. Use Xylitol or Stevia as the Sweeter and use coconut or almond flour for anyone who is sensitive to gluten. So you can have a delicious chocolate cake without upsetting any one’s tummy or having the sugar crash later on. To make icing sugar just put xylitol in the blender to make it into a fine powder and get baking!
Tip# 4 – Put some movement into your day.
At Christmas, we can get stuck in front of the telly for hours on end which leads to stagnation. We need movement to circulate and detox and we feel so much better when we do. I suggest going for a brisk walk each day or even some stretching or deep breathing. Morning is a great time for this as you have been still all night. Movement gets the lymph following which carries toxins out of the body. This will improve your mood and help you to feel awake.
Tip# 5 – Stay Heart Centred.
Christmas can sometimes be a pressure cooker when there are lots of family present and lots going on. One advantage of not getting too toxic with food and drink is that it helps to keep emotions balanced and stress low. Still, things can take their toll so if you find things or people are getting on your nerves, get heart centred. Find some quiet space and take ten minutes. Put your hand on your heart and breathe regular breaths in and out of your heart area while focusing on a loving feeling such as forgiving the offender or even just peace and joy.
Being non-reactive can help to ease tensions as they arise. It does not mean you have to ignore bad behaviour but it does mean you can approach it from a heart centred space and speak without overreacting. Be ready to forgive and let go of little things as they come up.
Consciously appreciate the good things that come from Christmas get-togethers and in doing so you’ll help others to feel good too. Rather than a commercial Christmas of over-indulgence, why not have one of joy and goodwill? After all is not what Christmas is really all about?
So what do you think of these tips? Are they useful for you going into the holiday season? I’d like to hear from you. Let me know what works and how you keep well over the Christmas period.