Christmas is coming (you may have noticed) and, as usual, it feels as though stores, suppliers and advertisers have gone bigger than ever, with the result that seasonal fatigue is already setting in for many people.
With activities ramping up at work and at home, there’s an art to making it through December, Christmas and New Year in one piece and without it taking a toll on your health and wellbeing. Let’s face it; the last thing anyone wants is to blast on through the combination of office deadlines, socials and seasonal commitments only to end up shattered or, even worse, unwell when we’re supposed to be enjoying the festivities.
To help you look after yourself and balance your efforts and your energy, here’s an 8-step seasonal wellbeing survival guide.
PLAN YOUR APPROACH
There’s a high probability that if you accept all the invites you receive to work parties, client events, family gatherings and social catch ups you’ll barely be at home for any evenings in December. Whilst it’s great to be popular, you should also be discerning about what you say yes to. You probably already know the optimum number of nights out per week that you can cope with before incurring collateral damage such as daily fatigue, loss of quality sleep and compromised mood management, so aim to stick to this schedule or you’ll end up attending lots but enjoying little.
DON’T LEAVE GOOD SLEEP TO CHANCE
At The Tonic, we usually advocate sticking to a regular sleep routine but at this time of year there’s value in grabbing a little extra recovery where you can, so check your diary every week for a few nights when you can catch up on much needed sleep. Whether you book a couple of early nights or reserve yourself some extra time in bed in the morning, a few additional hours here and there could make all the difference.
ALLOW YOURSELF SOME QUALITY WIND-DOWN TIME
You need to plan your time off work to allow some space for slowing down and recharging your batteries. Hurtling from a busy schedule in the office to a chaotic family Christmas will leave you returning to work ready for a break rather than feeling rested and ready for action in 2020.
Set yourself some guidelines around an acceptable level of exercise for you to maintain through December that will keep your mind sharp and your body in shape. If you manage something even just once or twice a week this will still see you through the month in better shape than parking your fitness routine completely until the new year and then regretting it when your January resolutions come around to haunt you as they inevitably do. If you keep things ticking over in December you can springboard off this routine and achieve your desired results in January far more easily than if it feels as though you’re making a whole new set of workout plans for the new year. Again.
GET PLENTY OF FRESH AIR
When the days are short there’s a temptation to seek shelter wherever you can but too much time indoors will leave you feeling sluggish so aim to get outside for a total of at least an hour every single day, ideally when there’s still plenty of daylight, no matter how cold it might be.
SET SOME BOUNDARIES FOR ALCOHOL
For many people it can be great to have a few drinks at Christmas but it's also easy to disrupt the balance from an acceptable level of drinking that’s part and parcel of your enjoyment of events, and tip over into the territory where the amount of alcohol you're consuming is adding unnecessary calories, leaving you dehydrated and irritable, and reducing the quality of your sleep.
A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING DOES YOU GOOD
It's fine to deviate from your usual food routine in the run up to Christmas and through the festive period, but aim to maintain the quantity of food and the portion sizes that suit you and your weight management objectives, and that help you ensure you have consistent energy levels. Keep your food routine varied and eat little, often and regularly. Make sure you’re well hydrated at all times.
TAKE CONTROL OF CHRISTMAS
You’ll have noticed a theme here. Despite the fact that Christmas happens every year, too often we leave our festive wellbeing to chance, pack the diary full and hope that everything will be OK. Don’t make the same mistake this year. You have time to make Christmas work for you so grab a few minutes today to give some thought to the lifestyle changes you can action right now that would have the greatest positive impact on your health, energy and performance, and your festive season will be as enjoyable as you deserve it to be.