Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Surviving Christmas

Christmas may be a magical time of year, 
but it’s also a time of financial stress, frazzled schedules and new aches and sniffles every day. 
The festive period really takes a toll on our minds and our bodies, so today I thought I'd share with 
you ten top tips for surviving the Christmas festivities and sailing on through to New Year…
1. I know you know, but I’m going to say it anyway: too much alcohol always results in a hangover! According to Alcohol Concern, we underestimate exactly how much we drink, which can lead to all sorts of short and long-term health issues, including diabetes and high blood pressure. In order to stay in control and avoid the dreaded hangover ruining your Christmas dinner, download the DrinkAware: Track and Calculate Units app.

2. Whether it’s flu or just the common cold, the festive season is prime germ-swapping season, what with all the festive dancing, well-wishing hugs and kissing under the mistletoe. The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS as an annual injection to adults over the age of 18 at risk of flu (including everyone over 65) and children aged six months to two years at risk of flu, so make sure you get yourself, and your family protected. However, the best way to avoid germs, and spreading germs further, is to wash your hands with soap and warm water and abide by the Government’s ‘Catch It, Bin It, Kill It’ advice.

3. With all the fun Christmas brings, it also brings a lot more stress. Many of us believe that the ‘perfect’ Christmas with happy children, well-rested parents and families getting along, is achievable; be realistic and have a plan for the big day. Don’t leave things until the last minute, assign tasks to every family member and make sure you and your partner know one another’s stress signs and are on the same page, and things should run as smoothly as they can.

4. Research has shown that laughter can help protect against heart disease, as well as releasing feel-good endorphins; so instead of getting stressed when doing your Christmas gift buying, stay at home and watch a Christmas comedy with the family instead.

5. Traditionally the time to change our lives, the New Year inspires us all, however it’s not the only time you’re allowed to quit those bad habits. Don’t wait until January 1st to quit smoking – do it now! You’ll be healthier sooner and you’ll save money sooner, meaning you’ll have more cash to splash on your loved ones this festive season; or you could start saving for that summer getaway early.

6. Chocolate coins, selection boxes and tins of sweets – all of these delicious treats are common sights during the festive season, but one sure fire way to stay healthy during Christmas is to ensure you get your five a day. There are some great British vegetables in season during November and December, and who can forget tasty and tangy tangerines and satsumas!

7. Talking of your health, many Brits (particularly women) suffer with low vitamin D from November to April, so make sure you don’t spend all day indoors. Get outside for at least 20 minutes each day, without sunscreen (yes, even the sunscreen in your daily moisturiser can affect how much vitamin D your skin absorbs) and consider taking a multi-vitamin supplement during the winter months to stay in tiptop condition. 

8. An easy way to get outdoors, and get your daily dose of vit-D is to go for a walk. Research shows that just 30 minutes of walking each day reduces depression and lifts your mood. Not only is walking great for your mental well-being but it’ll also help keep those Christmas calories at bay.

9. Stress, partying and excitement all take their toll, especially when it comes to our sleep. Ensuring you get eight hours of sleep each night is one way to arm yourself against everything Christmas throws at you, but if eight hours is simply not possible, try power naps; go to bed when you’re sleepy and try not to sleep for more than 15 minutes and do not, under any circumstance, lay in. Also, keep all electronic gadgets out of the bedroom.

10. Finally, count your blessings. Christmas is the season of goodwill but it can breed resentment, so try making a list of five things you’re grateful for each day. Be thankful for what you have and you’ll soon forget about the things you don’t.

Happy Hump Day!
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