For some it is quite easy to switch off once you’ve left the office for Christmas, but for others, looming deadlines can play on your mind even while you’re away from the office. Mental health charity Mind recommend that, for those who feel particularly anxious, you should try and restrict the number of times you think about work over this period – don’t check your work emails unless absolutely necessary, and make some time for yourself in order to truly relax. But it’s also important to make sure you don’t let your usual routine slip too much: keep up regular exercise and try to stick to a regular sleep pattern. This will ease your return to work.
Watch What You Drink
The first place to look for signs of over-indulgence at Christmas is your face – alcohol is one of the main culprits when it comes to dull bloated complexions and skin breakouts. Sugar is the main culprit. “Rather than opting for sugary cocktails why not go for a simple spirit and mixer,” says Doctor Clare Morrison of MedExpress. “Try soda water, juice or even just water on its own, if you need a hint of something sweet add a dash of lime cordial. Swapping coke for cranberry juice is another good way to make your drink a little less damaging - even though it does contain sugar, cranberry is good for flushing out toxins and might not make you feel as bad the next day.” If you do have one too many, Dr Morrison says that you should always make sure you have a drink of water in between drinks – not only will this hydrate your skin, but it will also ease the hangover too.
Exercise – Even Just A Small Amount
It’s so easy to get out of good habits especially over the festive period and trips to the gym will be one of the first things to slip. Beth Tweddle, Team GB gymnast suggests exercising even if it’s just a small amount: “Do a little bit of exercise every day – that way you won’t feel guilty and can eat what you want.” Snowboarder Aimee Fuller concurs, adding that exercise doesn’t have to be boring, particularly over Christmas: “Wherever you are just get out and about. Whether that’s on a bike, or going walking or, like a lot of us snowboarders, get out for a ride over Christmas and stay active.”
You Are What You Eat
We know – Christmas is notoriously a time when we all overindulge, but if you don’t want to punish yourself with detoxes and diets galore come New Year, there are some little tricks you can adopt now to ensure you don’t go overboard. Amazingly, we tend to eat around 3,000 calories in our Christmas dinner, so if you don’t want that hanging over your conscience come Boxing Day, Dr Tey Beng Hea, senior consultant endocrinologist for Jurong Health suggests eating the high-fibre food on your plate first. “I avoid overeating by filling up on high-fibre foods before anything else. This usually means fruits or salads with very little dressing.” That way, you’ll be full once you reach the end of your plate and won’t be pining for the Pringles come 7pm.
Good Food nutritionist Kerry Torrens advises that you shouldn’t linger near the buffet table at family events as it can be a disaster zone, so she recommends having a snack before you go to any event – she recommends banana and a plain yoghurt: “The yoghurt's protein slows stomach emptying, which helps delay the effects of that first glass of wine while the potassium-rich banana helps balance any increase in my salt intake - especially helpful if I'm going to be nibbling on olives, crisps or salted nuts.”
Reign It In At The Christmas Party
More than 40% of people admit to bingeing at their office Christmas party. However, new research from Bensons for Beds may claims “the following day your brain will have adapted to receiving high amounts of endorphins caused by all the drink you’ve consumed,” and you will “experience withdrawal-like symptoms in the form of temporary depression and increased anxiety”. Not so fun after all.
So in order to avoid post-party anxiety, it’s good to know which drinks are going to give you a minimal hangover – check out our list of low-sugar drinks to keep that calorie count down and your hangover to a minimum. Kerry Torrens also recommends picking one light-coloured drink – “they tend to be lower in the chemical by-products that can worsen a hangover” – and sticking to it, keeping your consumption to one drink every hour.
Take A Stroll
Being cooped up in a house all day with your extended family is bound to send you a little stir-crazy, so take a short walk on Christmas Day – not only will it aid digestion after you’ve eaten a big Christmas dinner, but it’ll boost your mood too. A new study released this year has proven just how good a stroll is for our mental health, so kick off your heels, put on your trainers listen to a good podcast. Check out the National Trust website for some picturesque walking routes.