For many of us December is one of the best months of the year...well it is for me at least. For me the month is all about spending time with family, eating lots of delicious home cooked food, having time off work, giving and receiving thoughtful gifts and of course having a couple (sometimes more then a couple) of drinks.
For many of us being healthy doesn't just not cross our mind at this time of year, but it frankly doesn't fit in with our agenda.
So you may be asking yourself, why on earth should you focus on keeping healthy this month? Well to be honest, if this is your favourite time of the year then you want to be feeling your best both mentally and physically so you can fully embrace everything the festive season has to offer. If you don't look after yourself then you are in real danger of 'peaking to soon' and before you know it you will be tucked up in bed halfway through the month burnt out, exhausted and ill.
Now don't start panicking, there is a way of fully embracing the Christmas season whilst still looking after yourself and this is to install some key healthy habits to support you throughout the month. If you can set a foundation of five things you do daily to look after yourself then all of those things that we do throughout the Christmas season that, although good for the mind, might not be so good for the body, will not hit you quite so hard.
Below are my top five healthy habits to put into place this month to ensure you make it to Christmas Day healthy, happy and bursting with energy to enjoy your time off!
Our bodies are on average 60% water so if we aren't fully hydrated pretty much nothing works properly. Salty foods, caffeine and alcohol are all dehydrating so at this time of the year when all of these things are consumed in excess, keeping up your hydration is even more important!
You shoud be aiming to have 1.5 - 2 litres of water a day, however on days when you are going out for drinks then you should be aiming to have more like 2 - 3 litres, this will also help to minimise the sore head the next day!
The mornings are often the one thing you have control of over the Christmas season so this is one of the best opportunities to make healthier choices, also how you start your day often sets the tone for the rest of the day so making sure its a good one is important. To ensure you kick start the day well, start it with a pint of warm water and a squeeze of lemon, this will help to wake you up, cleanse you body as well hydrating you.
Support this with a nutrient dense breakfast such as natural yogurt, fresh berries and nuts/seeds or if you prefer savoury breakfasts then make your own breakfast pots with hard boiled eggs, half and avocado and some spinach.
Give your gut some love
Your gut is one of the most important organs in your body, it not only controls your digestive system, but also impacts your immune system, energy, mood and skin health.
Hectic lifestyles and poor diet can affect our gut health so aim to help it this season by adding a serving of 'gut loving' foods to your day. Some of the best foods to try are yogurt, fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut or kimchi or a splash of apple cider vinegar!
Regular exercise will not only help to keep colds at bay, but it will also keep your energy levels up so you can make the most of the holiday season!
Aim for 30 minutes every day to reap the benefits, this can be in the form of a 30 minute exercise class or a long walk through the Christmas markets. Exercise means something different for everyone so the key is to find what works for you and stick to it.
A habit which tends to go out the window when a busy December comes along, but if you don't prioritise your sleep you will find that by the time Christmas comes along you are ill, exhausted and not able to fully enjoy the actual day.
Of course you will be going out more, but making sure you keep an awareness on the amount of sleep you are having is key. You ideally want to aim for 7 - 8 hours a night, so spending every night out until the early hours is not going to help matters
Like everything else it's about balance, choose those nights during the week where you stay out and then on the other evenings go out but maybe don't be the last one standing....
Lucie is a Health and Wellness Consultant who specialises in helping busy professionals lead a healthy life, for more tips and healthy recipes head to her website www.the9to5foodie.co.uk