Here are a few ideas to look after body and soul over the festive period. It’s not intended to be a checklist, as the most important thing is to find time to relax and enjoy the time you have with others (including your own company if you’re having a solo Christmas this year). Simply take what you need…
Ideally, stick to 3 meals for your festive celebration (see tip 3). However, if you do want to reach for a snack, make sure you have a stash of healthy options. Raw nuts and seeds, olives, and hummus with veg sticks are all good choices.
Top overnight oats with some delicious berries packed with phytonutrients to support your gut health. Or how about some protein-packed scrambled eggs with slices of avocado and smoked salmon on the side.
Apart from the impact on your weight, your digestive system needs a rest in between meals. Your gut lining has a cleaning system that only kicks in when the digestive tract is empty and stops when more food is consumed. If you’re eating constantly throughout the day, your gut doesn’t get a chance to recover.
When you sit down for your main Christmas meal, it’s a good idea when serving yourself to start with the vegetables. This way you can fill half your plate with veg before moving on to the rest of the festive food.
Go for a walk and take heed of the Scandinavian saying ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes’. So wrap up warm (and waterproofed) and head outside for some rejuvenating fresh air and exercise.
Drinking 6-8 glasses of water or cups of herbal teas throughout the day will be excellent for your digestive system. Hydrating with water and herbal teas will also be helpful as a balance to the diuretic effects of any alcoholic drinks.
If it all starts to feel too much, pause and take some time out for several deep breaths, releasing tension as you breathe out. Four-count breathing is a classic technique and consists of the following steps: breathe in for 4 counts, completely filling your lungs; hold your breath in for 4 counts; breathe out for 4 counts, emptying the lungs completely; hold your breath out for 4 counts.
I love truly seasonal fruit such as clementines, which show up in the shops at this time of year. Clementines along with their citrus sisters, tangerines, satsumas and oranges are all rich sources of vitamin C. We need this to support our immune systems. Vitamin C is also essential for collagen production and so is great for skin health too.
With all the stresses around Christmas preparations, you can start to feel less than sparkly. Try to get into a good sleep routine, and if you’ve never quite managed to have that relaxing bath you’ve been promising yourself, now is the time! Add in some Epsom salts and with the help of the magnesium they contain, let any stress melt away.