In the frenzied run-up to Christmas, don't forget to take care of yourself. With good health on your side, you can take on the world with a few simple steps:
1. Eat mindfully
It’s tempting to grab whatever’s handy when you’re out and about and hunger strikes, but too much greasy or sugary fast food will leave you feeling lethargic and bloated.
• Say yes to foods like wholegrain wraps with lean protein and salad, sushi or low-fat fruit smoothies.
• Squirrel away a packet of nuts or sunflower seeds in your bag for healthy, on-the-go snacking.
• Remember, frequent indiscriminate grazing on Chrissie treats can add up to unwanted extra kilos come new year. Munchers beware!
2. Party in moderation
3. Keep on moving
Technically, doing a half-kilometre dash from where you had to park the car to get into the mall counts as physical activity, but it isn’t quite the same as dedicated exercise. When you take that gym class, do your work-out video or go for a swim or brisk walk, you also give your head a chance to clear. Exercise delivers oxygen to the brain and boosts the release of calming serotonin into the bloodstream.
• Stick to your regular fitness routine as closely as possible over the holidays – it can be tough to get back on track after too long a break.
• Head out the door for a walk each morning or evening, or squeeze in a lunch-hour stroll to decompress.
4. Take a deep breath
If we feel stressed or anxious, our unconscious response is to take faster, shallower breaths that can contribute to feelings of panic.
• Practise taking a few slow, deep breaths every so often when you remember or when you feel panic rise. Your pulse will slow to match your breathing and restore calm.
• Keep telling yourself: 'I've got this. I can do hard things. I'm strong. It will be okay.'. We promise, it helps!
5. Sleep like you mean it
A good snooze is the secret weapon in your arsenal - true at any time, but especially when you're stressed and stretched to the max. Quality sleep rejuvenates and restores like nothing else. It means better focus, improved immunity and more energy.
• Log off well before bedtime. Bright, backlit screens can inhibit the production of melatonin, the hormone necessary for sound sleep.
• Try listening to soothing music before you drift off. It can lower blood pressure and reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
6. Pretty yourself up
Beauty treatments aren’t a frivolous indulgence. They’re an important self-esteem boosting, stress-relieving therapy. That’s a fact!
• Schedule in a pedicure, manicure hair appointment, facial or massage.