Steps to Having a Healthier Christmas

We all like to indulge over Christmas but following the advice below will avoid over-indulging.  You will be given tips to enjoy the festive season and get through Christmas without adversely impacting your health.

Be Alcohol Aware

From Christmas catch-ups with friends, office parties and family gatherings, not to mention New Year celebrations it is easy to lose track of how many units of alcohol you are consuming.  Follow these tips to ensure you make the most of the festivities but stay within guidelines.

  • Allocate alcohol free days
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach
  • Pace yourself; alternate between an alcoholic drink and water
  • Avoid drinking before you go out or have guests over

Try low or no alcohol alternatives

  • Be mindful of the Health Department advice; To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.

Be Active

While you may be tempted to curl up and sleep after that hearty Christmas lunch, for a better health option, consider going for a walk, not only can this improve digestion it can also;

  • Decrease stress
  • Improve blood sugar levels
  • Aid better sleep

A brisk walk where you can easily converse is all that’s needed.

Look for healthy alternatives to the traditional Christmas dinner and party foods

Christmas time is the one time of the year where we let ourselves eat what we want and get away with it.  If you want to avoid excessive calories, you can look for healthy alternatives.

There are lots of useful websites that offer variations to the traditional Christmas Dinner and party food that won’t pile on the kilo’s.

www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-recipes

www.kidspot.com.au/kitchen/recipes/collections/healthy-party-food

www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g4778/healthy-appetizers/

www.livelighter.com.au/Top-Tips/Healthy-At-Home

www.taste.com.au/recipes/collections/healthy-christmas-recipes

Avoid Stressful Situations

Preparing a meal for family and friends can be enjoyable but tiring and stressful at the same time. To help reduce the stress of Christmas cooking you could:

  • If cooking Christmas Dinner at home, delegate tasks, you don’t need to do it all yourself.
  • Consider keeping it simple – you could do a buffet-style lunch where everyone brings a platter
  • Write a timetable, i.e. when to put the turkey in the over or whatever suits your cooking agenda
  • Make a list of ingredients
  • Consider doing an online food shop

Stress, anxiety and depression are common during the festive season and can be compounded at the thought of large family gatherings.  Strategies to reduce stress include:

  • Set realistic expectations
  • Avoid known triggers. If someone brings up a touchy subject, use a distraction and quickly change the subject
  • Get everyone involved in after-dinner activities, keeping everyone busy should decrease the likely hood of arguments

Be Kind

Research shows that being kind to others can actually make us genuinely happy in a number of different ways.

There are many ways to show kindness at Christmas and they don’t all involve spending money.  Here are just a few:

  • Pay for someone’s groceries behind you in line.
  • Take lunch, cookies, or cupcakes to your local fire department and/or police department.
  • Put sticky notes with positive messages in public places.
  • Sing Christmas Carols, play board games, or just visit with senior citizens at a nursing home.
  • Sing an employee’s praises to a manager or on a comment card — a little recognition goes a long way.
  • Let someone go ahead of you in the checkout line.
  • Invite someone you suspect will be alone to spend your holiday celebrations with you.

Have a happy, healthy festive season!

Useful Links

www.healthdirect.gov.au/beating-christmas-stress-and-anxiety

www.drinkwise.org.au/

www.drugaware.com.au/getting-the-facts/drug-types/alcohol

www.health.gov.au

www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/12-practical-tips-stay-fit-for-christmas

www.fitnessfirst.com.au/getthere/life/travel/12-ways-to-stay-active-on-holidays

Resources

www.realbuzz.com/articles-interests/festive-health-fitness/article/10-ways-to-a-healthier-christmas/

www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/christmas-tips-to-reduce-the-stress

www.theconversation.com/five-reasons-why-being-kind-makes-you-feel-good-according-to-science-92459

www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/40-random-acts-christmas-kindness/