Christmas is the time to relax, laugh, eat, drink and be merry, it’s no wonder it’s dubbed the silly season! Lets be honest though, while there is plenty of fun to be had, it can also be a stressful time which can leave you feeling a bit worse for wear come January.
I was out to dinner with some friends recently for the first of my Christmas gatherings and someone asked if I had any secrets for surviving all the drinking, eating and socialising that comes with Christmas. Unfortunately I don’t have any secret recipes for magical hangover cures! Instead, here are some simple everyday tips for surviving silly season this year.
1. Start every day with a nutritious breakfast.
Something we should make a habit of year round, it becomes extra important during times of stress. Include quality protein, healthy fats and 1-2 serves of vegetables.
2. Make time for exercise.
Try your best not to let your exercise regimen slip as you get busier. Exercise is a wonderful tool for managing stress, and on those mornings after you’ve overindulged, a brisk walk will help clear the cobwebs, aid digestion and get the blood and lymph flowing.
3. Choose your drinks wisely.
Sugar and alcohol wreak havoc on our digestive system, excessive intake can cause damage to the sensitive lining of the digestive tract. Additionally, your liver works hard to metabolise them when you overindulge. Look after your liver and digestion by keeping it simple. Choose organic and preservative free wines, or if you prefer spirits mix them with soda and fresh lemon or lime.
If you know you’re likely to experience some discomfort this silly season keep some herbal help at hand. Iberogast is a natural herbal medicine clinically proven to help relieve abdominal discomfort, such as bloating and heartburn.
5. Be mindful of overeating.
Often people think it’s a good idea to skip a meal so they can indulge at dinner. But instead of skipping a meal, why not make it a really healthy meal instead? If you have a big night ahead, make your breakfast and lunch extra nutritious and fill up on nutrient rich vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. If you’re not ravenous when you arrive at dinner you’re less likely to overeat.
6. Stay hydrated.
I can’t stress this enough! Drink about 2 litres of water every day. Alcohol is dehydrating so make every second drink a glass of water. Not only will this prevent you from getting too drunk, you’ll feel better for it the following day.
7. Avoid late night caffeine.
Although it might be tempting to have that espresso to ‘sober up’, its unlikely to have the desired effect and will more likely disrupt your sleep further. Instead drink a couple of glasses of water before bed and sleep with a bottle close by if you up wake parched.
8. Look after your gut.
The gut is the second most important detoxification organ after the liver. Keep it on track to work effectively by consuming enough fibre and probiotic foods daily. Aim for 25-30 g of fibre a day and if you find this hard, consider a fibre supplement such as psyllium husks along with adequate water intake. For more advice check out my post on gut health.
9. Plan ahead.
A bit of planning goes a long way. Keep your fridge stocked with plenty of fresh vegetables and on nights you aren’t socialising, be good to your body and fill up on healthy nutrient dense foods.
10. Don’t stress if your plan blows out.
If you end up drinking or eating more than you’d planned, don’t beat yourself up. Just remember to practice self-care the next day – take a walk, drink water, eat your veges and get a good nights sleep. Remember it is Christmas after-all, you don’t need to be perfect all the time!