We're approaching the end of another year and many of you will now be with loved ones as the festive celebrations get into full swing.
It's a time for family and friends, traditional food and drink, and films and TV shows you've probably seen many times before. For many, it's a difficult time because of these things. There's a mixture of thoughts and feelings - you want to relax, unwind, celebrate and enjoy it, but at the same time, there's a worry about weight gain, health, energy, guilt and generally feeling bad. This conflict is always present but this time of year exaggerates these thoughts and feelings even more.
The thing is, however you choose to spend your Christmas and New Year, remember that it's just a week. Health and fitness don't happen overnight and neither does being unhealthy or unfit. They are an accumulation of behaviours over time.
"You are the sum of your behaviours."
Eating chocolate or drinking alcohol isn't bad for you. It's bad if you do it too much, too often. So if you decide this week to go wild, the most important thing to do is to enjoy it and remember that you can't do great harm if you get back to balance afterwards. It's only an issue if the less healthy behaviours continue for longer.
You may decide to enjoy a few less healthy things or you may feel that you'd rather have a healthier week so you come out the other side feeling positive and energised. The choice really is yours. Whatever you decide, here are a four ideas you might consider that can help add a little balance to your Christmas and New Year:
- Go for a walk - even a small amount of exercise helps. Five minutes of walking outdoors improves mood as much as an hour-long workout, just 30 minutes of moderate intensity can decrease blood pressure for a few hours and control blood sugar levels for 12 hours. If you're feeling lethargic or sleepy it's a great way of getting a bit more energy.
- Drink water - dehydration is one of the major reasons why you end up with a hangover, so just try mixing in some water or squash in between the drinks.
- Eat something healthy - fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, there are lots of healthier foods popular at Christmas too, so just try to include some each day in between the festive treats.
- Enjoy it - the worst thing you can do is go for the less healthy options and then feel bad about it. If you're going to go for booze, chocolate, mince pies, christmas cake or christmas put, at least savour the moment. If you have in mind you're getting back on it after Christmas or once the New Year begins, you'll have 51 weeks to balance it out and all will be well.
Whatever you do, I hope that you have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Yours in balance (or out of it for a few days),