A happy and healthy Christmas

Above: Gingerbread on the Christmas menu. Image: stay active.

Above: Gingerbread on the Christmas menu.
Image: stay active.

With Christmas only weeks away, we begin to see our social calendars rapidly fill up. Christmas for me is always such a joyous, happy and merry occasion, but it can certainly get overwhelming!

Between work, friends and family, my calendar is quickly beginning to fill up with lunches, dinners, events and parties. Christmas and the holiday season is such a fantastic way to catch up with old friends, but it can also become quite overwhelming and taxing on our physical state.

Health is much more than just the food we eat. Having a healthy mindset and taking time out for ourselves in the midst of chaos is equally important.

Don’t wait until the New Year to develop healthy habits. If you want to feel your best over the holidays read below for some simple tips and head into 2017 feeling great!

Staying Active
During the holidays we often indulge a bit more than normal, which is okay – it’s the holidays! There are more social events, more drinks and more food. For some, the Christmas holidays means days off work and more time on our hands. Exercise should not be put on the back burner for the holidays, it is a great way to burn off some of those added calories, increase our energy levels and stay upbeat throughout the holiday season. Some of my favourite exercise sessions are HIIT workouts, walking and yoga. I also make sure to take five minutes or more per day for meditation.

HIIT workouts
HIIT – Short on time? High-intensity interval training is a perfect cardio workout that blasts fat and can take as little as 20 minutes.

Try this:
Four minutes for each exercise (20 seconds on and 10 seconds rest for 4 minutes)
Exercise 1: Squat Jumps
Exercise 2: Mountain Climbers
Exercise 3: Burpees
Exercise 4: Skipping

Walking
Wrapping up and going for a nice walk counts as exercise! Walking is one of those things that gets our bodies in motion and doesn’t have to be too strenuous or painful. Walking gets us up, moving, off the couch and out of the house. Grab a friend and go for a walk along the beach, just make sure to stay warm!

Yoga
There are increasingly more yoga studios in Dublin as well as thousands of videos on the internet for yoga classes and sequences. Ask a friend or family member to try out a class, there are a lot of introductory offers at a lot of the studios around Dublin. Again, you do not need a lot of time to fit in a nice stretch, 30 minutes is a perfect amount of time to stretch your muscles and move your body.

Meditation
The holidays can become overwhelming and stressful. The traffic gets heavier, the queues longer and it seems that everyone is in such a rush to get somewhere. A morning or evening meditation will help you to feel centered throughout your day or evening. You will find that you have a much calmer approach to the business and chaos of the holidays if you allow time completely to yourself.

Try this:
Sitting in an upright position, begin to tune in and focus on your breath. Start with 5 minutes and work up to 20 minutes if you have time.

Healthy eats
It’s Christmas and of course we are going to indulge in some traditional favourites. Whether it be full, rich dinners or lovely baked desserts, there are some great alternatives to the sweet and savory foods that come hand in hand with the holiday season. Check out the culinary corner for some simple holiday treats and read below for some simple tips to keep yourself feeling healthy.

Eat breakfast
Whatever you have planned for the day you can always incorporate breakfast into the equation! A breakfast enriched in proteins, fats and some healthy carbs will energize you for your day and keep you full and satisfied throughout the morning. Overnight oats and avocado on sourdough toast are quick and simple breakfasts that fill you up and keep you energized throughout the day.

Watch the sugar-filled drinks
If you keep one thing sugar-free this season try and make it your drinks. Gingerbread lattes, Christmassy cocktails and Baileys coffees are some of my all-time favourite Christmas drinks. The only problem with these drinks is that that they are full of sugar and leave me hungry shortly after or with a slight headache the next morning! Instead, I keep it simple with red wine, spirits and a healthy version of my favourite gingerbread latte. Check out the culinary corner for a healthy take without the sugar-filled syrups.

Enjoy yourself this holiday season, embrace the spontaneousness that comes along with the holidays, but don’t take on too much. You will feel much better going into 2017 if you are healthy and happy. Have a great holiday season!

Jaclyn Doyle is available for health coaching or nutritional advice at healthistic.com or email her at jaclyndoyle4@gmail.com

By Jaclyn Doyle