Christmas Survival Guide – Top 5 Tips to Reduce Stress
With only 2 weeks to go until Christmas descends and with the frenzy of the season ever increasing, I want to share with you my top 5 tips to keeping those stress levels down. Come through the other side having enjoyed the festive experience and without feeling like crap or depressed about weight gain!
First thing I’d suggest is regarding food. This is NOT the time to give yourself a hard time and try and abstain from all those treats you KNOW will be surrounding you ….but now IS the time to practice that MINDFULNESS and being AWARE of what you’re consuming.
OK have that dessert but do you really NEED a second helping?
Are you mindlessly dipping into the ‘bucket’ of chocolates being passed around as you watch the Xmas blockbuster ( or The Morecame and Wise Show….I mean is it really on again this year?? 🙂 ) Set yourself a limit on how many chocolates you’re going to eat so you choose carefully and savour each one…and then you won’t get that over indulgent queasy feeling later on! (Or feel guilty!)
When everyone’s finally seated for the main meal and conversations start getting heated, (don’t mention the B word!), join in the debates but put your knife and fork down when eating. This allows you to CHEW your food properly and prevents you from simply shovelling food into your mouth, without noticing the food on your plate. It gives your digestion a chance to do its work.
Doing this will help prevent bloating, cramps, acid reflux and generally decrease any post meal discomfort. Plus you’ll be appreciating the meal someone has, probably, spent HOURS if not DAYS planning and worrying about!
Have more veg on your plate than meat! Leaning toward a more plant based diet not only benefits good health and reduce inflammation but also helps the planet!
Don’t deny yourself the joy of good food and good company but truly enjoy it by BEING PRESENT.
If things start to get a bit overwhelming its essential you have some ‘ME’ time – even for 10 mins…get somewhere you can draw breath…lock yourself in the bathroom, the shed, the car, anywhere! and take some deep breaths.
Ratio breathing – taken from ancient yogic breathing techniques works a treat!
Inhale through your nose for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds and then exhale for 7 through the mouth. Do this for 10 breaths and feel your stress levels drop as you’ve naturally kicked in the chill out phase of your nervous system.
- GET MOVING
Don’t just slump into a chair all afternoon after eating. Do try and factor in some movement – even if its walking for only 15 mins. Walking gets your lymphatic system working – the system that’s gets rid of the waste and toxins in your blood. Plus moving reduces your blood glucose and insulin and with all the sugar we consume over this period, any help we can get to reduce blood glucose is a good thing!
- GIVE YOUR DIGESTION A BREAK
I know it’s tempting to snack non stopover this time. Often it’s hard to resist and we pick at foods when we’re stressed and anxious but your body will thank you for giving it a break from food. Try and have a break for 14 hours on at least 1 if not 2 days. You can do this in your sleep! If you can survive without breakfast, don’t eat after dinner until the next morning. For me that’s 8pm – 10am.
Fasting allows your body time to repair and regenerate and Xmas is a time this is really beneficial due to the increase in sugar, processed foods and alcohol we consume. Plus, ladies, intermittent fasting has been linked to reducing aging process in women over 40’s….I’m IN!
- GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA!
OK keep in touch with those long distant friends / relatives but don’t surf. Be in the moment with the REAL human contacts you have around you. Life can change quickly and things we take for granted may not be the same next year.
ENJOY and BE GRATEFUL for what you have – take a moment during your friends/ family gathering and look around you and appreciate the connections you have.
Do try some of these tips – I guarantee you’ll really feel the benefit.
By being kind to both your body and mind over this period, you’ll feel less sluggish and tired, and have less hard work getting back on top of your health in January!
P.S. I’m running a free 5 day detox challenge in the New Year – join my Facebook group here to help you get a kick start in 2019!