How to Survive Christmas and Thrive

Enjoy Christmas without the consequences

Are we trying to live up to unrealistic expectations of creating a ‘perfect’ Christmas? Should we rather be keeping things simple and enjoying our time with our family and friends? Are we being sucked in by all those ‘fabulous’ marketing campaigns? Christmas is a tradition that is religious for some. For others it may be the time to have a well-deserved holiday. Holiday, yeah right, I hear you say! The question remains, does the Christmas period create peace or stress in your lives?

In my view, STRESS is a major player during the festive season. For those people that are already feeling overwhelmed and depressed, they may feel more miserable. It’s the time when sadly, many will just give up on their mental and physical wellbeing because they are just too ‘busy’ to take care of themselves. Sound familiar? Ironically, this is the time that you really need the most nurturing. We know what we should do, but so many of us put it in the too hard box. I would like to challenge you to pick three things that you want to stick to during the ‘holiday’ period. Make it achievable and fun.

For example, drink a glass of infused water with natural produce. Make a healthy dessert, have some healthier snacks on hand so that you don’t overeat on the wrong foods, do something for you or go for a walk in nature each day. Make time to sleep, say NO to things you don’t really want to do. A word on saying NO. Many of us are unable to say NO to all the extra demands on our time, our money and energy. We don’t want to offend our family or friends and what was meant to be joyful can be downright miserable and stressful. Setting some boundaries may be helpful for you to dampen down your stress levels.

What is stress? Stress is not all bad, it motivates and helps us to function. When stressed our ‘fright and flight’ mode will be activated. The problem comes in when this mode is continuously switched on. It usually occurs when we are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands. Stress slows normal bodily functions such as our digestive and immune systems. It comes in many forms and may be triggered by working too much and not having enough play, eating the wrong foods, drinking too much alcohol, drinking chlorinated water, noise, financial or relationship issues or illness. When we are stressed our bodies are depleted of vital nutrients that keep our energy high and our mind sharp. A consequence of this is that it depletes vitamin B, C and E, which are nutrients that fight inflammation and neutralize free radicals. Stress also depletes our magnesium, which is needed for over 300 enzymatic processes. Magnesium has a role in preventing stress. It regulates your nervous system, helps to support your muscles and joints and more. When stress strikes, we tend to make poor food and lifestyle choices, which deplete your stores even more!

Foods high in magnesium are fruits like bananas, figs and raspberries, green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach or whole grains (millet, brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat), nuts, seeds, kelp and even dark chocolate! For vitamin C, choose highly coloured fruits and vegetables. B vitamins are found in legumes (peas, bean, chickpeas and lentils), eggs, fish, meat, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, whole grains, seeds, prunes and figs. These lists are not conclusive. If you are going to supplement, seek good advice, since not all supplements are created equal. There are many ways to support you during this period. Remember, you have the power to make the changes that you want in your life for physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Wishing you a fun and stress free Christmas!