It’s not just about weight gain and hangovers. Whilst the festive season can be a lot of fun, it can also place big demands on our energy reserves and our mental and emotional health; not to mention our poor old livers. ‘Health goals’ can be anything that you’ve been working towards this year: fitness, an improvement in a long-standing medical condition, improved well being and mental health and, of course, the old favourite: weight loss or maintenance. Here are some simple strategies that won’t have you missing out on the fun, but will help you to maintain your focus and resolve.
Remember your goals and remind yourself of why you set them in the first place. There is absolutely nothing more important than your health and well being. Without it, your ability to live fully and be who you hope to be for loved ones is compromised. What could be a better Christmas gift to your family and friends than a healthy you?
Don’t deprive yourself. There’s no surer way to ensure a binge session than deprivation. The festive season is meant to be a time of celebration and that tends to equal a greater intake of rich foods and sugary drinks (alcoholic or otherwise). It’s great to partake in the festivities, just try doing it mindfully. Most importantly, if you do overindulge – don’t waste energy feeling guilty about it; reset and move on.
Prioritise rest and rejuvenation. Sure partying is fun, but unless you’re under 25 it’s unlikely you can back up late night after late night after late night without ceasing to be a pleasure to be around. Our mental health is the first thing to suffer when we’re fatigued; negative feelings and lack of motivation creep in.
Delegate. If you’re hosting parties or the big Christmas lunch – you’re not superwoman/man! Ask people to bring plates to share. Take guests up on offers to help clear up. Many hands make light work and things are better when shared.
Visualise a successful outcome. Might sound a bit ‘woo-woo’ but it might be just what you need to give yourself the motivation to stick to your guns. Specifically: think about how you’ll feel if you leave before that last cocktail and go home to bed. Think about how you’ll feel if you stick to your routine and get out the door to exercise. Think about you’ll feel if you continue to prioritise you and your health. You get the picture.
This festive season enjoy yourself mindfully and think about the big picture. Prioritise yourself, your health and in doing so, your loved ones. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?