Surviving Christmas with your health intact - Mums NI - A Hub For Parents in Northern Ireland

Surviving Christmas with your health intact

Claire Feldman
Written by Claire Feldman on Monday, 19 November 2018 Posted in: Mums Health

Surviving Christmas with your health intact

I don’t know about you but it feels like literally the second Halloween half term is over, Christmas panic kicks in.  I drove past a house in my area on the 1st November that had its Christmas decorations up.  It didn’t make me feel festive at all, much more NO NO NO, than HO HO HO!

When did Christmas celebrations begin in November?  I don’t seem to remember the hysteria around Christmas lasting so long when I was a child and it certainly didn’t feel as stressful as it does now.

It seems like our expectations of what Christmas should be like have become ever greater and more unrealistic and can often have a lasting effect on not only our bank balance but our physical and mental health.  For many of us, life is not like the John Lewis advert but yet our belief is that the holiday season must be filled with only great tidings and joy.

Please don’t misunderstand me and I don’t mean to sound so humbug because I do LOVE Christmas however in previous years, I have found that by the time festivities are over and January arrives, I have felt like I have been put through the ringer and hung out to dry.  Clothes have felt tighter, energy levels low, I have felt lethargic and generally unmotivated.

This year, I shall be approaching the festivities differently and thought I would share with you my suggestions on how to survive Christmas with your health intact.

1. Be ruthless with your party invitations

Do you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and so accept every invitation you receive?  Reflect on how much time and money you have spent on nights out or events that you haven’t particularly enjoyed.  If Christmas time is truly about spending time with the ones you love, then choose to spend it with those you really value and make you feel good to be around.

2. Be mindful of the  “awk sure it’s Christmas” excuse

The Christmas holidays are officially only a few days but you might find that the tins of Quality street are opened from November because “sure, it’s nearly Christmas!”.  

Nope, it is not.  

Try to reserve to all the little extras like mince pies, chocolates and cake for the official holiday days, then re-gift all the surplus to avoid the inevitable desire to eat it all before the big January diet.

3. Don’t skip meals to save on calories

If you have a big party coming up in the evening the temptation to skip meals during the day to save room for your turkey dinner with all the trimmings is understandable.  

The problem with this tactic is that with no food in your stomach, after a few pre-dinner tipples you will feel the effects of alcohol much quicker, your inhibitions be lowered and are more likely to gorge over your meal and consume much more than you would had you eaten normally throughout the day.  

If you’ve ever tried shaking your funky stuff on the dance floor with half a turkey in your stomach, it isn’t pleasant.

Instead, ensure that you eat a light to moderate breakfast and lunch that day that contains a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and a little healthy fat.

Enjoy your dinner and stop when you feel satisfied.  If you are really concerned about food waste, ask for leftovers to be boxed and take home for next day.

4. Hydrate

Unless you are teetotal, there is no getting away from it, Christmas is the booziest time of year.  As alcohol has a diuretic effect (makes you pee more) now, more than ever, is the time to ensure you are drinking around 2 litres of water a day to minimise the impact of the groggy morning after feeling and to keep your body hydrated.

If you are super organised or a control freak like me, you might want to set up your night out survival kit before you head out at night.  I kid you not, before a night out I leave a glass of water, a dioralyte sachet (to replace lost minerals) and a vitamin C effervescent tablet (rich anti-oxidant) by the side of my bed and consume before going to sleep.

5. Plenty of fresh air and gentle movement

A hectic schedule over the holiday season can mean that the gym membership card gathers dust for a while.  Some people enjoy hitting the gym for a sweat inducing workout after a night out. I am categorically not one of those people and will go on record to say I don’t trust these people…. they can’t be human!?

Instead I prefer to keep my movement gentle and easy which usually involves either a yoga class or a walk in a local country park.  In my opinion nothing helps clear the head and set you up better for the day that fresh air and a walk in nature.

6. Bulk cook in advance

On a quiet Sunday when you have no plans, bulk cook a few wholesome hearty meals that you can portion out and freeze.  These are a life saver for the days when you are pushed for time or are simply too tired to cook. Just simply defrost on the morning and you have a nourishing meal on hand.  

An indulgent night out can wreak havoc with your blood sugars and induce serious carb cravings the next day and this is when you are most likely to break and order takeaway or clear the shelves at the local shop.

Plan ahead for these days and have your meals prepped in advance and ready for defrosting.

7. Prioritise rest

Burning the candle at both ends becomes like an Olympic sport at this time of year, so on the nights when your social calendar is clear, make sleep your priority.  

I am a huge fan of Epsom salt baths and their use in improving sleep quality, reducing aches and pains and boosting depleted magnesium levels. Magnesium is the relaxation mineral, of which many of us are deficient in.

Have a candlelit bath, get the crisp clean jammies on, slide into bed early with a good book and use these nights to recharge and get ready to take on your next event with gusto.

I hope you found these tips helpful and wish you a very Merry and Healthy Christmas.

Tagged with: advice forum for mums, christmas 2018, christmas diet, dieting for women, family life, mental health for parents, mums diet, mums health, mums mental health

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About the author:
Mums NI Author - Claire Feldman
Claire Feldman

PG (Dip) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (etc)

Claire Feldman
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