Christmas can be bad for you!
You can have a happy healthy Christmas. Christmas health is a topic a lot of the commercial advertising world ignores. Ask anyone who works in the health care sector and they will tell you that ER’s , doctor’s surgeries, crisis clinics and a host of other medical support agencies are swamped at Christmas. So, what is it about Christmas that is so bad for our health and how can we make sure we have a healthy Christmas health this year?
Food, alcohol, family, money and emotions all contribute to whether we have a healthy Christmas or one we would rather forget. Here are my 5 tips for a healthy Christmas.
Be kind to your body for a healthy Christmas
Food poisoning, allergies and over-eating are all contributory factors to a compromised health this festive season. Convenience food is not a convenience if it makes you ill! If you are buying frozen turkey or any other frozen meat this holidays then make sure it is thoroughly defrosted before it goes anywhere near the oven. We all tend to over eat during this period and often we eat foods we are not used to eating. Careful planning will help with making sure everything is properly cooked, but it takes more than that to ensure a healthy Christmas meal.
Think about what your body tolerates normally and that probably doesn’t include a five course meal with all the trimmings and twice as much as you would normally eat. Agree to pace the meal over a period of time, rather than try to consume three times as much as you are used to in a two hour period. Spend time talking to family and friends over the meal and drink water between each course- it helps to flush toxins and slows your consumption so your body has time to digest your food. Plan a walk at the end of the meal which will also help your digestion and avoid that stuffed, uncomfortable bloated feeling and everyone falling asleep!
Alcohol is the number one cause of admissions to the ER over the holiday season. It not only impairs physical function it causes aggression and emotional lack of control. Getting “wasted”, “hammered” falling down drunk over Christmas is likely to put you at serious risk and may well impact your relationships severely. If you are hosting Christmas this year make sure everyone has some food n their system before the main meal- especially if they are drinking. Don’t let those heavy drinkers in the family call you Scrooge because you are moderating the drinks dispensing.
Make sure there is plenty of soft drink alternatives and alternate alcoholic with non alcoholic drinks. Keep the coffee percolating and maybe invest in some herbal teas to counteract the effect of the alcohol. Try making some delicious hot chocolate with marshmallow to warm everyone after the walk. If you feel alcohol and addictive behavior is either yours or a family members’ problem- listen to my radio show this week
My guest, Warren Broad is an expert in addictive behavior and has some very helpful advice.
Family tension at Christmas time
Having a healthy Christmas includes healthy relationships and this time of year can be tough on family. Perhaps it is the expectation that this is supposed to be a time of love, goodwill and happiness and somehow all family arguments will miraculously disappear? My advice would be to clear the air of unresolved family issues before you all get together. Agree that what is past, is past. Cultivate an attitude of present moment awareness among all of you so that you can focus on the happiness of being together as a family. Make sure that each family member has some space to calm down if they do get upset- maybe a quiet room where they can sit and regain their composure should arguments arise. Again, going for a walk is a good strategy if you feel tensions increasing- it is harder to argue outside and nature has a soothing effect on heightened emotions.
Money matters at Christmas
Christmas is expensive- but it doesn’t have to be! A Gallup poll shows that Americans plan on spending an average of $830 this year!
According to the results of the study, Americans plan on spending around $830 on average in 2015 for various Christmas-related purposes. These numbers are up considerably from last year’s average of just $720, a 15% increase. This statistic is at its highest ever since 2007, when the average Christmas spending of Americans was found to be $866
That level of spending is half of what some people in the US earn a month and most people do not have a 50% disposable income! If the thought of Christmas spending is leaving you feeling sick and reaching for your credit card then stop a moment. We know that money doesn’t buy happiness, so have a think about what you are buying this year. There is still time to create a more personal gift for loved ones; a collage of photos printed out and mounted- a more personal memento than digital photos on your phone. A gift basket of sweets you have made, or even a hand embroidered item you have spent time creating. It really is the thought that counts and spending more money than you have and creating a debt for 2016 is not the best way to celebrate Christmas. Let go of the idea that how much you spend on someone is a measure of your worth or their worth. A healthy Christmas is one that does not leave you financially sick in January.
Emotions and a healthy Christmas
For some people, Christmas is a lonely time of year and if you can, it should be a time of year that you reach out to others. We can feel blue at Christmas because the reality of the holiday season doesn’t meet our expectations. If you can take a step back and feel gratitude for what you do have instead of hankering after what you don’t have, you will have a much happier healthy Christmas. Give yourself a break from those expectations- too often they are what we see on TV and are far from real. Focus on giving love and support to those around you and it will come back to you. Maybe you aren’t religious, but charity and love need no religion. The most valuable gift you can give this Christmas is your time to someone who needs you. I leave you with a quote from Deepak Chopra that feels like a good healthy Christmas mantra.
I wish you a happy, healthy Christmas