The lead up to Christmas can be stressful and the simple joys of Christmas can often be overlooked in the chaos of Christmas shopping, parties and menu planning for Christmas Day. We’d like to help you enjoy a happy, healthy Christmas this year – one with less stress, more enjoyment and that impacts less on our health.
Firstly, here are some ways to help our body and mind manage the stress of the busy month of December:
- Physical exercise – try to keep up your normal exercise regime, get out in nature and get some fresh air every day.
- Keep up your healthy habits – look at what you do now that is healthy and commit to sticking to that no matter what.
- Plan some relaxing time – book in a day spa or massage, sometimes just mentally knowing that you will get some time out can make you feel better.
- Get organised – buy gifts early, plan, plan, plan! Make lots of lists!
- Mindset – it’s all about the way you look at the situation and what you view as stressful. Try to change your perspective on things and don’t sweat the small stuff!
I want a healthy, happy Christmas – how do I get the family to want one too?
For most people their biggest wish for Christmas Day is to have a fun, enjoyable day with their family. Focus on enjoying the ‘experience of Christmas’ – going to the beach, preparing food to share with people we love, and the happiness that can be found in giving, rather than receiving.
To help kids appreciate what they have, by way of food and gifts, consider a donation to charities such as the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal every year and explain to children how this helps other people. This is also a perfect time of year to go through the kid’s toys and put aside some toys to donate to those less fortunate.
When choosing gifts, focus on activities that can be done together as a family, so it is more about the enjoyment you will have together rather than acquiring more toy. Garden games such as ring toss, badminton and croquet are great examples.
What about Christmas Day? There is always so much to do and always so much to eat. In what ways can I make the day a little more healthy?
- Practice Mindfulness of Eating. Start with gratitude. Thank the person who is hosting, for everyone being there and for where the food came from. This will allow you to pause before you dig in. Then slowly eat your food, tasting every bite, feeling the sensations on your tongue and smelling the different aromas. Be present when eating. Look up and engage with others and pace yourself. It will be over in a short while so savour every minute.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water! Drink and eat mindfully – make sure you want it and are enjoying it, don’t just eat or drink because it’s there.
- Be active – get up and join in games with the kids or go for a walk. The beach is a great place to spend some time on Christmas Day.
Boxing Day seems like the start of the “left over meal” diet. What are your top tips for a recovery plan after Christmas?
Don’t let Christmas Day derail your health goals. We often catastrophise the event, thinking we may as well throw the clean eating out the window but this isn’t the case. One day of eating will not derail you from your goals. Only your thinking will.
Pass off some of the leftovers to guests and plan ahead so you have some healthy food available for Boxing Day. Start the day with hot water and lemon. Drink lots of water, do some exercise, go to the beach, eat lots of fruit and vegetables. One easy way to get some good nutrition back into your body is to have a green or berry smoothie for breakfast.
Christmas, New Years, the end of the School year …with so many holidays how can I plan for myself, friends and family to be healthy?
Planning is key! Set your intention of what you want for this period. Write down your intention, write down your goals and your family’s goals and try to get a balance of down time as well as activities. Once you have set a goal for yourself, read it everyday. Understand how that goal helps you to achieve your other family goals. Get your kids to set their 2017 goals too.
Be prepared – keep healthy snacks on hand, buy healthy food and don’t buy unhealthy food (if it’s not in the house you won’t eat it!).
Get active – enjoy the summer – visit parks, the beach and get some exercise walking, cycling, swimming or running.
How and what do I set as my New Year’s resolution? How do I stick to it?
Start with the end in mind. Think about what you want. Think about this time next year. What does your picture look like? Create a vision board. Then set specific goals and break that goal into manageable goals with short-term milestones. Keep it simple and achievable but remember you can dream as big as you like!
Some simple examples may be:
To be the very best version of myself,
To live simply, declutter,
To be grateful,
To have more energy and get more sleep
Focus on it, remember, set intent, and work on forming good habits (less willpower, more habit). But remember to be kind to yourself, keep your mindset in check and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Planning is one of the keys to success – schedule into your daily/weekly routines the things that you value and are important to you.
We hope this advice leads you on the path towards a happier, healthier Christmas this year. The Live Well Physio team wish you are Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.