The festive season is a magical time, combining so many of our favourite things, indulging in decadent home-cooked meals, meeting with friends and family, giving and receiving gifts from loved ones and enjoying time relaxing, but for those with anxiety over-eating, drinking or dealing with family or social situations, Christmas can be tricky.
I remember feeling so anxious about all the “bad” food and temptation on Christmas day. I was the only time I’d let myself indulge, so I’d obsess about food on Christmas day and overeat because I knew I wouldn’t allow myself chocolate until next year! Now I enjoy pleasurable food all the time in small amounts, so being surrounded by sweets doesn’t turn me into a chocolate fiend. Instead, I enjoy the company of friends and family and I eat mindfully, without guilt. A healthy Christmas can include indulgence, the secret to finding the right balance is setting clear intentions before Christmas day.
- Eat only what lights you up! Don’t mindlessly snack food you’re impartial to. If you love rum balls have one, or two, but say “no thanks” to to pavlova without guilt if you’re not into it.
- Don’t deprive yourself before Christmas to earn your lunch. If you’re restricting in the lead-up, you will binge on all the foods you’ve been depriving yourself of.
- Do your best with what’s available. We don’t always have a lot of control of what’s available for Christmas lunch. be flexible and do your best to pile your plate with greens, some protein and wholegrain carbohydrates. Bring along healthy salads or nuts if you’re not hosting the Christmas meal yourself.
- On Christmas day, don’t start drinking too early. Stick to mineral water until you’re sitting down to a meal to avoid a whole day of heavy drinking.
- Stick with cleaner alcoholic options- red wine, spirits with mineral water and lime or a good quality champagne. Avoiding too much sugar in the form of alcohol will reduce the chances of a hangover.
- Start Christmas day listing what you’re grateful for then set an intention for how you want it to play out. Go into detail in your mind as if watching a movie.
- When you feel overwhelmed, step away from the action and take a few deep breaths alone to refresh. This is essential for introverts.
- Don’t take it personally. Family time can be challenging, especially when there’s pressure and alcohol involved. Try not to take anything too personally on Christmas day. Centre yourself and pause before you react.
- Make it a non-negotiable to move in the lead-up, aftermath and on Christmas day. Moving in a way which feels good before the family gathering will kick-off the day on a positive healthy note. The memory of your morning joy or yoga session might stop you reaching for seconds at lunch.
- Incorporate HIT (high intensity training) post-Christmas to help your body detox the sugar, alcohol and water weight, fast.
Wishing you a wonderful healthy festive season.