Christmas seems to come around quicker each year – this must definitely be an age thing!

With a week to go until the Big Day, I share a few things that can cause stress at this time of year and how best to survive them.

6 ways to survive Christmas

Food

If you hadn’t already noticed there way too much food around, and usually the rich and highly calorific variety. I can hardly move at the moment without being exposed to or offered food e.g. mince pies and chocolate.  And that’s outside of parties, lunches, drinks etc.

And we’ve not even reached the peak yet – Christmas and Boxing Day – and all that comes with those. Of course, it’s fine to indulge a little, but you don’t have to eat everything available, at every opportunity. It only brings guilt and will make January so much harder!

So, what can you do?

Remember that you don’t have to indulge at every opportunity. Be selective. You can politely decline or just distance yourself from the food.

I understand that this can be hard for some people – partly due to temptation and partly due to not wanting to offend others.

You could eat some, but then bypass your next meal or snack (try not to eat in addition).

You could take some away for later, to reduce offense. I often give my pickings to my kids or husband for desert or keep the odd chocolate in my bag for an emergency snack.

I always ensure I have some healthy snacks e.g. fruit or nuts in my bag in case I get too tempted.

Alcohol

I’ll admit that I enjoy a drink, especially in the winter to keep warm: I generally feel the cold and my circulation isn’t good. But you can have too much of a good thing!

Luckily at the moment I’m often driving. This is a great strategy and most of the time it means I don’t drink at all. Very occasionally, if I’m eating a stodgy meal and not driving for a few hours, I may have a small glass of wine.

When I do get the opportunity for a drink, I try and follow these guidelines:

  • Pace yourself – this is generally possible, but watch out for free bars and the never-ending glass of wine, as it can be hard to assess what you’ve actually drunk
  • Mixing – try not to, but sometimes it’s tempting to mix drinks. Be careful of how much, what order etc.
  • Drink plenty of water – before, during and after
  • Try and have a couple of days each week to allow your liver to recover
  • Plan for Dry January!

Exercise

It can be hard to exercise at this time of year – and this comes from a dedicated exerciser. I like to get outdoors and it can be hard to motivate myself when it’s cold and dark. However, it is important to move. It keeps us fit and healthy in the short-term and can help to stave off some longer-term issues too.

Try and do something every day. It’s easier to maintain a daily habit than to have to remember or to motivate yourself when it’s less frequent. It may also give you an excuse to get away from the in-laws or help you to justify another mince pie.

  • Go for a walk! Walk the dog or borrow someone else’s. Go on your own or encourage someone else out with you.
  • Dance at the Christmas party or in your kitchen
  • Do some yoga
  • Get on that exercise bike, cross-trainer, treadmill that you use as a clothes horse
  • Work out at home: follow a DVD (anyone else still got these?!) or via YouTube or other
  • Go to the gym – pool – get some use out of your membership

Money

I’m not sure what it is about Christmas that makes us spend money like no other time of year. I know many people that literally go crazy with presents, food, decorations and the lists go on.

However, many people really cannot afford to spend all this money and actually borrow to be able to fund it, spending much of the following year repaying in with interest.

I may be a little late with my advice for this year, but here goes:

  • Set a budget that you can realistically afford and stick to it
  • Agree spending limits upfront with friends and families so that expectations are set and you don’t have to try and out-do each other
  • Do more with less – try and be resourceful across different spending areas
  • Start saving for next year!

People

Christmas is often a time when we spend time with family and friends, and often in that order. Depending on where you’re located in relation to each other, this can often involve driving the length and breadth of the country and staying with family or in-laws. And due to winter weather, being in close confinement with those you wouldn’t necessarily normally chose to.

  • Know the personalities involved
  • Beware certain topics of conversation or other trigger points
  • Have a drink
  • Don’t drink too much
  • Take a break
  • Be nice / civil
  • Given them a role

Sickness

Every year I hear tales of people who just about reach Christmas only to spend most of it in bed sick. Flu, viral infections and food poisoning often being the biggest problems.

This tends to be due to several reasons:

  • Immune systems are generally suppressed at this time of year – there are lots of bugs around and many people are susceptible.
  • It’s often a long hard slog from summer to Christmas, especially with the rounds of Christmas parties and lunches starting back in November.
  • People finally stop and relax and their bodies succumb to illness.

Falling ill at any time of year can be frustrating but at Christmas seems to be the most miserable of all.

Check out my article on bolstering your immune system from last year.

 

Wrap-up

So those are my 6 perils of Christmas and how to survive to them over the coming weeks. How many of them resonated with you?

I’m sure you have your own survival tips anyway. I’d love to hear them if you dare to share!

 

Thank you for reading! For more on Age Life Balance, browse the blog at www.agelifebalance.com to find out  more.