Christmas survival Guide

With two weeks to go until Christmas and party season in full swing, many of us are in “survival mode” when it comes to our health and wellbeing. With weekday office parties and weekend family gatherings, we’re not getting the recovery time we need between festive occasions. Heavy food, late night and alcohol disrupt sleep and leave us dehydrated – both of which in turn lead to poor food choices and alcohol cravings, and the cycle starts again.

So here’s our 5-step survival guide to surviving Christmas party season!

Choose your celebrations wisely – whilst you might want to go to every party and gathering going, you don’t have to drink at each of them. You might not be able to survive the office Christmas party sober, you can probably get through that boring family gathering without alcohol – so give it a try. You’ll consume far fewer calories, make better food choices and sleep better, breaking the cycle of overconsumption.

Plan ahead with alcohol – lots of people accidentally get in over their depth with drinking at Christmas parties – your glass keeps getting topped up, there’s a free bar, you end up staying out much later than you intended. You have a general idea of your limits – have a total number of drinks in mind, keep track of what you are drinking and stick to it. Try and also have some soft drinks to slow down your alcohol intake, and know in advance what time you’re going to stop drinking altogether and either go home or switch to soda.

Have a plan when it comes to food, too – the main food event is usually a delicious lunch or dinner so enjoy that but try and keep away from that tin of chocolates in the office, or tray of canapes at the party. The occasional indulgent meal is a luxury but if you’re constantly eating rich food, it can feel more like an endurance event! Snack on healthy fruit, nuts, raw veg or rice cakes and savour the fancy meals. You don’t have to eat the chocolate “just because it’s there”; if people give you selection boxes or tins of choccies, melt them down, make rocky road or rice crispie cakes and give them away as gifts!

Hydrate! – drink plenty of water, and then drink some more! By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated to a degree, so get ahead of this by sipping water constantly. We all know that too much alcohol leaves us dehydrated, but did you know that even a small degree of dehydration can lead to slower reaction times, decreased mental clarity and poor food choices? So stay ahead of thirst and if possible take a daily electrolyte supplement with water to replace lost salts.

Supplement – if you’re not already taking a multivitamin supplement, now might be the time to consider it. Most people are deficient in something or other – a multivit helps keep your bases covered. If you’re drinking a lot of alcohol, an Omega 3 supplement would be a wise choice – usually in the form of cod liver oil, this supplement will help combat the inflammatory effects of alcohol. Magnesium is also worth considering – it combats the effects of cortisol, your natural stress hormone (your body will be under stress, especially if you are drinking a lot). It also helps with anxiety and poor sleep – also side effects of alcohol.

So that’s out five-step party season survival guide! Enjoy your Christmas festivities – and remember, this is a great time to start practicing some of the habits that you want to implement in January!

Noel & Meredith