Tips to stay healthy (and sane!) over Christmas

With Christmas, it’s all about trying to ‘Health it up!’ Start by having a think about your Christmas traditions to see how you can make some healthy changes. In what can often be a busy and stressful time, even small changes can make a difference.

Here are some of my tips to help you come out the other end of the holidays feeling rejuveneated and reenergized rather than bloated and exhausted!

Be present

As busy as we all are at this time of year, it is even more important to take time out, especially in the build up to Christmas. It is so easy to get carried away with the pressures of shopping and cleaning and cooking and…. that we forget what the core of Christmas is all about. Taking just 5 minutes in the morning to sit and focus on your breath, focus on what you are grateful for and set your intention for your day can be really powerful. It will help to you get a good start to the day and from here try to stay as mindful as you can throughout your day.

Think about your New Year’s resolutions early!

Rather than wait until January 1st to set your New Year’s Resolutions, take some time out now to think about what health goals you would like to achieve in 2016. Write them down and create a vision board around them. Doing this in December will help keep your goals fresh in your mind and be a gentle reminder to stay as healthy as you can over Christmas.

Food

It is seems like no matter where you turn at Christmas time, you are surrounded by food – and most often not the healthiest! It is nice to participate in social events and parties but keep the following tips in mind-

  • Eat healthy food before you go so you won’t be starving when you are out and end up eating lots of food you wish you didn’t
  • Watch your portion size – if you can, serve yourself or if not just ask for small portions, you can always get more if you need it.
  • For Christmas dinner, try going heavy on the veg and light on the meat.

Maybe try some healthier desserts (if you are on my mailing list you will have received some yummy ones!). However, if you are digging into Christmas pudding or cake, do it mindfully, savour and enjoy it and this way you will find you will need less than you thought.

Exercise

Even if you are already a regular exerciser, routines can get thrown off over the holidays due to travel, gym hours being reduced, weather, family commitments etc. It takes more effort to get up and get out but a little creativity always helps. Consider what family activities you can do wherever you are – maybe you can hire bikes, explore new trails, do a Christmas day swim / run etc.   Parkruns (parkrun.ie) happen in 40 locations around Ireland and are a free 5km event every Saturday morning, suitable for all the family, so that might be worth a try.

How about planning a family walk/jog/cycle on Christmas day so everyone can get some exercise and fresh air.

Friends & Family

Think about the gifts you give and see if you can give healthier options. Instead of a box of chocolates how about a beautiful fresh and dried fruit hamper. This will make people think about what they give to you next year!

We always ask Santa to consider bringing gifts that are going to encourage activity – bikes, scooters, goal sets, trampolines, helmets, rainsuits etc.

Rather than visiting people at home or restaurants, arrange some fun family hikes or walks in nearby trails. You can find out what trails are in your area (or an area you might be visiting) by going to http://www.irishtrails.ie/. Nothing beats getting out in nature and fresh air after being cooped up for a day or two!

It’s also a great time to think about gratitude and random acts of kindness. Nothing beats letting others know what they mean to us and how we appreciate them. A simple kind act can help keep us focused on the love and connection that can often get lost in the busyness of Christmas.

Tips-stay-sane-at-christmas-ailis-brosnan

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy Christmas and every best wish for 2016.