Why a Healthy Holiday Matters
Just because it’s the festive period, it doesn’t mean our health has to suffer (well, not completely). A healthy holiday season can set us up right for the new year ahead, and almost act as a head start against those gearing up to start their new year’s resolutions of eating well and getting to the gym more.
Our health is the most important facet of our lives, and without it you quickly realise how vital it is to our daily lives and our ability to do the things that makes life living for.
Christmas can be a time of indulging in our favourite foods, snacks, alcohol and hot drinks, and if in moderation it can be great! But excessive eating, little exercise and drinking too much can all badly damage our mind and body.
Keep Up Your Exercise Routine
It’s cold outside, the roads are icy, there’s plenty of great excuses people use for avoiding exercising in and around Christmas. All we hear are excuses! There’s nothing stopping you from putting a at home workout tutorial on the TV and get your body moving. Even your family can join in, make it a fun family activity to do together. Some gyms might even be open if they’re have 24/7 access, making it available to those who might be alone during Christmas, or just love working out. Think how quiet the weight section will be on Christmas morning!
Don’t worry, nobody expects you to be going to the gym on Christmas day, but keeping active around your family time can help prevent those extra pounds being added to the scales in a week or so’s time. Exercise is a great way of keeping the body circulating and warming yourself up if you don’t want to have the heating on all day long.
Watch Portion Size’s & Limit Snacking
This time of year, wherever you look, whether it’s during your food shop or when you enter the family kitchen, snacks are EVERYWHERE! Limited edition cakes, chocolate and sweets hook you into the ginger and cinnamon flavours that just scream Christmas time. Tubs of Quality Streets sit around the house making it almost impossible for you to say no to.
The festive period really does test your willpower, doesn’t it?
Setting boundaries can be a great way to limit the number of snacks you have, as avoiding them completely can make Christmas feel like a challenge, life is short so it’s not going to hurt you by allow yourself to have some of your favourite snacks, it’s just everything in moderation!
Limit the alcohol
One of, if not, the most popular things to do around Christmas time is drinking A LOT of alcohol. Some see Christmas as the perfect opportunity to wake up and crack open a beer at 9:30 am, which during any other time of the year would be seen as crazy or a sign of somebody with a drinking problem.
Granted, it is Christmas, so people love to let go and try to take the relaxation to the limits. But the overconsumption of alcohol can have detrimental effects on our physical and mental health.
Alcohol has been shown to be a disruptive drug that is linked to a long list of illnesses diseases and physical accidents. Drinking can massively increase your chances of having a family argument, so the more you drink the more likely it will be to end in a family brawl, which really isn’t in the festive spirit!
Try not drinking alcohol until at least midday, or just having one drink with your meal. Swapping a glass of wine for a nice warm cuppa wouldn’t go a miss either.
Hangovers can make conditions like anxiety and depression much worse, so by boxing day you could be feeling 10 times worse than before, so you then have to ask yourself, was the heavy drinking really worth it?
Do Things That Make You Active
Most of us can fall into the trap of not leaving the house over Christmas, with the only reason being to let the dog out for a wee! We find ourselves making the most of the corner spot on the sofa or having an extra-long lay-in.
We know Christmas is the perfect opportunity to attempt a Christmas movie marathon with the family, but before we know it the day has passed and you’ve amassed a whopping 2,000 steps on your smartwatch, which isn’t the most impressive score to tell your mates.
Christmas can also be about getting away from screens and getting outside. Whether it’s just you, your partner or the whole family, getting everyone wrapped up and stepping outside for a festive family walk can do amazing things for your mental clarity, not just for the slightly embarrassing step count you’ve had…
If you’ve got a dog, then there really are no excuses!
Walking in nature, even in the cold, can help reduce stress and lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression. Getting outside while it’s light is also important as the dark mornings and evenings can mean we lack a lot of natural vitamin D which is a vital vitamin for improving the body’s ability to fight disease, regulate mood and stay healthy.
Spending lots of time sat down, indoors can stiffen up your joints, which can make normal movement a struggle, especially if you’re older or have an existing condition like rheumatoid arthritis.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
Christmas is a stressful time (probably an understatement), so making time for yourself is very important for your mental health during this lovely but chaotic period. If you’re in charge of cooking for everyone then it can be even harder to find the time or space to get some downtime or much-needed headspace.
Having family and friends all around you can also become intense for those who suffer from situational anxiety and other disorders. Setting time aside will allow you to rest, reset and recharge your social battery. Often the kids can get so excitable that we need time to ourselves to relax.
Christmas can be stressful and expensive and is your only real time off before you’re back to work and back to the school run. You can tell your loved ones that you just need an hour in the afternoon to rest, or that you’re having a relaxing bath with some candles before you come back down to watch a film or play board games in the evening.
So, try not to be too hard on yourself and give yourself the appreciation you deserve. Your friends and family will know how hard you work to ensure they have the best time, so we’re sure they’d give you the time to be you!
Remember What Matters
It’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race that it feels like Christmas has become, and we tend to forget what the whole point of this holiday is in the first place.
Christmas is all about stepping back from the outside world, away from the workplace drama, from the disappointment of your favourite football team’s recent performances, or from the gossip of the latest celebrity affair.
Sometimes the noise can get too much. The festive period is the one chance across the year that people feel as though they should prioritise spending quality time with their loved ones.
These are the moments to cherish. Your children are filled to the brim with excitement when they see Santa has filled their stockings at the end of the bed, trying not to laugh as your dad cracks one of the worst dad jokes you’ve ever heard.
This is what Christmas is all about. Time moves fast, and before you know it years have passed and all we have is the memories to look back on with a smile.
Make the most of this period and appreciate the memory that you’re creating in the present moment, the Christmas present moment… Who doesn’t love a dad joke, hey?!
Anyway, the ultimate way to have a healthy holiday period is to remember what really matters. Practicing gratitude can do wonders for your health, even being grateful for spending time with the in-laws can improve your mental and physical health, so remember that the next time your other half tells you they’re staying with you for Christmas.
At e-Surgery, our patients are like family to us. So, during the festive periods, we are open as much as possible so that we’re here for when you need us. Our free-to-use ‘ask-a-pharmacist‘ service is on hand for when you need expert medical advice, without having to get the slippers and dressing gown off and brace the cold dark days, just to queue up at a pharmacy.
You can use our service from anywhere in the UK and at any time of day! That means you can send over any query in the middle of the night and one of our clinical team will be ready to respond once we open in the morning.
Welcome to the new age of healthcare, made digital.