While Christmas can be an exciting time, it can also be a big cause of stress for many of us with financial difficulties, gift-buying pressures and not to mention gained weight. To take the stress out of the festive season and enjoy a happier, chilled christmas, nutrition nourishment is providing the essential ‘Christmas Survival Guide: 10 Jolly Good Tips to Staying Sane’. Read below to ensure your holidays are filled with festive joy!
JOLLY TIP #1: Financial difficulties
There’s no denying it; Christmas can certainly wreak havoc on our finances, with gifts to buy, nights out to attend, and food and drink to stock up on, (not to mention all the bills arriving). However, it is important not to let financial pressures ruin your Christmas. Before you start making your festive purchases, try to write a list of everything you need to buy and set a realistic budget for each item. If you find that your list is going to blow your Christmas budget, try to find some ways to cut back on gifts, such as by making homemade presents, looking for bargains online, or organising a Secret Santa for friends or siblings, rather than buying for each individual.
JOLLY TIP #2:Family tensions
If the time spent with your extended family over Christmas always results in arguments, tears or tension-fuelled frosty silences, this can lead you to approach Christmas with a sense of apprehension or dread. To help cut out stress this Christmas, try to prepare yourself and have realistic expectations of your family. Accept that they are not perfect and that they will probably say things that you don’t like, but make a decision to try not to let it spoil your day. To help keep the peace, try your best to steer clear of risky conversation topics – and alcohol – which may provoke rows, and keep everyone occupied with fun sports or games after your meal. If you feel your stress levels rising, try to take a few moments to yourself and take some deep breaths to help you RELAX!!
JOLLY TIP #3: Pace Yourself
Are you guilty of telling yourself “This year I will not put on weight” or “I’ll worry about it in the new year”? every year at christmas time, only to fail?
So what’s the harm in a little holiday weight gain, especially if it’s just a kilogram or so? According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, most Australians never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays. The kilos add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in adult obesity.
But you don’t have to fall into this trap. It is possible to enjoy holiday goodies without putting on a single kilogram. Portion control is the key. You can still enjoy there sweet indulgences that you enjoy, just remember to have small amounts. The easiest way to be able to enjoy yourself with food is to PACE yourself. Christmas meals are meant to be a social gathering. Take the time to enjoy family and friends and socialise, while enjoying every mouthful of your food. Listen to your body cues, It will signal when it has had enough. Drink plenty of water and laugh. Another tip is to put your fork down between every bite and savour the food in your mouth before taking another. ENJOY YOUR FOOD!!!
JOLLY TIP #4: Social obligations
While christmas time is meant to be social, gathered by friends and family, alot of us find that the festive period is met with an overwhelming amount of demands on our time. There are work parties to attend, friends to meet up with, and the question of who to see on Christmas day. To minimize your risk of double booking yourself over this busy period, try to keep a diary or calendar displaying all your planned events so far. You could also try combining events and mixing groups of friends, if you think they will get along. Also, remember that not all your events need to be squeezed into the lead-up to Christmas. Make full use of December by scheduling some events before and after the big day. Have Fun, Laugh, Commit to Enjoying the Holidays.Give in a Way that Gives you Joy instead of out of Obligation.
JOLLY TIP #5: Be Alcohol Smart
Alcohol contains empty kilojoules that aren’t utilised in the body for biological functions such as muscle/cell building, energy or metabolism. Instead it hangs around in your blood, until the liver breaks it down, causing dehydration, and interfering with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. Not to mention many of the popular alcoholic beverages for the holiday season are full of kilojoules leading to added fat cells in the body. Be smart with your alcohol choices, and never drink in excessive.
JOLLY TIP #6: Exercise
The holiday season can be busy and exhausting. Sometimes it just seems like you don’t have the time or the energy to exercise. Ironically, one of the ways to fix flagging energy is by exercising. Don’t skip on your regular exercise routine no matter how busy you are. Even if you only have 30 minutes, take those 30 minutes and get active. Walk around your neighborhood and look at Christmas lights. Use the opportunity of enjoying time with your family by playing cricket together out the backyard, riding bikes together, going swimming together. Make it fun! Christmas isn’t just about eating together, it is about spending time with company. Make it active.
JOLLY TIP #7: Allow mess
Check your perfectionism at the door. Are you a working woman who is comparing her baking and tree-trimming efforts with those of someone who doesn’t have a full-time job—or with the way your stay-at-home mother handled the holidays? Are you envisioning your Christmas party right out of a movie? We put so much of this pressure on ourselves!
Christmas is a children’s holiday as well, don’t get too stressed about the place being a mess for a day or half a day. Children are messy and want to play NOW and don’t care about clearing up, allow them to be a bit messy for a day then kick butt on Boxing Day. (Or in the New Year).
JOLLY TIP #8: Breathe and Be Happy
Stay Present ‘Be in the Moment’, Enjoy the company, the food and the gifts. The more you are in the moment with awareness, the less you are caught up in the mind and all the things you still have to do or haven’t done yet. Be aware of your breathing. If it becomes short and shallow, you know you are getting anxious. Stop what you are doing and take a breathing break. You will enjoy the time much more.Take Breathing Breaks. Whenever you get a chance, take breathing breaks….not only when you feel yourself getting anxious. Make the time for them, even if it is only 5 minutes at a time, it will re-invigorate you. You can do it anywhere, just find a quiet spot. It will get you back into the present and out of your head and will help you let go of worries and tension. Be Thankful. It is always good to put things in perspective and realize how lucky you are that your basic needs are being met and that you are actually able to celebrate the way you can. Add up all the things that you are grateful for, for instance, family, friends, loved ones, the fact that you can celebrate etc….it will put you in a good mood.
JOLLY TIP #9: Get Good Sleep
Holiday celebrations can often disrupt regular sleep patterns. Try to get to sleep at the same time every night. Avoid heavy foods, sugary sweets and alcohol before bedtime as these can disturb your sleep. Try to relax before bedtime. Use this time when the kids are in bed to relax with your partner, enjoy a cup of herbal tea, soak in a bath, watch a movie or read a favourite book. What makes you happy and relax? Do not forget about your own health and sanity.
JOLLY TIP #10: Remember to stop and smell the Holly.
There can be moments of complete joy that seem to make time stop. Often these are unplanned and unexpected. It could be a warm, sticky chocolately hand slipping into yours at the dinner table as your niece sidles up to give you some love. It could be the fact that while you have been beavering away in the kitchen that someone has left you a heart shaped message on the frost on your car windscreen. It could be just waking up and feeling the warmth of the sun through the curtains on a new day. These moments are easily missed but when we give them our full attention and take the time to notice them and savour them, Christmas comes alive.
Christmas time can come along with heap loads of expectations, from what presents we will give and receive, to how many times we have asked for help in the kitchen. Letting go of expectations and simplifying life creates ease and space in which to pause and enjoy moments of togetherness when they arise, which, after all, is the true message of Christmas.
May your mince pies be tasty, your Christmas cake fruity and your heart full of Love.