Top tips to survive the festive season
Welcome to the festive season—that whirlwind of gift-giving, holiday parties and indulgence. For many, this season is a special time of year, however it doesn’t come without its side of high-maintenance demands – parties, shopping, drinking, baking, family feuds, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few.
And with this surge in expectations, our stress levels can take a hit. From sleep deprivation to nutrient deficiencies, the festive stress-on can take its toll, physically and mentally.
To help you get through the festive stress-on with a little bit less stress, read on to discover my top tips to survive the festive season!
GET BREAKFAST RIGHT
For most of us, breakfast is in our control. It’s not very often that we have a Christmas party over breakfast or social gatherings before 9am. So, take advantage of this and get breakfast right on track.
It’s easy to skip this important meal, or give in and indulge in mince pies and fruit cake to ease that Christmas party hangover, but eating a good breakfast will help prompt your metabolism, balance your blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full and energised to fuel the day. And, if you fuel your body correctly you’re less likely to snack on the rogue chocolates inevitably lying around.
A great post-Christmas party breakfast is a colourful omelette packed with vitamin-filled veggies, but if you can’t face a cooked breakfast, a good helping of my delicious granola, berries and live probiotic yoghurt will also do the trick.
Every day, we breathe on average 20,000 times and even though it can calm us in times of stress, boost our energy and help us focus and find clarity, it is often overlooked. Try integrating breathwork into your routine to reap the uplifting benefits. I like to use the 3-4-5 practice, which encourages breathing in for three counts, holding for four, and out for five. Repeat a few times in a row.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
With the surge in indoor heating and an abundance of sugary treats on offer, it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, and to reach for another slice of cake or pig in a blanket. Instead, keep a jug of water with sliced lemon, orange, lime and herbs by your side as this will encourage you to top up your glass throughout the day, and ensure you stay well hydrated.
Hydration is also crucial for those of us needing a helping hand to detoxify the remnants of last night’s prosecco. That headache the next morning is partially subsidised by dehydration – to avoid this, ensure you are getting a minimum of 2 litres of water throughout the day, and for every alcoholic drink, have one glass of water.
It can be easy to let our exercise routine slip to the side over the holiday months. It is cold, there are hangovers and… there is shopping to be done! However, exercise is a crucial practice, not just for the non-holiday months, and ensuring you get some movement everyday can help with stress levels, excess holiday weight gain, mood and overall health.
Plus, help the body’s natural detoxification by sweating out last night’s mulled wine.
Going for a brisk walk and getting some oxygen or some warm yoga can help get the blood moving and the ethanol out!
If you do choose to exercise, make sure you hydrate yourself sufficiently as you don’t want to cause yourself to be more dehydrated – and also make sure you are not still inebriated, as no one wants to see you moonwalking on the treadmill!
SUPPORT YOUR GUT
During the festive season, there is a tendency for our diets to swing towards the high-fat/high-sugar intake (think Christmas pudding and brandy butter) which can alter the gut microbiome and potentially lead to weight gain, food cravings and lowered mood.
Incorporating digestive enzymes into your routine when consuming rich festive food may help with the breakdown of meals, reducing bloating and discomfort. Be mindful that digestive enzymes aren’t suitable for individuals with a peptic ulcer and should not be taken away from food. My favourite is Enzymedica, available to buy here with 15% off with the code Clarissa15
A probiotic is also a gut-friendly way to support your digestion, helping to prep your stomach for the damage that our beneficial gut bacteria may be about to incur.
High volumes of sugar and alcohol, paired with a lack of sleep, may impact the diversity and quantity of bacteria in the gut.
Consider trying out a month or two of Probio7’s Ultra – a probiotic filled with 9 live strains and 100 billion friendly bacteria. Use the code CLARISSA10 for 10% off.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, ENJOY YOURSELF!
Whilst it is important to eat healthily and stay active (even though it’s the festive season), there’s also such a thing as “everything in moderation”. Make sure you take the time to enjoy yourself during the holidays and embrace the time you have with friends, family and cheesy TV.