5 tips for a “stress-free” Christmas
By Jessah Robinson, Adv Dip (Nut Med)
With Christmas getting ever closer it is difficult to be completely devoid of stress, between worrying about money, planning the family trip or coming up with ideas for Christmas presents. Christmas should be an exciting time, so here are 5 tips to try and make the most of the festive season:
1. Don’t be afraid to say “no”
During the lead up to Christmas there tends to be an influx of social events such as family commitments, Christmas parties or other social get-togethers and it can be easy to spread yourself too thin. If you are invited to a handful of Christmas parties, don’t just automatically say yes out of obligation but only go to the ones you actually want to go to. This way you will be genuinely happy to go, and are freeing yourself up for other things or to simply have a quiet night at home. This same principle applies to all events, and you’ll find that most people are very understanding.
2. Set a budget
It can be extremely easy to get carried away with Christmas shopping, between buying for your significant other’s family as well as your own, plus work Secret Santa and friends. Write a list of everyone you’re buying for and set a reasonable budget to spend on each person.
A great way to reduce the financial pressure at Christmas is to organise Secret Santa with your family. Not only will you be saving money but also the time and stress of shopping for each individual family member. As an added bonus, it is a fun activity on the day as you all try to guess who your present was from. Shopping online can be a great way to save money all year round, and several retail stores in the lead up to Christmas have Black Friday specials which offer heavily discounted prices.
3. Monitor your drinking
During the holiday season there are often ample opportunities to drink alcohol. Before participating in social events remind yourself that you do not need to consume alcohol at every event, and don’t let yourself succumb to peer pressure just because everyone else is drinking. And if you do decide to drink, eat a small protein-based meal beforehand, choose one drink to stick to the whole night and drink a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages. Synd-X is a very low-carb, high-protein powder which is great in a smoothie and a perfect option to line the stomach before going out.
4. Don’t fret over extra calories
The large majority of people do tend to indulge more than usual around Christmas time, and this is completely understandable as we tend to have more social events on, which mostly revolve around plenty of delicious food and consumption of alcohol. It’s important to not beat yourself up if you find you are eating more than usual, and instead let yourself enjoy your treats but maybe limit yourself to one serving and make sure to choose healthy options as well. Tyrosine is an amino acid that is associated with feelings of reward and may help to control hunger and cravings.
5. Set aside time for exercise
Like diets, our exercise regime tends to fall by the wayside during the festive season as we find ourselves getting into relaxation mode and enjoying family get-togethers. While it can be beneficial to have some time off from your usual routine to repair and recover, taking too much time off can make it that much harder to get back into it. Exercise is beneficial for lowering stress, as well as improving mood, lowering blood sugar levels, and of course maintaining a healthy weight. If you don’t feel like going to the gym, get some family members involved in some outdoor cricket or soccer or suggest going for a bike ride or walk. This way you are still spending time with family without impacting your health. Magnesium helps relieve muscle cramps, reduces the symptoms of stress and may help to improve your sleep. Make sure you keep some handy at this time of year.