We have all had a busy and active 2016 filled with some great achievements alongside some struggles and a few blah blah moments as well. As the year winds down we all look forward to celebrating the holiday season in a variety of ways, whether it’s a few drinks at an end of year party, a big Christmas dinner, going away for a boozy weekend friends or spending too much time in the sun on a family holiday.
I am not here to tell you not to go enjoy yourself, this is one of the best times to look back on the year, to reflect and also celebrate amongst loved ones and close friends. If you want to have a couple more extra drinks you have earnt it, go enjoy yourself guilt free!
What I want to get across is that prolonged over indulging during this time can sometimes blind us to the impacts on our wellbeing and health and can leave us starting off the new year feeling sluggish and unwell mentally and physically – the dreaded post-holiday hang over.
We will all try and find ways to avoid the holiday hangover, whether it be a new years resolution to join the gym, or to go alcohol free for a month, but all too often we find it hard to shake those behaviours. This brings on added stress and can also put in place some obstacles that we didn’t expect to start the new year with.
So, how do you try to combat this hang over when you know it is coming for you? One of the best way combating this is to start before it even hits you. Being proactive and creating a simple plan with a wellness coach can put in place achievable and realistic goals to maintain your health and limit unnecessary stress, and avoid you having to make significant changes in 2017 to get your wellbeing back on track. You can get a great an easy plan by enlisting the help of a wellness coach. Someone who professionally helps people to put their wellbeing first.
Here are 5 common situations that people most often overlook during the holidays and a tip for each on how to put some good preventative actions in place which can save you a lot of stress in the new year;
The drinks add up quickly - just because the drinks are free doesn’t mean we need to drink them all (there will always be another party!). The key is to pace your drinks and at least to have some water for every wine, beer, cocktail or shot consumed. Also you can set a point in time for the night where you can drink up to to ensure you don’t go overboard, it’s as simple as putting an alerted reminder in your phone.
Remember to balance your food choices – again, I am not here to tell you to not try the Christmas cake, but try to balance that extra piece. An easy way to do this is to substitute animal meat with salad or vegetables for at least 1 day per week. This ensures you aren’t depleting your nutrient intake whilst also not consuming excessive calories.
Sun – The Cancer Council blasts this message every year and we still get burnt! Skin Cancer is no joke and best avoided. Apply sunscreen as part of your morning routine and if you are going to be in the sun for long periods, re apply every 2 hours (keep some in the car or your bag!)
Exercise – Yes, you deserve a break but at the same time you will feel better keeping up some sort of fitness routine. This will help you keep your rhythm with fitness and assists with your sleep patterns whilst helping to work off the extra slice of ham.
Mental health – Keeping a healthy mind is crucial for enjoying the holiday period. Burn out, exhaustion, social pressure and expectations are all quite common during this time. Before embarking on your end of year celebrations and activities, take a moment to reflect and gain some perspective. Try to avoid building up how perfect this time has to be and enjoy the occasion for what it is and what it means to you.
It’s also important to be aware that there are many people in our lives for which the holiday period is one of sadness, grief and often depression rather than one of joy. The emotional and mental stressors associated with this time often sees a rise in the number of people who experience depression and also a rise in the prescription of antidepressants. If a member of your family or someone close to finds it difficult to enjoy the holidays the best gift is often to spend some quality time with them and express your gratitude for them being in your life and reflect on the positive experiences you shared in 2016.
To recap, one of the best and simplest ways to avoid future stress is to be proactive and have a plan in place before your behaviours start to change and you lose control over your wellbeing. Speaking with a wellness coach ahead or before the end of 2016 to help you put a wellbeing plan in place for 2017 can be a meaningful way of ensuring you are looking after your health!
Claudia Masina is the owner and founder of BeTruWell Stress and Wellness Coaching. She is equipped to help you put your best plan in place where you are in control of prioritising your mental and physical wellbeing.
If you are interested in learning more about stress and its impacts on your wellbeing (which you might not know about!), come along to an information session being held by Claudia on Monday 28 November at 7pm. This will be held in Claire Grulleman’s Clinic in Double Bay. For more information and to register, please click the link below;