Six steps to a healthier Christmas
Office parties, family gatherings, present shopping, long drives – Christmas has its fair share of activities that can wear out even the healthiest person. So, what can you do to ensure you are energised enough this December?
“With so much to do and so many people to see, the Christmas season can take its toll on your physical and mental health, but adopting a few healthy changes here and there may save you feeling exhausted”, says Dr John Burke, our Deputy Chief Medical Officer.
Here, Dr John Burke outlines six steps to help you survive the season:
- Limber up - As well as keeping us in shape, exercising can also help energise you, ease strains and boost concentration, as well as your mood. Something as simple as a brisk walk will make a difference. If walking’s not your thing, there are many alternatives, like dancing.
- Make time for breakfast - Breakfast gives you the energy you need to face the day. Go for healthier options, such as porridge with fruit, vegetable omelette, or wholemeal toast. If you can't face eating as soon as you get up, take a high-fibre snack to eat on the run.
- Snack on fruit and nuts - If you do snack during the day, have fruit, nuts or seeds. Try to resist the temptation to reach for too many sugary snacks, such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, non-diet fizzy drinks and chocolates. They might provide you with an instant boost, but the effects wear off quickly and can leave you feeling sluggish.
- Take a break - Driving long distances to see friends and family can leave you mentally and physically exhausted. But even a five minute roadside break every couple of hours can make a difference. It gives you time to stretch your legs and restore blood flow, leaving you more alert at the wheel. If you’re driving late, consider finding a room for the night rather than driving through to your destination. Getting a good night’s sleep is not only good for you, it will help make you more alert.
- Keep well-hydrated – Avoid dehydration by aiming to drink six to eight glasses of fluid a day - water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks including tea all count.
- Try everyday mindfulness – Rushing around with a big Christmas ‘to do’ list can be stressful, but there are a number of health benefits of being mindful. Taking time to focus on the moment and notice the world around will help you stay positive.