’Tis the season to be jolly. If that is a phrase that is prompting something of a grating sensation, don’t feel bad, you are not alone. The thing about the festive season is that it acts as an amplifier of emotions. When it comes to feelings of magic and nostalgia, or the unbridled enthusiasm and excitement of the children, that’s great. But it has the same effect on stress and anxiety, meaning the dream Christmas can easily turn into a stressful nightmare.
This is where the fact that our Christmas homes are packed full of festive food and drink can become a double-edged sword. Over-indulging a little as part of the celebration is one thing, but turning to food and drink as a crutch can be unhealthy, both mentally and physically. Here are some proactive tips to help you avoid falling into that trap.
Stick with your normal routine
Christmas is a time at which routine gets thrown out of the window. As far as having a lie-in or watching TV at 2 o’clock in the afternoon is concerned, then why not? But when it comes to what you are putting into your body, try to stick with routine as much as possible.
A healthy and hearty breakfast is key to wellbeing, so this needs to be the first order of the day. Choose something that is a natural serotonin booster – as it happens, turkey and eggs are prime examples, so why not whip up some of that leftover roast into a festive omelette? If that doesn’t do it for you, simply go with your usual breakfast routine and use a natural serotonin booster instead.
The important thing is not to skip breakfast, as all that will mean is a rumbling stomach and low blood sugar, leading to a darkened mood and an increased temptation to dive head first into those unhealthy festive snacks.
Moderation is key
Some people have the mindset that Christmas is all about eating, and if they do not consume three large meals per day, along with as many snacks as they can fit in, they are “doing it wrong.” In fact, all they are doing is increasing that underlying feeling of anxiety that they will “pay for this later,” as well as inviting the sense of discomfort and lethargy that is part and parcel of over indulgence.
Treating yourself to what you enjoy is fine, whether it is a glass of mulled wine or a helping of Christmas pudding. The trouble comes when you start consuming these things because you feel you should, rather than because you really want to.
Get out and stay active
It is easy to get bogged down into a routine of food, drink and TV over the Christmas period. Paired with the fact that natural daylight is in short supply at this time of year, this is a further trigger that can affect serotonin levels. Get out into the fresh air for at least an hour every day. In fact, why not make it one of your new Christmas traditions?