Christmas is very nearly upon us, and with it comes the expectations to be joyful and sociable, something which can be a real challenge if you’re experiencing anxiety or low mood.
Aside from only doing what you feel like, rather than what others expect from you, I have found that being a little mindful about what I am eating and drinking during the festive period can really help me feel better able to enjoy it.
Here are my tips to help keep up healthy habits over Christmas
Start with a smoothie – starting the morning with a smoothie full of colourful vegetables, some fruit, a handful of oats and some seeds is a clever way to get your nutritional bases covered. This usually helps prevent me from starting with a whole chocolate orange for breakfast!
Eat within a time window – another good way to limit without restriction is to fast for around 12-14 hours (i.e overnight), for example eating between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm. So, if you wake up later, go straight for lunch rather than breakfast. This can really help improve your sleep, and blood sugar regulation and take the strain off your digestive system.
Keep hydrated – this is super important! Salty food and alcohol can quickly cause dehydration which can hugely impact mood and sleep. Often your mood will be the first sign of dehydration, not necessarily thirst. Aim to drink 2 litres of water each day – fill a jug up in the morning and work your way through it.
Keep a snack with you – take a healthy snack, such as a small handful of nuts or trail mix, with you if you are out and not sure when you will be eating. This can help tide you over to your next meal and regulate your appetite and balance your blood sugar, preventing any anxiety caused by low blood sugar creeping in. It can also help with slowing alcohol absorption if you are out having drinks.
Embrace the veg – seasonal vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, red cabbage and carrots are in abundance and readily available. They are full of antioxidants, fibre and essential vitamins – all of which can help you get through this period with a balanced mood and better sleep.
Get some fresh air – a brisk walk outside does wonders for mental health, sleep, and digestion. Try to get out each day for some fresh air. Getting outside during the morning is the best time to help with sleep and energy.
Get some rest – prioritise your own self-care and make sure that you put some time aside for yourself. Days, where you do nothing, are ok! Sticking as close to your normal bedtime and waking time can also be helpful in keeping your mood and energy more stable.
Above all, I hope that you and your family have a happy and healthy Christmas!