Although the Christmas season is a beautiful time of the year, it is also a time which is rife with social commitments and temptations, which can cause some people to stress over how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I thought now was the perfect time to share how I manage to do this, seeing as the Christmas parties kicked off last week for me, and are showing no sign of slowing down.
- Drink lots of herbal tea and water: Adequate hydration is obviously important at any time of the year, but especially so during the festive season when your liver is working harder than usual to rid your body of the excess alcohol and the increased amount of high fat, high sugar foods that are being consumed. I firmly believe that there is no need to go on a crash diet, or juice cleanse, as your body has its own way of naturally detoxifying itself. However, drinking enough fluids will only assist the flushing out of these toxins, as well as aid digestion, help transport nutrients and vitamins around your body, regulate body temperature and boost your concentration. Additionally, people often mistake hunger for thirst, so drinking enough water can help prevent unneeded snacking. Whilst I do enjoy drinking plain green tea in the morning, I also bring my own herbal teas into work, my favourite being Pukka Night Time, Womankind and Love. Furthermore, one of my favourite ways to make drinking water a little more exciting is to make my own flavoured creations. I like using fizzy water, then I add ice and I experiment with different combinations of fresh fruit and vegetables. Below is a creation I made by adding ice cubes, frozen raspberries, sliced lemon and cucumber.
- Be flexible with your workouts: The never ending list of social commitments will inevitably mean that you cannot make your usual gym classes during the holiday season. You therefore have to be flexible with the ways in which you workout. One of my favourite ways of exercising at this time of year is just going on long walks with my friends and family. I had two of my best friends from university to visit last weekend, and we spent the whole day exploring the city and walking through the Christmas markets. This is a great way to get some exercise in, without consciously making the effort to sweat it out in the gym for an hour. Walking is a great form of cardio as well, the benefits of which you can find out more about in my first blog post. Additionally, you may have to spend some more time planning exactly when you’re going to workout, in order to fit it into your busy schedule. For example, although I usually like going to the gym in the evening after work, when I know I’m going to busy, I’ll get up at 6 am and get a workout in before breakfast instead. It’s all about making time for what is most important to you.
- Embrace the festivities and let go of guilt: I think this is the most important point to take note of, as this is something so many people seem to struggle with. The weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with more social events than usual, which inevitably leads to an increase of indulgences; including hot chocolates, sweet treats, high fat foods, and alcohol. Our busy social calendars can also mean that workouts are more frequently missed, and getting adequate sleep is not always possible. This combination can clearly very easily throw your usual healthy schedule off track. However, it is crucial to remember that fitness is a journey, and personally, a healthy lifestyle is only maintainable if these types of indulgences are allowed. Life is for living, and unless you are preparing for a competition or photoshoot, there is no reason not to embrace the holiday season. This is the one time of the year that everyone comes together to celebrate, and you have 11 months following on from Christmas where you can get back on track. When you take a moment to really put everything in perspective, there really is no reason to feel guilty. We all know the quote ‘the only workout you regret is the one you didn’t do’, but how will you feel when you’re 60? Are you going to look back and regret going to all of those parties and indulging a little more than usual or will you regret choosing to stay home and miss out on those events so that you could get to your usual spin class? Personally, I will always choose to make memories with my loved ones, as after all it is the season of giving, and I find memories are the most precious gift. I just make sure that I am still fitting my workouts in, prepping my lunches to bring to work and making sure to listen to my body and take time out to relax when I need to.