The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, it can also be a challenging period for maintaining our health. The abundance of delicious but often unhealthy food, the disruption of regular routines, and the stress of planning and socialising can take a toll on our well-being. For many of us, it isn’t a good time to aim for large goals regarding our health but rather, put a plan in place to maintain momentum and keep ourselves on track; ready to reassess and recalibrate for the new year.
To ensure you navigate the Christmas season with both good health and still have fun, consider adopting a maintenance plan.
Here's a guide to help you prioritise your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing during this festive time.
1. Nutrition is key!
The holiday season is notorious for its indulgent feasts and sweet treats (and drinking). While it's perfectly acceptable to enjoy yourself, moderation is key. Instead of depriving yourself, focus on mindful eating. Prioritise whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Ensure that your plate is filled with a variety of colours, representing a diverse range of vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, with so much food and drink on offer at parties and gatherings, make sure you manage your portion sizes.
Finally, and most importantly, staying hydrated is crucial, so remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
2. Your exercise routine
Maintaining a consistent exercise routine during the holiday season can be challenging, but it's essential for your overall health. Schedule your workouts in advance, even if they are shorter than usual. Consider incorporating activities that involve the whole family, such as a festive walk, or a friendly game of touch football. Exercise is not only beneficial for physical health but also a great stress reliever.
Importantly, don’t lose motivation if you miss a workout or two. Anything is better than nothing and being as consistent as possible is better than not being consistent at all.
3. Prioritise Sleep
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it's easy to sacrifice sleep. However, adequate rest is crucial for overall wellbeing. Establish a consistent sleep schedule, continuing to aim for 7-9 hours per night. Quality sleep will not only boost your immune system but also improve your mood and cognitive function. AND remember, alcohol impacts your ability for quality sleep, so aim to reduce the intake to ensure better sleep each night.
4. Merry Chris-Stress
The holidays can be stressful due to various reasons, including social obligations, financial pressures, relationship challenges and travel. Implement stress management techniques such as deep breathing exercises, physical exercise, quality sleep, meditation, or yoga. Learn to say no when needed and prioritise self-care. Taking time for yourself is not selfish; it's a vital aspect of maintaining good mental health.
5. Social Connection and Wellbeing
The holidays are about connecting with loved ones, but it can also be a time where people feel most isolated. Make a point to foster positive relationships and seek support when needed. Engaging in meaningful conversations and spending quality time with loved ones can have a positive impact on your emotional wellbeing and positively impacts their wellbeing as well.
In closing, don’t put yourself under too much pressure to be an idol of good health over this period. Aim to stay consistent with your health goals, but be realistic and allow yourself time and some wriggle room for social events etc.