There are still a couple full-on weeks left before you can take a well deserved break. Until then, you've really got to look after yourself. Unless of course you don’t mind landing face-first into a big, steaming pile of the proverbial, rather than enjoying all the festivities?
No, I didn’t think so. It’s no fun getting all messy when it could so easily have been prevented. To fortify yourself in the lead-up to Christmas, focus on these five key areas:
- Managing your expectations
- Actively resting
- Managing your stress
- Eating well
- Keeping it classy (with your alcohol consumption)
What do you expect to happen?
Decide now. How do you want to feel, and what do you hope to achieve by the time Christmas & the new year comes around? Use this as a guide to help you make choices that enable you to reach this end. For example, will you make your stress-reducing exercise a ‘non-negotiable’ or will you forgo this to continue working, studying, or socialising? Will you over-exert yourself with elaborate Christmas and New Year’s preparations? Or, will you relax in the knowledge that you will soon be enjoying time with your loved ones, and be grateful for the fuss-free food on the table, and the ensuing stress-free environment?
Rest before you get tired
To avoid fatigue, take a nap whenever you are able to. Make sure you take regular breaks from your work & study, and also from the pre-Christmas partying! Aim to get 7-9 hours of ‘shut-eye’ whenever possible (try to turn the lights out by 10 pm). If you’re busy, you’re better off getting up at 6am to do whatever needs to be done. This way, not only will you be more productive throughout the day, but you will be more able to make better decisions (which is vital for maintaining health). By getting up at 6am every morning you can ensure a healthy framework. Have a nourishing breakfast, prepare some healthy snacks & lunch to take with you. You may even have time to plan a simple dinner.
Minimise your stress
It’s simple really – ask for support and try saying ‘no’ once in a while.
You’re not the one being fattened up for Christmas
Don’t make excuses for eating poorly (you’re stressed, you’re tired, you’re too busy). This is the time when you most need to support yourself with your diet. Consistently basing your dietary choices on how you are feeling in the moment, rather than how you want to feel on an ongoing basis, will ‘back-fire’ on you. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t partake in the celebrational indulgences, it just means that party food & drink shouldn’t become the default food group for you over this time.
There are no two ways about it, the process of creating a hangover is jolly rollicking fun. Unfortunately though, having to suffer through ‘the day after the night before’ more than counter-balances all this festive frivolity. While the cause of a hangover is multi-factorial, I think we can all agree on the primary issue — drinking too much! A hangover stems from drinking in excess (not just from drinking alcohol). The best Naturopathic tip I can give you — to prevent a hangover — is not to drink more than two standard drinks in a day. However, if this is unrealistic for you, then you will thank me for the following recommendations:
- Size does matter
Contrary to what most Kiwis think, there are — on average — 8 glasses of wine to the bottle (more if the alcohol content is higher). Therefore a standard drink of wine is approx. 100ml (not a quarter of a bottle).
- Drink high quality, more expensive alcohol.
This way you’ll savour it (sit on it) and you’ll be reluctant to drink large quantities of it.
- Time it right
The best time of the day to metabolise the ‘demon drink’ is generally 5pm—10pm. This makes after-work drinks, and dinner-dates the perfect time to partake in a tipple.
- Chug, chug, chug!|
Make sure you chug back 1 or 2 (250ml) glasses of pure OJ or Coconut Water before you retire for the evening. (Or let the last thing you order at the bar be a glass or two of pure tomato juice).
Don’t make it hard on yourself (and everyone else) by overdoing things. Keep things simple. Make positive choices, have fun, laugh, and relax. Remember: ‘tis the season to be jolly!
Lisa Fitzgibbon Naturopath & Medical Herbalist
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath + Medical Herbalist. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice. Lisa writes the popular health blog: www.lisasaid.so