The holidays can be a stressful time for all of us, and that stress can take its toll on our health too. So, this year, why not try a different approach that combines all the fun of the festive season with maintaining your health and wellness? Here’s our top tips for healthier, happier holidays.
Don’t leave everything to the last minute. By planning ahead, you can organize your thoughts and your time, and feel less stressed as a result. Write some lists, set a budget, and make sure you don’t try and fill every waking minute with activity. Allow some rest time for you, and plenty of fun time with family, friends and neighbours.
Drink in moderation
Social drinking is very much a part of todays’ Christmas celebrations, but bear in mind that alcohol is a depressant, and can change your mood and behaviour. Limiting your alcohol intake is better for your health and wellbeing.
Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines recommend:
- 0-2 drinks a day, up to 10 drinks a week
- no more than 3 drinks on any single occasion
- 0-3 drinks a day, up to 15 drinks a week
- no more than 4 drinks on any single occasion
You should also plan two non-drinking days per week, so set these aside in your holiday calendar.
Don’t try and ‘keep up’ with other drinkers, as, according to the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,
“The speed at which people absorb, distribute, and metabolize alcohol varies as much as three or four times between individuals.”
Alternating alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks will enable you to enjoying the social experience, while limiting your units of alcohol intake. The Canada Guidelines recommend you drink slowly, and do not have more than 2 drinks in 3 hours. Make sure you remain within the recommended limits, eat before and while you are drinking, and of course, don’t drink and drive.
Eat well, feel great
At this time of year, every TV commercial seems to suggest we need tables laden with rich foods, and endless boxes of candies and chocolates, just to survive Christmas Day. Sustained over a whole festive period, this excessive diet can make us feel tired, lethargic and push our sugar intake to very high levels.
Instead, make sure your Christmas meals maintain a healthy balance of protein, vegetables, carbohydrates, and omega 3 sources. In fact, a standard serving of a traditional Christmas dinner does just that – turkey for protein, potatoes for carbs, plenty of vegetables and cranberry sauce, a natural source of antioxidants.
You don’t have to follow tradition either; if you and your family love a curry, for example, why not create a special Christmas one that you can all enjoy, is easy to prepare, and gives you more time to play with the kids or grandchildren.
If you find your energy levels falling, do something active. Physical activity releases endorphins into our bodies, the feel-good chemicals that help us relax, feel happy and lift our mood. So, go for it – dance to some classic Christmas songs, play party games, have a snowball fight, walk the dog (they’ll be glad to get outside too), go bowling, curling, or even shopping.
London has lots to enjoy over the holidays: enjoy ice skating in the Storybook Gardens, visit the Winter Wonderland in Victoria Park, take in a performance of “A Christmas Carol” at the Grand Theatre, or enjoy the excitement of the London Lightning basketball team in action at Budweiser Gardens. For carol concerts and lots more to enjoy, see the To Do Canada website.
When we interact with people, our mental and physical wellbeing improves due to the release of oxytocin, which helps our immune system, cognitive function, and heart. If you’ve got a houseful for Christmas, make time to contact those who are not present too – video messaging on mobile devices using Skype or similar offers the chance to interact more than just by phone.
Also, spare a thought for those who may be alone, and perhaps help them too by volunteering with an Ontario charity over the holidays.
Make sure that the holidays are just that, a holiday for everyone, including you. Plan out some ‘me’ time when you can do what you enjoy, relax and recharge your mental batteries. Why not treat yourself to a relaxing treatment at the ReJuv Spa here at AMG London, the perfect way to unwind and improve the appearance of your skin too!
New year, new you
Whatever you’re doing this Christmas, we hope you have a really enjoyable time. Our healthcare professionals and lifestyle medicine specialists will be here to help you towards better health and wellness in 2018, and we hold events here for our community to enjoy, from ballet classes to tapas evenings. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates on our events and services, and we look forward to welcoming you to AMG London in 2018.