Good grief, it’s a BUSY time of year! Presents to buy, food shopping to do, cards to write and people and places to see. And then thinking about what you’re going to be noshing on over the holidays…for a lot of people it’s just an added stress in the midst of it all and ends with some shame-led diet in January. So here’s a few simple tips to keep you SANE this holiday (and after) as well as making the most of whatever you’re up to…
- It’s what you do MORE OFTEN that matters. It’s so easy to worry about what we might do for a week or two over the Christmas period but actually what you do most of the time (the other 50 weeks of the year!) will make WAY more of an impact on your health. We don’t recommend you bingeing your way through the holidays (see below) because that actually is stressful for your mind and body but worrying over your food is going do more damage than just eating it and being done with it. We love the giant Christmas dinner (and always having room for pud), the extra chocolates and the celebratory drinks – it’s all part of the fun of the season and taking part in it stops us diving head first into an entire Christmas cake and feeling sick as a dog later. Which leads us nicely to…
- Be MINDFUL. Take a minute before you eat to THINK. Ask things like, ‘do I want this?’, ‘how hungry am I?’ and ‘can I have more later if I want it?’ (yes you can!). So often we eat things because they’re just there and everyone else is doing it. If you decide you want to, GO FOR IT! If you don’t, that’s ok too! Permission works both ways, you get to say yes or no in line with what feels good physically and mentally for YOU. There’s no rush – we have SO much food available so sloooow down and think first. Asking ‘will I feel good after?’ (psychologically AND physically) is worth asking too – the answer may well be YES but it might be NO. Be reflective as you enjoy it – where does the enjoyment stop? You might as well enjoy it! And if you think ‘oops that WASN’T worth it’ after, it’s just a chance to learn for next time – no guilt, no shame. FEEDBACK, not failure.
- Look after yourself! Being either overly strict or bingeing on food and drink will only lead to a horrible sinking feeling in January. And you all know we are NOT on board with a crazy January detox/diet. The holiday season is just a chance to out work what we talk about ALL YEAR ROUND – some of what you fancy, plenty of the stuff that makes you feel and function well and no shame or guilt. See if you can find the sweet spot FOR YOUR BODY this holiday – it might look very different for you than for someone else but be confident with it! Your body might not cope well with something everyone else is indulging in but another thing leaves you feeling great and someone else floored. Listen to YOUR body. You have full permission to do what’s right for YOU!
- Hydrate! Make sure amongst all the drinks and extra yum, you drink plenty of water. It’ll help your body do it’s very clever thing of detoxifying on a daily basis (you don’t need a diet to do that, your liver is very clever!) which will help deal with any potential damage caused by those potentially-not-so-great-for-your-bod drinks.
- Feeling rough? BE KIND! If you’ve gone a bit overboard, don’t punish yourself. Eat some nourishing foods, drink plenty of water, get some extra sleep and some movement in the form of a nice walk in the fresh air. Don’t contribute to the damage by stressing yourself out at either end of the spectrum – either down the intense workout or restriction route or thinking ‘sack it I might as well continue the binge’ and eating/drinking yourself into a dark hole. Your next mouthful/moment is the next opportunity to be kind to yourself.
- MOVE! We realise that usual routine tends to go out the window but it doesn’t mean you can’t include some daily movement that doesn’t feel like you’re missing out. Get the whole family out for a nice long walk, muck about with kids (preferably ones you know!), enjoy a bike ride or games in the park – it’s a great way to make some new memories, have a laugh and include everyone whilst still being mindful that movement makes us FEEL good and keeps us ticking over nicely.
It’s totally OK to care about yourself and be mindful of health over the holidays, but lets not do it at the expense of our sanity – whether that’s restricting or bingeing and living in the guilt cycle afterwards. We always talk about a sustainable lifestyle being the key to health and these next few weeks are just part of that. Enjoy it, look after your body and make the most of the time you get this holidays to make some new memories with the people you love.