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Healthy ideas for Christmas (and beyond!)

Most of us would like a have a month off just to plan and organise Christmas
for our families and friends. It can feel like working double shifts for the whole
of December, especially if you have a full-time job and family responsibilities
too. There are a host of extra tasks and activities; gift buying and wrapping,
food shopping, cooking, preparing for guests to visit, card writing, decorations,
drinks parties and dinners, client entertainment, visits to friends and family
whom you won’t be seeing on the big day and your normal day job too!
It’s easy to just push through dreaming of a perfect holiday when you’ll catch up with your
sleep and enjoy lots of relaxation time. However what often happens is that after Christmas Day,
we collapse with exhaustion, feel run down, catch a cold and generally feel awful.
There are a few simple things you may choose to do look after yourself in
the run up to the festive season.
1. Eat quality food
– avoid junk food, processed foods, and highly refined foods
like white pasta, white bread, sugar, cakes, pastries. Choose organic, fresh,
unprocessed foods. Base your meals on lean protein (red meat, poultry, eggs, oily or white fish, tofu, beans or legumes, nuts, seeds) and complex carbohydrates (whole grains) with
small portions of starchy vegetables (sweet potato, beetroot, squash, pumpkin), and get
good fats from oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds and cook with coconut oil and dress salads
and vegetables with olive oil or flax oil.
2. Eat regularly
– don’t go for hours without eating, try to time your meals approximately 4 -5 hours apart and if you need to add in a protein based snack. It’s important to keep your blood sugar levels balanced so that your
energy levels are even throughout the day, and you’re not tempted to choose
sugary snacks because you’ve delayed a meal.
3. Choose foods to support your adrenal glands

– stress often depletes the body’s
store of Vitamin C, B, and Magnesium. Stress also suppresses the immune system
leaving your susceptible to infections. Eating a rainbow of vegetables is an easy
guideline to follow. Eating lots of dark green leafy vegetables, and a handful of
nuts and seeds and some whole grains every day will help support your nutrient
status.
4. Keep hydrated
– carry a bottle of water with you and sip throughout the day, especially on those long shopping trips. Drink plenty of water before you go to a party and always have a glass of water alongside your favourite alcoholic drink.
5. Alcohol
– it’s fun and enjoyable to have a celebratory drink or two or three(!!!),
but remember to schedule some alcohol free days too. There’s little chance of
sparkly eyes and clear skin, if you have alcohol every day in December.
Alcohol every day will take a toll on how you look and feel.
6. Time out!
Just 15 minutes of quiet YOU time will help to reduce the stress levels.
It may be that you sit quietly with a cup of herbal tea, or take a gentle walk
around the block, or lock yourself in the bathroom, if that’s the only place people
can’t get you! Breathe deeply, calm down. Listen to a guided meditation, or
some soothing music on your phone or iPod. Do this a couple of times a day or
access it when you feel hyped.
7. Sleep
– by now you’re probably thinking ‘there’s no way I can do all
this, organise Christmas and get an early night’. However gifting yourself an
opportunity to sleep well will help you feel energised in the morning. Start by
setting some boundaries around when you stop ‘doing’ in the evenings e.g. 9pm
or 10pm watershed for phones, technology and Christmas preparations. This will
allow you time to relax, to get ready for bed, and to have a blissful restful sleep.
So - I hope this helps! Have a super Christmas however you choose to spend it.
Your Health IS my Priority!
© Gayle Palmer 2015-18

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