Office parties, family gatherings, present shopping, long drives – the festive season has its fair share of activities that can wear out even the healthiest person. So, what can you do to keep your energy levels up 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.
Here we share six steps to help you survive the season:
- Limber up - As well as keeping us in shape, exercising can also help to keep you energised, 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 having a boogie around the tree, organising a present treasure hunt or parking the car further away from the shop and using your strong arms to carry the shopping bags to the car!
- Make time for breakfast - Breakfast gives you the energy you need to face the day. Go for healthier options, such as porridge with fruit, a vegetable omelette, or wholemeal toast. Aim to have at least one portion of fruit or vegetable with breakfast and if you can't face eating as soon as you get up, fill up on a high fibre snack such as a homemade cereal bar or flapjack as an on-the-go brunch option. For more inspiration, take a look at what our health experts eat for breakfast to make sure they're fully fuelled for the day ahead.
- Snack on fruit and nuts - If you do snack during the day, have fruit, nuts or seeds. Packing these in up in pre-portioned ‘snack bags’ and having them in the car or a handbag can help you to resist the temptation to reach for too many sugary snacks, such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, non-diet fizzy drinks and chocolates. These foods might provide you with an instant boost, but the effects wear off quickly and can leave you feeling sluggish, so opting for high-fibre alternatives can make a big difference!
- 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. Spend time to ensure that your seat is well aligned, and your lower back is supported too. 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. Festive drinks can add extra fat, sugar and calories so be conscious of how much you’re consuming. If you are drinking alcohol, remember to consider your unit intake, ensure you have some alcohol-free days and for every alcoholic drink you have, have a glass of water too to help combat dehydration.
- 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. By doing some elements of mindfulness every day such as paying more attention to your sensing when you’re eating or brushing your teeth, you will start to develop habits during your day to day routine.