If there has ever been a good time to shake off the lockdown blues and enjoy time with our loved ones , it ’ s this upcoming festive season . But as we say goodbye to isolation and UGG boots , and hello to bottomless brunches ; finding a happy balance between social festivities and taking care of ourselves can be challenging at best . Read on to find our top five tips .
1 Mindful eating
The festive season often involves a seemingly endless supply of indulgent delights . Rather than either : going “ all out ” on the Christmas pudding ; or depriving yourself of the enjoyment – approach food with mindfulness . A great place to start is by checking in with your hunger before eating and halfway through your meal . This helps to slow down and give your brain the chance to register satisfaction and fullness . Try removing distractions , sitting down with your plate and fully engaging with the tastes , textures , appearance and aromas of your food . Allowing yourself to be fully present helps you reap maximum enjoyment from your food and prevent overeating . Outside of celebrations , focus on maintaining regular nutritious meals and snacks . This ensures you don ’ t arrive on occasions ravenous which is a sure-fire way to overeating past satisfaction !
Many of us like to enjoy a celebratory drink with our friends and family at this time of year . But when we ’ re invited to multiple events across the holidays , alcohol intake can quickly add up . Keeping your alcohol intake in check is important for both physical and mental health . More than one or two standard alcoholic drinks can affect your sleep , mood and how you function the next day , ( as well as the food choices you make )! Why not experiment with non-alcoholic low sugar alternatives and having at least a few dry nights each week . For example , make soda water fancy with extra fresh lime , lemon , fruit and herbs like mint or basil . If you prefer something sweeter , add a dash of no-sugar cordial or use a cold-infusion fruity tea bag . These options carry the added bonus of helping to keep you well-hydrated across the holidays .
We know that exercise hosts a whole range of benefits – from improved mood and stress management , to better sleep and heart health . But for lots of people , movement can come attached with a love-hate relationship . To make movement an enjoyable part of your routine , start slow ( we don ’ t
SITTING DOWN WITH YOUR PLATE AND FULLY ENGAGING WITH THE TASTES , TEXTURES , APPEARANCE AND AROMAS OF YOUR FOOD want to sprint a marathon ) and pair it with something fun . Try a walking coffee date with a friend , a scenic coastal walk with a podcast or upbeat music or that boxing class you ’ ve been eyeing out for months .
4 Filling up your cup
We can ’ t pour from an empty cup . As enjoyable as spending time with others can be , we all have a social quota and need time to recharge that battery ! What activities help you fill up your cup ? Brainstorm your favourite options and set an intention to practice at least one of those each day . There are no right or wrong answers , but some popular ideas are getting some vitamin sunshine , reading , meditation , warm showers / baths , skincare routines and watching your favourite Netflix show .
5 Prioritise your sleep
With the calendar filling up and all of the added stressors that come with this time of year , it is important to not forget to prioritise your sleep . Getting enough sleep over the silly season is an important foundation that can have a ripple effect across all other areas of your life ; mood , energy levels , appetite and so much more . We find it helpful to try and keep a regular sleep and wake routine during the holiday season as much as possible and aim for the recommended seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night !
So as we catch up on some welldeserved party time over the next few weeks , why not have a crack at one of our tips ? Enjoy ( mindfully ) eating , sleeping , moving and Netflix-ing your way to a more balanced you !
For more individualised advice on how you can find your perfect balance over this festive season , reach out to an Accredited Practising Dietitian for further support .
YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE 9