Christmas is certainly a cherished time by most: a time of joyous celebration with family and friends. A time to take a break from our daily routines, enjoy some (often long overdue) time off and embrace traditions we’ve known and looked forward to since we were little. For many years however, I was never fully capable of truly enjoying this time of the year without also experiencing some conflicting and even unpleasant emotions. The thing is, I like my routines, especially around food and eating; so for a long time, I struggled to find a way to enjoy this festive period whilst also staying grounded in my fitness, nutrition and wellbeing needs.
If you’ve read any of my blogs or watched any of my videos on Youtube you’ll now that food and nutrition was not always an easy subject for me: I don’t have any regrets, in fact through my challenging experiences I learnt most of what I know and I’m now able to help busy professionals overcome their own struggles and heal their relationships with food.
It took me years however to establish healthy and balanced routines around eating and that is why for years I really struggled during the holiday period.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a treat and extravagant meal much like any other person out there however, this time of the year takes indulgence to a whole new level! I know that within the context of daily healthy eating Monday through Friday, a blow out on Saturday night is not going to affect me negatively. In fact I’ve made such occurrence a fundamental part of my routine and I really look forward to it when it comes. I do also always look forward to going back to my healthier and cleaner meals on Sunday.
Christmas is different though: where I’m from in Sicily, we start eating on Christmas eve and hardly take a break until January 2nd! That can be a solid 8 days of consecutive feasts and let me tell you, that’ll put a dent into anyone’s wellbeing, no matter how fit and healthy they are! So how do you navigate this time without completely loosing it and getting to January feeling like you’ve set yourself back a few months? It took me years to figure this out but finally, I’ve come up with a list of 10 top tips that really works for me. They may not ALL apply to your circumstances but I’m sure MANY of them will and I truly hope you can find some inspirations and motivation to make it through this time of the year feeling empowered and in control but equally enjoying it.
So here it goes: top 10 wellness tips for a VERY merry Christmas:
1.Set some non-negotiable boundaries and stick to them NO MATTER WHAT: They don’t have to be many nor do they have to be really strict. Keep them real but also constructive and then stick to them. No matter what. This will make you feel more confident, certain and happy with yourself.
2.Write your non negotiable rules down: just thinking about them is not enough. Pen on paper is a must as it works your neuron-pathways in a different way to help you really engrain the ideas in your consciousness PLUS this will help with tip #3.
3.Read your non negotiable rules every day: a daily reminder of your own commitments to your wellbeing can make ALL the difference and will prevent you from loosing track. Your mind needs training so by reading these guidelines every day you will prevent slip ups that may turn into an “all out” scenario.
4.Share your non negotiable rules openly: I don’t mean just stopping people at the supermarket to tell them all about why you don’t eat chocolate before 5pm. Nor do I mean lecturing your friends and families on all your commitment but if the occasion arises, be honest and open. If your aunt offers you something you committed to not eating, drinking or doing at that moment in time, feel free to tell her about your non-negotiable boundaries, why you’ve come with them and how they help you stay on track. You never know, you may just inspire someone to improve their own approach. As long as your stance is non judgmental and non-preachy, it will go a LONG way.
5.Drink water: lots of it. Every. Single. Day. Otherwise you’ll increase the risk of feeling sluggish, bloated and not energized. Not to mention drinking water helps to flush any extra toxins, keeps your bowel movements regular AND prevents you from over-eating (sometimes we think we’re hungry when in fact we’re just thirsty).
6.Eat raw fruit EVERY SINGLE DAY. The more fiber you eat, the better. This is true at any time of the year but especially when you’re eating more elaborate foods than usual. This will also make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamins and minerals, not just empty calories from chocolates and cookies. Plus a pice of fruit or raw veggie can cleanse the pallet AND will make you feel very good about yourself!
7.Eat raw vegetables EVERY SINGLE DAY. See above!
8.Move your body EVERY SINGLE DAY. DISCLAIMER: it does NOT have to mean going to the gym. I completely appreciate that you may want or need to take a break from your traditional fitness routine but if you can find a way to stay active every single day, you’ll feel SO much better for it not just physically but also and most importantly emotionally. You can dance to your favorite xmas tunes, go for a walk in nature or play active games with the kids in the house. Anything will do and if it’s fun, even better!
9.Spend some time alone, even just a few minutes, EVERY SINGLE DAY. As much as we (mostly) enjoy re-connecting with family and friends, it can get a bit overwhelming to jump from one social engagement to the next for a solid week or more. Make sure you make time for silence and solitude daily. Even if it’s just a few minutes. This will make you feel more grounded and prevent possible burn outs and feelings of resentment.
10.Remember it’s only once a year so after all is said and done, make sure you have fun and truly cherish every single moment you spend with your loved ones.
Happy holidays everyone, wishing you a truly magical, peaceful and joyous time. See you on the other side 😉