Christmas is only 4 weeks away... and while we all look forward to the festivities, food and fun with family and friends; it is also one of the busiest times of year.
Although thinking about our health and wellness during this time may not be on the top of the to-do list; by simply adding these four things, you will find that you not only get through the silly season with flying colours – you will thrive!
Here are our four top tips for not only surviving but THRIVING this holiday season:1. Carve out time for Active Family Fun!
Running around organising everything can feel exhausting, having specific time for exercise in times of increased stress is not only good for the body but your brain too. Combine your exercise with family time and have fun!
Endorphins are powerful hormones released in our body when we exercise AND when we laugh. Why not combine the two? In the lead up to Christmas, even in the final weeks of school term – a simple 30mins at the park together or running along the sand at the beach splashing water will give you and your family an endorphin and energy boost!
Once Christmas arrives with the exciting new Christmas toys that encourage outdoor play will further the opportunity to get out doors and exercise. Riding bikes/scooters, swimming, hiking and going on adventures to explore the beach and surrounds are all wonderful ways to exercise and have fun together.
We all have to agree that one of the best parts of Christmas is the food! Sitting down with your loved ones and enjoying a spread of all your favourites is a very special thing.
Not only does food fill our bellies, but it also fills our hearts. There is a beautiful emotional connection and nostalgic experience when it comes to food, particularly in times of celebration.
This year aim to have 2 to 3 vegetable dishes to every meat or carb heavy meal. Mixing in more vegetables and salads into your Christmas spread, will not only help prevent the Santa belly bulge after lunch but help you feel more energised.
Digestion works better and we feel better when there is a balance of healthy carbs (from fresh fruits and vegies), good fats and smaller amounts of protein. When you eagerly dish up your Christmas plate aim to make it as colourful as possible by following these simple tips.
- 1/2 to 2/3 of the plate - a colourful mix of salads & vegetables
- Two fingers worth of good healthy fats (avocado, oils etc)
- A 1/4 of the plate can be your delicious Christmas meats/protein
- Finally a touch of the extra heavy and indulgent food that is typically white! Your pasta bakes, potato bakes, garlic breads and other cheesy delights.
3. Give Yourself Some Slow Time.Holidays are hectic at the best of time, however there is nothing worse then getting to the end of your holiday and needing another holiday! Holidays are a time to unwind, rest the brain and rest the body. Research shows that learning to be idle, bored even, is magical for children’s growth and development (and adults health!). It provides a space to be creative and to learn to simply ‘be’. A difficult concept in this busy and always engaged world!
Taking the time to slow down especially at the end of the year allows for recovery but also reflection. Plan quiet days either at home or while you’re away on holidays. This might include simple craft days, reading and some movie mornings that the whole family will enjoy. Further ways to help the body and brain to wind down include;
- During the day create new boundaries around screen time and encouraging outdoor pottering, play and creative time. Although it’s tempting for children to play their new games all day, it doesn’t provide rest for the brain. Encourage limited usage by having an end time and an outing for the family to help the transition.
- Have a book reading morning, where you head to the park and all aim to read at least one chapter while lying out on the a picnic blanket
- Once the sun goes down, allow your family to follow that wind-down rhythm by using warm lighting rather than white bright lights. You can also dim down lights, use low voltage lamps instead ceiling lights. Turning off screens both TV and devises. You can also use battery powered candles that provide flickering dim lighting (safer during Fire Season), all of which help calm the nervous system. This is the perfect time to play board games, cards or do puzzles.
4. Practice Gratefulness & Look For The Beauty In Every Moment.
fiinally, take the time to look around you and see the magic in the simple things. What makes your heart glow with love and appreciation?
Is it the way your child smiles with excitement? Or the moment that you stroke your child’s face as they drift off to sleep? Is it seeing your children/cousins/friends all playing together?
Is it the fact that no matter how busy everyone was, your family all came together to sit at the same table to lunch? Perhaps it’s the cracking on the ham? The time everyone put into preparing the food? The way that the flavours dance on your tongue?
The way the sun shines through leaves outside making shadows? The gentleness of the breeze that moves through the house? In every moment, big and small there is something beautiful there. Taking the time to look for the things that you are grateful for is a beautiful way to thrive this Christmas.