Very appropriately, I came across a wonderful festive season survival guide from a series of top fitness professionals and nutritionists. The one key thread that wound through their advice centred on keeping calm in the holiday madness. It’s great fun but it’s hectic! Lots of food, lots of drinking, plenty of parties, socialising and shopping but very little time for rest and relaxation.
So exactly what are the secrets to finding yourself feeling vaguely normal come New Year’s Day?
Prepare! I’d put this top of my priority list. It’s a given that you will end up eating indulgent food so plan to eat well in between the parties and big meals out. Stock the kitchen with vegetables, fish, whole grains and fruit. Make your own fresh juices, smoothies or flavoured water to keep well hydrated between the drinking nights out. Spend some quality time with the family making healthy snacks rather than filling the biscuit tin with all-butter treats.
Start your Christmas shopping early so that you have time to spend decorating the tree, taking walks with the kids or meeting up with the girls rather than tearing around the increasingly busy shops. Starting early means there will be time to light the scented candles, play your favourite festive CDs and write out all your Christmas cards well before midnight on Christmas Eve!
Keep exercising. Don’t allow the extra social engagements to take you away from your regular exercise sessions. Diarise your classes or rearrange things to fit it all together. Try shorter workouts at the start of your day or add bouts of extra physical activity during the day to keep your energy levels boosted. Get two-for-one by attending a Pilates class with a friend or go ice-staking with the family.
Take time out. Schedule time for yourself in between the parties to relax and unwind. Switch off your phone and your laptop for a few hours a week. Try meditation or simply spend quiet time reflecting on your achievements throughout the year and what you look forward to in 2016. Maintaining a positive frame of mind will drastically reduce your stress levels and help you to remain grateful, present and mindful of others.
So breathe, eat and drink in moderation, keep exercising, reflect on what matters to you most, love, laugh and enjoy a wonderful festive season!