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6 Christmas crackers for a healthy but happy festive season

The festive season may be a time for being merry, eating, drinking, having fun, giving and receiving. It can mean quality time with family, when you slow down, get cosy, curl up on the sofa and go for winter walks.

On the other hand, it may not be a time for all the above. It may be a time of year that you dread, you may feel that’s not your reality and it increases feelings of frustration, anger, loneliness, sadness and you’re sick of seeing ‘happy’ Christmas adverts of smiling people?!

Remember, Christmas is whatever it means to YOU. There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ Christmas these days so let you and your Christmas be unique to the personal situation you find yourself in. Let’s not play the game of comparison which can compound any negative emotions you have around this time.

For me personally this is the first Christmas I will experience without speaking to or seeing my Dad who passed away last New Years Eve. That’s going to be a tough one and I’m sure there will be a tear or two to be shed as reality sinks in. But I will focus on cooking dinner for twenty one people, yes, twenty one people. Totally out of the realms of my capabilities or oven space and you know what, I couldn’t care less. Because all that matters is I will be surrounded by people that love me who will muck in, get merry and not care if the dinner is not a solid ten out of ten!

If the thought of Christmas is stressing you out, don’t be a martyr, ask for help where you need it, delegate jobs and responsibilities (because you don’t win an award for doing it all yourself), focus on the fact you are with people face to face again (think back to Covid when you didn’t have that choice) and don’t sweat the small stuff! Let’s all focus on enjoying the moment, staying present and picking out the positives whatever our situation.

Here are six Christmas Crackers to help you stay healthy but happy over the festive season. These may support you if your Christmas wish is to remain relatively unscathed in terms of both your physical and emotional health this season!

Christmas Cracker Number 1

Awareness - often we overeat unconsciously, we aren't even thinking about it. We pay no attention to what we are eating and drinking which is why much of our eating and drinking habits are automatic and therefore habitual. Just bring awareness to your day, notice if you're reaching for a snack or a calorie laden drink, ask yourself if you really need it. Just pause and be aware of how your body is feeling, is it hunger, is it boredom or is it a habit?!

Christmas Cracker Number 2

Family dynamics - we can’t choose our families but we can choose how we ‘react’ to them. Sitting with family for some can be a really tense occasion so keep it light hearted, play some old fashioned games round the table, stay off any trigger topics, sit those likely to clash far apart from each other and involve everyone in helping. Play some happy Christmas tunes and distract as much as possible.

Christmas Cracker Number 3

Remain active - make it social, catch up with friends by going for a walk, get all the family out for some fresh air or try out those new trainers you got for Christmas. Just keep moving and don't get into the habit of spending too much time watching TV sedentary on the sofa.

Christmas Cracker Number 4

Over eating - it’s hard not to be gluttonous over the festive period. Be mindful when you eat, remember satiety is a delayed reaction so take a breather between courses and wait for the next, are you really still hungry or are you eating for the sake of it? Try not to eat mindlessly from the tins of Quality Streets or Celebrations that seem to be everywhere you go!  Remove them from sight or put them out of reach in a high cupboard so you don’t have easy access for mindless grazing.

Christmas Cracker Number 5

Drinking - drinks can be full of empty sugary calories. Be aware that a large glass of wine (250ml) has about 220 calories, and a pint of beer around 240 calories. Opt for fizz at 80 calories per glass or clear spirits (vodka, gin) at around 50 calories with low calorie mixers. Try vodka, lime and soda or gin and slimline tonic for delicious but low calorie options and try where possible to intersperse water between alcoholic drinks to keep yourself hydrated!

Christmas Cracker Number 6

Expectations - try to keep those expectation levels at a realistic level. There’s a lot of pressure around Christmas for everything to be ‘perfect’! But guess what, life isn’t perfect and the reality is, if you set those expectations too high you are going to be disappointed. Control the controllable and ‘accept’ if your partner doesn’t jump up and down with the gifts you bought them, your kids still keep staring into their phones on Christmas Day, your Mother in law appears ungrateful for the meal you’ve just slaved over?! Take five mindful breaths, pause and walk away from any conflict because the main person you will end up upsetting is yourself - Christmas is not the time for overreacting in the moment!

Hopefully some of these crackers will resonate and remember, there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ Christmas, take the pressure off and reframe it in a way that works for YOU and your health.

Enjoy your holidays how you wish and I am always here to help in the New Year should the wheels fall off. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! x

I’m a mindset and behaviour change coach specialising in wellness and menopause. My coaching method incorporates science backed techniques, neuroscience and positive psychology.

If you want to make changes to your health but you don’t know HOW I can help. Please get in touch if you are stressed out, overwhelmed, lacking in energy, not able to stick to new healthy habits or are perimenopausal/menopausal and losing control of your body and mind:

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