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I love Christmas. I love spending time with family, laughing, giving presents and making memories that will be with me forever. But as lovely as Christmas is it can certainly bring with it a lot of stress, anxiety and generally feeling crappy from the over indulging.

Over the last few years I’ve managed to find a bit more balance during the festive period whereby I can enjoy myself but also be mindful of keeping myself well. So here are just a few simple things I’ve personally found really helpful that you might like to try…

Start the day with a good breakfast: As a kid my breakfast during the Christmas week usually involved a double helping of Sara-Lee double chocolate gateau but thankfully I now leave the chocolate cake eating till a little later in the day. No matter what your plans are for the day the simple act of putting something nourishing into your body first thing will not only make you feel good but it will help you to subconsciously make better choices throughout the day. Start the day with a green juice or smoothie or even some avocado toast or porridge topped with plenty of fresh fruit. Seriously you’ll feel far less guilt (or hopefully none!) tucking into a mince pie knowing you had a generous portion of fruit and veg at breakfast.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Who doesn’t enjoy a glass of fizz, mulled wine or favourite cheeky tipple at Christmas? This is a season filled with parties and celebration and naturally we end up consuming far more booze than we normally would. Whilst I enjoy a nice glass of wine I don’t particularly enjoy waking up feeling less than okay! Focus on keeping hydrated throughout the next few days. Start the day with a couple of glasses of water. Have water available on the table during meals and sip on it as well as your tipple of choice. Also have a glass of water before bed to hydrate whilst you sleep. And it doesn’t just have to be plain water. You could drink coconut water (excellent for hydration), herbal tea or fresh juice.

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Meditate/take time out: Our brains go into overdrive at this time of year worrying about whether we have bought enough food, sent cards to everyone we should, got parcels out in time, cleaned the house ready for guests, bought enough presents etc etc……I could go on. Four years ago I married Andrew three days before Christmas and I can honestly say that Christmas had us far more stressed out than planning for our wedding. Take time out and allow your brain to switch off, even if it is just for 20min a day. Meditation for me is the best way to really allow my brain to switch off but if meditation doesn’t float your boat you could simply lie down and listen to some relaxing music, go for a walk, do some yoga, read a book, anything that gives your poor brain a break from it all. I promise it will thank you and you will feel much more relaxed.

Get out in the fresh air: I know quite a few people who plan a walk with family during the festive season. It can be such a nice thing to do if the weather allows. Going for a gentle walk after dinner aids digestion, will stop you feeling sluggish, and if it’s sunny you’ll feel better from simply being out in the natural day light. Not to mention the benefit of added Vitamin D!

Be gentle with yourself: Christmas day is one day a year but we can often put so much pressure on ourselves to make that one day just perfect. We want our homes to be immaculate, the smell of freshly baked mince pies and mulled wine wafting through the house, the perfectly decorated tree that wouldn’t look out of place in Harrod’s window, a beautifully laid table and carol’s playing in the background. We even feel the added pressure to make ourselves look amazing for the big day. It’s no wonder we often end up frazzled come December 25th. Take time to remember you’re not perfect and that’s okay. If you slightly overcook the mince pies or the tree is a little droopy don’t let it spoil your day. Take gratitude in the beautiful people you have around you that day, your warm house filled with love and the abundance of food you will enjoy. Don’t let ‘perfectionism’ ruin your day because perfect simply doesn’t exist.

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Be present: Finally my last suggestion is to give the gift of presence to your family and friends, the people in your life who matter most. Switch off the social media, forget about work and your ‘to-do’s and for one day at least, give everyone your undivided attention. Rather than taking the perfect snap shots to upload simply sit and enjoy the moment and treasure it as a memory rather than with the rest of the world. When people are speaking with them give them your undivided attention and make them feel special. Never underestimate the benefits of disconnecting from the digital world for just one day.

Hope you and your family have a fantastic festive season and please share any tips you have for making it a happier and healthier one.

Paula x

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