12 Tips for a festive season that leaves you feeling merry and light

The words ‘healthy’ and ‘Christmas’ can sometimes seem like oxymorons. 

After all, with so much merriment, food and alcohol around, how on earth are we supposed to eat healthily and squeeze in exercise, too? It can sometimes seem like too much of a mountain to climb.

The excellent news is that, with a little bit of determination and the right mindset, you can have the time of your life this festive season without a side serving of guilt. Doesn’t that sound good?

It’s all about making sure you’re looking after your mind and body, not just thinking about what’s going to make you feel good right now, but considering how you’re going to feel tomorrow, next week and next year. Which isn’t too far off.

πŸŽ„Are you ready to do things a little differently this year? 

Read on for 12 tips of Christmas that should help you feeling happy and healthy come January.

πŸŽ„1. Everything in moderation

You’re no stranger to the phrase everything in moderation, but it’s a cliché for a reason. Because it’s true. 

You shouldn’t be denying yourself all the things you’re craving, but you shouldn’t be binging either. You definitely shouldn’t feel like you need to be running 10km every day, but you shouldn’t be sitting on the sofa for hours and hours on end either.

It’s all about striking the right balance between enjoying the things you love eating and doing at this time of year, taking some tome to relax and recharge and still nourishing and moving your body.

πŸŽ„2. When it comes to food, there’s no such thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’

The last thing you should be doing at Christmas is falling into the trap of thinking that certain foods are ‘good’ or virtuous and that other foods are ‘bad’ or naughty. 

There’s absolutely no such thing as a good or bad food. Your focus should be on making sure that your food is as nourishing as possible, and on really listening to your body.

Don’t punish yourself if you eat foods that are high in sugar or fat, which you’re bound to at this time of year. Eat them, savour them, enjoy them (just try not to binge them).

πŸŽ„3. Make exercise fun

Exercise should be something you enjoy doing at all times of year, and if it isn’t, you might need to find a different way of getting active.

But at Christmas, mix things up so that you’re sure of having a great time whilst you’re moving your body.

Sign up for a Santa run. Get the family down to the local park for a game of tag. Go swimming in the sea on Christmas Day. Be creative and put the emphasis on the fun!

πŸŽ„4. Make fun exercise

Just as you can turn exercise into an excuse for fun, make sure that any organised fun includes a dose of exercise. 

When you’re making plans for get-togethers with family and friends, think about how you can work in a bit of activity. Get your friends together to go ice skating. Head for your local ski slope. Go out for a walk in the countryside (ending in a pub, of course).

Even if you’re just spending time together around the house, you can still be active. You can still play the traditional game of Monopoly, but if you’ve got the space then why not try a game of Hide and Seek or Sardines too?

πŸŽ„5. Make a family walk a new Christmas tradition

This might already be a tradition in your household, but one of my favourite parts of Christmas Day is our traditional walk in the countryside. 

It’s the best way to break up the day and means you all work up a healthy appetite for lunch. Getting everyone out of the house can also mean that you don’t all go stir crazy and start arguing before the roast potatoes are even out of the oven.

Wrap up warm and head somewhere beautiful and take a moment to appreciate the peace and quiet around you. If you’re really lucky, a few snowflakes might even fall.

πŸŽ„6. Buy presents that are an excuse for activity

If you’re doing the present thing, give some thought to the possibility of gifts that would be a reason for you all to get active together.

Go for games that will have you all on your feet, or toys that the kids will be desperate to get out into the garden or down to the park to play with.

πŸŽ„7. Start the day right

At this time of year, time just seems to fly by, and there’s always something to do, or watch, or someone to visit. So, your plan to go for a run in the middle of the day might quickly go out of the window.

The best tactic, I find, is to tick exercise off the list first thing in the morning, with a walk, run or home workout, even if you don’t usually exercise at this time. 

That way, any other exercise you do manage to squeeze in is a bonus, but you can rest easy knowing you’ve already ticked that box for the day.

πŸŽ„8. Water, water and more water

When you wake up in the morning, have a glass of water. And then keep drinking water all day long. 

If you’re hungry, have a glass of water before you eat to make sure you’re not confusing hunger and thirst.

Be aware that just because you don’t necessarily feel as thirsty when it’s cold, you can still get dehydrated just as easily.

If you’re drinking alcohol, then drink a glass of water for every glass of wine or pint of beer you drink. You’ll be glad you did in the morning.

πŸŽ„9. Put a few rules in place

This is a time of year to relax and unwind, but some people still find that putting a few ground rules in place can help them to enjoy themselves more.

For example, you might decide to limit yourself to one mince pie a day. You might decide that you’re not going to start drinking before 6pm (except maybe on Christmas Day itself if you can’t resist the Bucks Fizz). 

You might decide that you’re going to have a certain number of nights a week booze-free. You might decide that you’ll do a 10-minute HIIT workout every morning, come what may. You might decide that your 7 portions of fruit and veg a day are absolutely categorically non-negotiable.

Think about what you know your weaknesses are at this time of year, and set yourself a few rules to overcome them. 

It’s not about limiting yourself, but about putting boundaries in place that will help you have a better time, because you won’t feel sluggish, tired, bloated… the list goes on.

πŸŽ„10. Dance

At your office party, don’t spend all night propping up the bar. Get on the dance floor. Get the family up and boogying on Christmas Day. Whenever there’s a chance to move those feet of yours, take it.

πŸŽ„11. Treat yourself

Whatever you do, don’t go through the whole festive season denying yourself all the treats you love the most. Enjoy them. Appreciate them. Be mindful about them. 

Give yourself permission to relax, rather than chasing around after everyone else, trying to make sure that they’re all having a good time. You should be having a good time too.

πŸŽ„12. Sit back, relax and have fun

Don’t see Christmas as a trail, or a chore. It’s a chance to let your hair down and spend time with the ones you love. 

Sure, there’ll be difficult moments and sure, there’ll be temptation, but if you’ve got the right mindset then you can enjoy the fun and still feel good about yourself once January rolls around.

What’s the one thing you’re most looking forward to about Christmas? We'd love to know, so reach out on our socials @seansalingerfitness


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