My adrenalin is pumping through my veins. On top of my normal busy whirlwind of life all this Pre-Xmas craze has been added. Writing Xmas cards. Buying and making all the Xmas presents. I am going through all the names of family members, friends and clients over and over in my head to ensure I have not forgotten anyone. There is no weekend or evening that has no social Xmas commitment spelt in big red letters on my agenda – meaning lots of crappy food and probably too much booze than good for me too. Yes, it surely is this silly time of the year again and I can feel I am at the edge of total unhealthy overwhelm. Can you relate?
Here are my 5 simple tips on how to make it through those weeks leading up to Xmas and the festive season itself in a fairly sane way and without falling too much off your healthy game.
Step 1. Breathe
Take a mental and physical step away from all that is going on in your busy mind and breathe. Plan your day so you have at least 20 minutes in the morning, at lunch time and in the evening to actively reverse your stress levels and reduce those cortisol hormones pumping through your veins by practicing some breathing exercises. Find a quiet spot in nature, your garden or your house where you can find peaceful tranquillity, a sense of inner calm and tune into your deep belly breathing. First fill your belly with air, let it totally expand – which can feel really awkward since we are most of the time busy with sucking our bellies in for a flat supermodel tummy appearance – and then do the same with your chest. Slow and deepen your breath with every inhale and let the exhalation simply be soft. I know those thoughts will not simply quieten down or go away, just because you started to breathe deeply. One and a million things will pop into your busy mind. Simply observe all those thoughts entering and then, as swiftly and smoothly, let them go again. Try not to criticise yourself if new crazy thoughts come your way. If 20 minutes seems a bit too ambitious in your insane world of getting things done, start with less. Make it fit into your life and work for the unique, amazing, wonderful human being that YOU are. By balancing your stress levels and hormones through the simple art of deep breathing, you are inviting an incredible and very welcome sense of calm alertness into your life. Instead of experiencing overwhelm and Xmas panic, you will feel empowered with your newly gained productivity and efficiency with which you can now cross all those million things off your to-do-list. Instead of activating your sympathetic nervous system and going into fight and flight and probably down a few other inflammatory pathways you have switched on your parasympathetic nervous system – your superpower of calm and self-control.
Step 2. Jump back into the health saddle
Just because you have eaten more unhealthily than you would have liked to, consumed too much alcohol and got trapped into the old sugar game, it does not mean you cannot simply go back to your wholesome plan of feeling amazing. It is what you do on most days – that is 80 per cent of your time – that will give you those glowing results you are after. It does not mean that all your hard work is now totally undone and therefore you might as well stay off your healthy path. No!!! It is okay to fall off your healthy saddle once in a while or to step deliberately off, it is what gives life its sweet zest (literally I guess). But because this fun is usually very short lived and does not make you feel good on the long run in your gorgeous self, it is important to as soon and quickly as possible get back onto your healthy super-train and routine so you can be this most vibrant, radiant, happy version of yourself. Which is why now is the perfect moment to grab a glass of refreshing, alkalising, cleansing lemon water, to dust your runners off, fill your fridge with wholesome, health-giving, beautifying greens and get right back into your self-nurturing routine towards divine awesomeness.
Step 3. Keep moving
I know eating foods that do not truly nourish your beautiful self, can make you feel sluggish, tired, exhausted and if all of this was not enough, they also trigger cravings. With all the rest that is going on in your busy life right now, it takes quite a lot of self-determination to keep your gorgeous body moving. Or maybe it simply takes a little wake-up call (Hello, this is the call you have been waiting for, it totally shouts out YOUR name) and a bloody good routine that you can make fit into your crazy pre-Xmas existence. Keeping your exercise routine up and going – or developing a new one for the fun of it – especially now, when things are a little bit out of control, your nutrition is all over the place and your head so full it feels very close to some unsightly brain explosion, is more critical and health-giving than ever. It will help you flush out those toxins you might have been a little bit over-consuming lately. It will keep your mind sharp and clear. It will help you to burn those excess calories quicker but most importantly of all, it will make you feel good about yourself. It is your ME- time where you energise and nurture your beautiful body. Not only will regular movement unleash all those happy hormones – which means you are much more capable and apt to dealing with all your Xmas stress – but you will also find yourself working much more productively and effectively. Try it for yourself!
Step 4. Pile up on those greens
For every ‘cheat meal’, Xmas dinner, lunch or party, for every Xmas cake, punch, drinks or cute biscuits full of empty calories, pile extra greens onto your plate. It is the amazing healthful power that is only inherent those magic plant-foods that you want to tap into now more than ever. Fresh salads, raw and cooked vegetables in all the colours of the rainbow and to lesser amounts fresh sweet juicy fruits is what your body needs to heal, detox, cleanse and beautify. Did you know that your truly amazing physical self, has amazing antioxidant powers it can use to re-balance itself and fight off any free radicals that are trying to create havoc? But in times when there are multiple stressors attacking your body via food, drink, turbulent hormone levels, exposure to chemicals and environmental pollutants, you might want to give it a little bit of a hand with all the antioxidant action by nourishing it with foods that fight those harmful oxidants off too. Foods that are rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, beta carotenes, flavonoids, catechins and polyphenols are your best friends now and your best insurance policy to make it radiant, beautiful and healthy through this somewhat lunatic season.
Step 5. Drink up on water
Your body is always and at all times trying to keep homeostasis and all its systems in beautiful, healthy balance. Not always an easy job for it to do. Especially not at the moment when confronted with more sugary foods, unhealthy fats, alcohol, less sleep, higher stress levels, potentially less movement and so on. What your body needs to rid itself as quickly as possible from harmful substances while staying hydrated and functioning at its best is water. A lot of it. So, help your body and nurture it with delicious, re-hydrating, cleansing water. Start your day with fresh lemon water and then set yourself reminders for every hour of your long day to nurture your gorgeous self with another glass of this beautifying life-giving elixir of H2O. And if this is too boring for you and you are longing for more taste and fun, then by all means add some zing and zest to your water and life. How about enjoying some water infused with frozen berries, lemon or mint? Or maybe you could try out deliciously fruity or herbal infusions of all various kinds? Get creative and make your water not only healthful and beautifying but also deliciously creative.
It really is as easy as taking those little 4 simple steps to stay on top of your healthy game. Trust me. Right now, everything might seem a bit out of sorts, overwhelming and complicated, but once you start implicating those easy tools in your deranged pre-Xmas life, you will see how very quickly and almost effortless everything will fall back into its radiant, feel-good, energised place of best self. Now that we have this sorted, how about embracing and truly enjoying this crazy, yes, but also very magical time of the year?!!!