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Your guide to the festive season

Living a healthy and mindful lifestyle is all about consistency and maintaining balance, especially when it comes to food, drink, sleep and stress management. The trick is to achieve that balance without missing out on the good times. Ah (sigh), if only it were so easy. Well, we all know that the busy festive season is abound with opportunities to over-indulge or stay up late, and that can potentially wreak havoc with balance if you’re not mindful. However, by paying attention, (non judgmentally of course), to what we’re eating, drinking and to whether we’re getting enough sleep, an awareness should prevent us from consistently going overboard and regretting our choices. Being in the right head space, should also make it easier to get those Xmas tasks done, without leaving everything to the last minute. Here’s a few things to be mindful of during the festive season that should hopefully make for smoothly sailing through the silly season.

Try to keep regular hours - Sure, getting 8 or so hours of sleep every night can be challenging during the festive season, but regular sleeping hours are essential if you want to get through this period unscathed. A consistent bed time and wake time is the corner stone of a healthy sleep routine and should, all going well, make both falling asleep and waking up easier. Make sure your room is quiet, dark enough and the right temperature to avoid restlessness. Be aware of partner disturbance (whether they’re restless sleepers, or keeping different hours to you) and consider a mattress that feels right for you both, is the right size, and minimizes disturbance every time one of you rolls over.

Curb excessive consumption - When trying to avoid over-indulging at yet another Christmas party, it can be a good idea to plan ahead. Try to eat a meal that includes protein and plenty of vegetables before going to the party so you don’t arrive absolutely ravenous. Once at the party, remember not all cocktail food is created equal. Lean protein choices such as sushi, frittata or meatballs are going to make you feel better than opting for the fried and pastry based bites. The same advice applies to your alcohol consumption - plan ahead, set yourself a limit for the evening and try to alternate alcohol with water or soda water. This should not only make you feel better in the morning, but will slow down your actual alcohol (and calorie) intake.

Be selective and learn how to say no - don’t let FOMO get the better of you this Christmas - learn how to be picky about what you commit to this Christmas. Obviously the old ‘washing your hair’ excuse won’t fly for certain work events, or your son’s end of year concert, but remember you don’t have to go to everything! Keep in mind that it’s those close to us that suffer (most importantly YOU) when we’re run down and cranky. And you won’t have fun at any of the events if you’re constantly on the verge of getting sick (or a Christmas breakdown) so pace yourself, accept only the events that are important . The same philosophy applies to the menu at above mentioned Christmas lunches. You don’t have to eat every course on the menu just because it’s that time of year!

Mindfulness and meditation - nothing is more stressful for many of us than the Christmas countdown and a calendar full of events. Combine that with a lengthy ‘to do’ list, busy shopping centres and the thought of entertaining for family on Christmas day, and you could be creeping into meltdown territory. Making time for yourself is so important in order to recharge and find that energy to keep on ‘giving’. In the words of Brazilian writer Paulo Coehlo "Without solitude Love will not stay long by your side. Because Love needs to rest as well, so that it can journey through the heavens and reveal itself in other forms.” Think of the ways that work for you in order to find that solitude and calm. Whether it’s going for a walk through the park (as opposed to the shopping centre parking lot), reading a good book, trying meditation or yoga, ensure that you make YOU time a priority.

Above all else, the festive season should be a joyful period. Amidst the chaos, remember to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas; spending precious time with family and friends, the sense of accomplishment that the end of year brings, and a time to let loved ones know they are loved. Happy holidays to you all!

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