If you’re looking forward to the party season but would like to avoid the usual January slump that follows the inevitable overindulgences, now’s time to get fighting fit ahead of the Christmas chaos. Blogger Phoebe Doyle shares her five tips for getting your body ready for the revelry...
1. Plan and stick to an exercise regime
I find that caption a whole lot easier to type than to execute! But if you can accomplish this with still a few weeks to go, you’re bound to feel more energetic and ready to cope with the impending mayhem.
It’s time to start thinking of exercise as a priority. This might mean putting it in your diary, calendar or phone. You don’t miss meetings, forget to pick the kids up, or prepare meals, so you can stick to things that are important… and exercise really is. The endorphins that are released can help with stress and the improved stamina will help you keep up your energy levels during the season of socialising.
Another motivational trick is to find someone to kick this fitness regime off with. You’re much less likely to just not go if you have someone waiting for you – and it can help exercise become fun which will mean you may even want to go.
If you haven’t exercised in a long time, even small changes can make a big difference. Try fitting some extra steps into your day. Perhaps take the stairs rather than the lift, or get off your bus a stop early. Most importantly, try to find an activity that you really enjoy, that way you’re far more likely to stick to it.
2. Eat well
You may be looking forward to ditching any attempt at watching what you eat when Christmas is in full swing, but in the build-up it helps to remain relatively strict about regular meal times and healthy snacks. Let it all slip too early and your immune system could suffer; coming down with a cold may mean you end up missing the whole shebang.
Simple changes can make a big difference. Having lots of raw fruit and vegetables on hand as snacks will help you say ‘no’ to chocolate until Christmas. Make sure you don’t skip breakfast and try to cut out unhealthy take-aways.
3. Stay chilled
Apparently many people say Christmas is the most stressful thing in their lives, often second only to financial worries. To help dispel stresses and strains, try not to think that everyone is expecting perfection; your guests will want to have fun, not scrutinise your table colour scheme or even your Nigella-esque cooking skills. Just get well prepared with lists of what needs to be bought when and what needs to be done when and work through it methodically.
Try and remember some of that excitement from childhood – you weren’t bothered about the intricacies of the catering then were you? Enjoy preparing, enjoy cooking for others and get ready to really, really enjoy the day – it’s the only way to ensure your guests will.
That’s right rest – I know, in the lead-up to Christmas that very concept may seem alien, but it’ll really help in the long run. Go to bed early, have a cut-off point for finishing jobs each evening and take some time for you; watch trash on TV, read a magazine, have a bath… you’ll get everything wrapped, iced and cooked, all in good time.
Keep in mind that at Christmas your sleep may be disturbed with later nights and later starts. All of this disruption to your sleeping pattern should be kept to a minimum so try not to let it creep in too early.
Think ‘de-tox’ but this is preparing for the inevitable, rather than piecing yourself together again afterwards.
This doesn’t mean going on a crash diet, which will only leave you drained. Instead drink plenty of still water for hydration, take a multivitamin (one with Vitamin D is ideal during these winter months) and reduce caffeine intake as this can affect hydration and disturb sleep. It’s a good idea to minimise alcohol intake at this point too: Alcohol tends to be high in empty calories that don’t do anything for your health or well-being; instead stick to juices, herbal teas and water. That way you can polish your halo and get ready to party!
Phoebe Doyle blogs at TremendouslyTwo.com