- Keeping drinking water! Try and have at least four glasses of water in addition to your other drinks to keep you hydrated and to stop you over-eating (people often mistake thirst for hunger). Drinking plenty of water will also help to keep your skin looking bright and fresh.
- Get outdoors every day for a brisk walk, even if it just for 15 or 20 minutes. If the weather is really grim, go for swim or to the gym or find a 15 workout on YouTube to follow, it can be as gentle or energetic as you like. Yoga and stretching brings huge health benefits in terms of reducing pain and stiffness and actually helps us to maintain good posture later in the day. Exercising every day will help you to sleep well, help to keep your digestive system regular, help to prevent weight gain and keep you mentally fresh.
- Eat two or three portions of fresh fruit every day. A portion is one medium apple or two smaller fruit like plums or satsumas or three tablespoons of berries. Eating fruit will give you a healthy dose of vitamins and antioxidants so you can fight off winter infections and keep your skin and detoxification systems working well. Eat some fruit with breakfast, have fruit as a snack and/or have fruit as a dessert after dinner.
- Have at least three alcohol free days each week. If you have day after day of seeing friends and relatives and big dinners lined up, plan in advance which gatherings you won’t drink alcohol at. This will give your liver a chance to keep your toxic load under control; it will improve your mood and energy levels and help you look healthier and younger.
- Eat some raw foods every day. At buffets and family meals start with a generous helping of salad if it is on offer. If you know you are going to have a cooked dinner, try to have some salad with your lunch or snack on cucumber/celery/carrot sticks and reduced fat houmus or tzatziki during the day.
- Keep your sugar intake moderate to low. The UK government now recommends adults eat no more than 30g sugar a day (about 7tsp) A Tesco mince pie contains 16g of sugar. Sugar not only promotes weight gain and insulin resistance, but also drives inflammation in the body so will make arthritis, aches and pains, and skin conditions worse. Try snacking on unsalted nuts and raisins instead which are packed with minerals and vitamins as well as healthy fats and protein.
- Think about those less fortunate than yourself even if you feel you are having a difficult time, there are always others out there who are having a worse time. Remembering to count your blessings when you are feeling stressed can really put things into perspective. Take time to talk to the person selling the Big Issue or make a donation (however small) to your favourite charity or if you have time, offer to help out at a community or charity event. Making a positive contribution is good for the soul!
- Make time to do the things you enjoy! It is all too easy at Christmas to get lost in doing trying to please other people and pack in an unrealistic amount of visiting/shopping/cooking etc. Plan your days and ensure you spend some time every day doing the things you love, even if it as simple as not missing out on your favourite soap or catching up with an old friend on the phone.