Christmas. Without fail, a season of overdoing it. Too much booze, too much food, too little sleep, too many rubbish songs, enforced family fun. But it is possible to survive and even thrive over the next couple of weeks so you can see in January without the mother of all hangovers.
No-one enjoys getting up in the cold dark mornings to work out but exercise, in any form, boosts your mood and will stop the worst effects of those extra mince pies. You don’t suddenly have to start running 5 miles before breakfast every day either, just incorporate a bit of movement and fresh air into your day. Meeting a friend for coffee? Go for a walk instead (and maybe get the coffee to go with you). Drag your family off the sofa on Christmas Day and go for a walk together. Turn up for those drinks fashionably late, having made some time to go to a yoga class. Your mind, and your waistline, will thank you for it.
eat and drink healthily where you can
This is a hard one – I am totally addicted to my mum’s mince pies and can eat an entire tray in one go if so inclined. And no doubt I will! But I will also try to make healthy choices along the way. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water every day – staying hydrated is key to warding off those hangovers – and keep eating your veggies. Go ahead and indulge but make sure you’re still giving your body the nutrients it needs to get you through to the new year.
Make time for yourself
It’s so easy to be busy being busy during the holidays and if you’re an introvert, like me, it can all get a bit overwhelming. So make sure you schedule some time every day to just check in with yourself. Go for a run (see the point above), have a bath or a long shower, block out the time when your favourite film is on TV (I have already told my family that I will be unavailable for a couple of hours on Christmas Eve because the Muppet Christmas Carol is on – it’s not Christmas until I’ve watched this movie!). Whatever it is, make it a priority, enjoy the time, and then throw yourself back into the festivities.
Live in the moment
This is a recurring theme for me at the moment but I would urge you to be present in whatever you are doing this Christmas. Give it your full attention. Don’t be distracted by what happened yesterday or what you’re going to buy your sister. Notice what is going on around you, use all of your senses, notice you feel about it. Not only will this help you recognised when you’re actually feeling full so saying no to a fourth helping of mashed potatoes, but you will find that you enjoy the moments more – and if you’re not, acknowledge the feeling, recognise why and ask yourself what you can do differently.
It’s too easy in this season of abundance to forget how lucky you are. As you’re checking in with yourself, take a moment to be thankful for all of the blessings in your life.
Time off work, the perfect excuse to spend time with friends and family, presents…there are so many reasons to enjoy Christmas (it’s not even my favourite time of year) so go out there and enjoy it. Laugh, love and live – you only get one shot at this.