JanOne with a Difference: The Christmas Build-up
Tracey has some words of wisdom here today talking about what you can do to ensure a smooth and healthy build-up to the big day.
Greetings everyone! Well, we have our Xmas Tree up and the wreath on the door and I am feeling the Xmas spirit! It is such a lovely time of year but it can easily turn into a very stressful and overwhelming time of year too as the ‘to do’ lists builds and the commitments both social and otherwise get out of hand. It can also be a tough old time to stay on track with healthy eating and exercise as many are so over committed and exhausted so end up not fitting in exercise, not getting enough sleep and making bad food choices. Don’t worry, you are not alone so no beating yourself up here - it is all about allowing yourself to be human, being moderate where you can and planning just enough so that you get enough sleep you are not totally frazzled before Xmas Day arrives. Here are a few tips that I have found useful over the years and as a result I am having a good lead up to Xmas this year even though I am feeling very flat out and a bit ‘pooped’.
1. The Xmas Party
Have a green smoothie before you go out so you don’t arrive on an empty stomach and get tempted by lots of nibbles, chips and junk food snacks. If you are tempted, stop at just a taste, don’t over-indulge. If you are eating, order a meal that you love that has a high salad content or have an extra LARGE salad or veggies on the side. Don’t order foods that you know don’t work for you. For dessert, ask if you can have sorbet and fruit. Enjoy a bowl of lemon sorbet with strawberries and you will not feel deprived and also not feel bloated afterwards.
2. The Family Xmas Lunch
The great thing about a Kiwi Christmas is that because it falls bang in the middle of summer, our Christmas feasts are often a little less traditional than our English heritage may demand if we lived on the other side of the world… and it was snowing. So, our Christmas fare often ends up being elements of tradition with a Kiwi twist or spin on it. Some go as far as a BBQ on the beach with loads of yummy salads for their Christmas dinner. However, for many of you (and especially those of you lovely people who are in the Northern Hemisphere), Christmas would not be Christmas without a roast turkey or chook and a ham. If you are that person, how about you give the ham a miss this year (who needs processed meat?!) and get yourself an organic, free-range chook, roast it and enjoy it as a special thing on Christmas Day. Accompany it with a stunning array of plant-based fare (salad and veggie dishes) which can cover ¾ of your plate. If you are going somewhere for Christmas dinner and bringing a dish or two, make sure you offer to bring the salads. Then you can make two of your favourite salads and this will ensure there is some good plant food for you to pile on your plate. Or, if you are a sweet lover and find it hard to resist pudding, bring a lovely healthy dessert – maybe a gorgeous raw cheesecake or a platter of decadent raw treats? Move over Pavlova! Who needs all those sugar laden, high fat desserts that make you feel pretty ‘blah’ afterwards anyway? Or, even better, try a fully plant-based Christmas Dinner - eat amazing food and feel fantastic afterwards! No mid-afternoon bloat this year! I am working on a couple of yummy new recipes which I will share as soon as I have perfected them.
3. Take time to breathe
There is no doubt about it that this time of year brings a sense of busyness and for some a feeling of being overwhelmed or stressed out and literally ‘hanging out’ for the break. If you feel yourself getting wound up or feeling tension in your back or shoulders while working, take just three minutes out and consciously move away from your work and do 10 or 20 long slow breaths deep into the stomach – the stomach should rise and fill while you breath in and sink in as you breath all the air out. This is a very powerful thing to do in these moments – two or three times a day if needed but even once will make a positive difference. Remember to BREATHE…
4. Keep on Moving…
Even if it is just a thirty minute power walk around the block three times a week, do something to keep moving. Don’t allow the busyness to mean you give exercise away altogether – it is so important on so many levels. Give your body that respect and make time to fit this in. I have started doing a local yoga class on a Tuesday night and I have to say I am LOVING it and so is my body. There is something about prioritising yourself in that way that has impact on more than just a physical level, so whether it is walking, swimming, yoga or whatever your thing is, keep the movement happening.
5. Get Festive
It may be that you choose not to celebrate Christmas, but otherwise - it’s time to get festive! Whatever that is for you, allow yourself to get into and feel the festive spirit. Whether that means putting up a wreath on your door, having a fresh tree in your house with that glorious smell, having fairy lights up outside, having gorgeous red and Christmassy decorations and/or candles around the house, an advent theme set up to enjoy…. There are many ways to express it, but tis the season to be jolly so make sure you feel some jolly
6. Ring an old friend who you have lost touch with and have missed
Just trust me on this one, it makes you feel amazing and gets you back in touch with the ‘stuff of life’ – this is on my list this week for sure.
7. Give some old stuff you no longer need to a worthy cause
Another one that is often easy to let slip or forget to do, but in fact makes you feel really good about yourself and the human spirit when you do it.
8. Have a plan – write lists even if you are not a ‘list person’
I am not a natural list writer but I find that doing a bit of planning around this time of year is a life saver. Get out of your head and onto paper all the things that you need to do and do a little plan for the next two weeks and work out when you are going to do them. And then - if you can’t do them, plan to let them go! Once you have a plan you will feel a lot more relaxed and even if it is really busy, it won’t feel out of control and you can enjoy the Christmas spirit along the way. Oh and I almost forgot to mention – stick to the plan – well at least roughly anyway!
9. Gather with friends and loved ones
Oh yes, tis essential food for the soul at this time of year. So even if it is something low key like sneaking a cuppa with a close friend for an hour to reflect on the year and look forward to the break together – do it! I have booked a couple of lunches into my busy next two weeks ahead as well as a couple of nights out because I love seeing my friends and it is important to me – I have learnt that other things WILL wait. If I don’t do this on some level, I find resentment builds and my life feels out of balance and we don’t want that!
10. Book some early nights
I try and do this regularly anyway and I am not always successful but I find it really helpful. At this time of year it is more important than ever – a couple of nourishing nights sleep a week actually scheduled in will make the world of difference. I mean winding down at 8.30pm, maybe take a relaxing lavender bath or read your favourite book and then lights out by 9.00pm!
That’s enough from me for now; I will share with you what I am going to cook for my family on Christmas Day in a few days’ time. Ciao for now, Tracey xx