While December might be the most magical time of the year, it’s also the most exhausting, stressful and booze-filled period. Here are our top 12 tips to stay physically and mentally healthy this holiday period:
1-Watch your spending – 37% of Australians start the New Year in debt due to Christmas overspending. 1 in 4 people will take 5 months to pay that back. Avoid extra stress by monitoring your finances and sticking to a budget. Consider a secret Santa instead of buying gifts for multiple people, asking guests to bring a dish of food and try to pay for most things outright rather than using credit card.
2 – Get your sleep - Missing a few hours sleep each night causes your body to release hormones that make you crave sugary foods and can lead to extra weight gain over the holidays. It can also make you more irritable and less tolerant at those family events. Aim to stick to your regular sleep schedule and try to limit your late nights to no more than 1 hour off your regular bedtime. If you’re sleeping in a different bed, take your own pillow for a more restful night and to help prevent neck pain while you sleep.
3- Don’t skip meals - To avoid a sugar crash and reduce the temptation to snack on treats, eat 3 main meals throughout the day. Eat a breakfast that’s full of protein and healthy fats to start the day off right.
4 – Don’t overindulge - The average person puts on between 0.8kg and 1.5kg over Christmas. It takes the brain 20 minutes to know if you’re full or not. So before you go back for seconds or reach for the next snack, wait this amount of time to see if you actually need it.
5 – Watch your alcohol - In Australia the weekly average alcohol intake triples over the festive season. Drinking too much can impact on your quality of sleep, cause you to eat bad foods and leave you hung-over the next day. To help, leave 2-3 hours between your last drink and going to bed and fill up on protein based foods, fruit and veggies before drinking to help you feel fuller for longer and give the body the fuel it needs to process the alcohol.
6 – Keep up your water - Excessive sugar, carbohydrates and alcohol can leave you feeling dehydrated and bloated. Aim for 2-3L of water per day to help flush toxins and reduce your hangover.
7 – Keep up the exercise – Staying active will help keep you energised, reduce holiday stress and mitigate the extra calories consumed over Christmas. Try to exercise first thing in the morning before it gets too busy and to beat the heat. Don’t forget resistance bands are easy to take with you anywhere and walking is a great way to see your holiday destination.
8 – Perform in seat exercises – Simple exercises such as ankle figure 8’s, shoulder shrugs, glute squeezes and neck rolls can help promote circulation and prevent muscle aches while you’re sitting in the car or on a plane these holidays.
9 – Use a lumbar support - Place a jumper or rolled up towel behind the arch of your lower back to keep you more upright and prevent slouching when sitting in the car for long periods.
10 – Avoid high heels –Heels place your foot in a downward position, increasing pressure on the balls of your feet and causing the hips and knees to shift forward. In order to maintain your balance, your back and neck must then shift in position too. All these changes cause poor posture, pain and tension. Reduce the effects of high heels by wearing a smaller and thicker heel or swapping to platform shoes.
11- Avoid social burnout - Social burnout occurs when people get physically exhausted and emotionally drained by repeated social events. To avoid this, try prioritizing the events that appeal the most to you. Or, if you want to attend more, consider just stopping by rather than staying the whole time.
12 – Save time to recharge – 88% of people feel the holiday season is the most stressful time of the year. Remember, Christmas is also a time to rest and prepare yourself for the New Year. Prioritise time to do things that help you relax and distress; log off your emails, finish that book you started months ago and get outside to enjoy the sunshine.
Our Chiropractors wish you all a happy holiday season and a safe New Year!
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