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How to not get run-down in the run up to Christmas

November 10th 2014 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru

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Keep anxiety, stress and party season burnout to a minimum with these expert health tips

As much as we love Christmas, boy can it be stressful.

The most wonderful and demanding time of the year with shopping, presents and post-party hangovers taking their toll on both our bank balances and bodies, what can we do to reduce stress levels and stop us in our tired tracks when we feel about ready to punch an elf in the nose?

We asked some of our great Get The Gloss Experts for their top festive season hacks to ensure we look and feel great from the inside out to make this party season one that we’ll remember for all the right reasons.

1. Plan, plan, plan

“Planning ahead for the festive season prevents last minute panics and New Year financial woes,” recommends psychologist and Elaine Slater. “Make a list of things you need to do for Christmas early on such as; shopping, food, gifts, decorations, travel arrangements, family plans and social engagements. Try to prioritise the items on your list. Focus on time management and delegation skills.” Some fast and effective tricks include:

  • Planning a budget: decide how much disposable income you can afford to spend on gifts, food, socialising etc.
  • Stick to your budget and avoid the stress of big credit card bills in the New Year.
  • Decide when you will stop your Christmas preparations and start to relax and enjoy the holiday.

MORE GLOSS: 10 inspirational women on how they organise their lives

2. Just say no

With levels of FOMO reaching new heights and party season now in full swing, more and more people are willing to put a hectic social life ahead of their health. We’ve all done that at one point or another. However, streamlining your schedule and placing the emphasis on quality rather than quantity could hold the key to a happier, more fulfilling Christmas. “Look after yourself and know your traps - work out what you need to say no to in order to manage the festive season,” recommends life coach and Get The Gloss Expert Anna Percy-Davis.

“You don't have to be boring but you don't have to say yes to every party, drink or piece of rich food offered. Sleep, healthy food, plenty of water and exercise can't be abandoned completely at this time of year if you are going to enjoy it!”

3. The perfect Christmas pretence

Chasing the idea of a perfect Christmas can be utterly exhausting. There’s no such thing, so do yourself a favour and stop piling on the Christmas pressure - you’re doing great and when push comes to shove and everyone's opening their presents, how unhappy are they really going to be? “Recognise that we all project huge idealisations and aspirations onto this event/celebration,” recommends Andrew Wallas, aka ‘The Modern Day Wizard.’ “Sometimes we do this onto the perfect pair of jeans or the most beautiful vase and sooner or later it disappoints because no outer event or object can live up to our projections and expectations,” he explains.

“It’s the same when we fall in love. The initial rush is all about idealisation and projection and when this wears off we find that the woman or man of our dreams has some downside….simply recognising this is a major step. There is no such thing as the perfect Christmas. All our idealisations are of course supported by the media and retailers who spend billions of pounds getting us to buy into this delusion.”

4. HIIT it and don’t quit it

Don’t let fitness fall by the wayside in the lead up to Christmas. It could become the perfect ally for helping fuel your party season exploits. “Try something HIIT and new,” recommends personal trainer Steve Mellor of Freedom2Train. “If you always run then go for something else – boxing, cycling, weights. Give the body something new to supercharge your metabolism and stimulate the muscles in a new way! Also keeps things fresh and fun!”

MORE GLOSS: 6 HIIT workouts, 6 writers - see how they got on...

5. Food for fuel and function

They say prevention’s better than cure, and there are few resources more valuable for reducing festive fatigue than a healthy kitchen cupboard. “Rely more on your kitchen cupboard than on your medicine cupboard - food really does have the power to heal,” recommends health, beauty and nutrition consultant and Get The Gloss Expert Karen Cummings-Palmer. “I take a layered approach to wellness: from a nutrient-rich breakfast to anti-oxidant rich cups of Matcha green tea, anti-viral raw lemon juice and my warming turmeric and apple cider vinegar super tonic, it all adds up to better health and will help you glow through the party season.”

6. Stop people pleasing

“Don’t take responsibility for how others are feeling. Around this time of year, it’s easy to fall into trying to get it ‘right’ for everyone else,” cautions Andrew Wallas. “There is no right and we cannot please everyone else anyway. Let other people deal with their disappointments and complaints about Christmas and don’t try to fix them. We all have enough of our own to keep us going.” Here, here - we’ll raise a glass of mulled wine to that - give yourself a break. You can’t do everything.

7. Supplements to combat stress

“The festive season brings with it good wishes, holiday cheer and often an over-indulgence of food and drink. However for many people, stress overtakes all this because of the rush to buy presents, food and so forth which plays havoc with our bodies,” says natural health specialist and Get The Gloss Expert Shabir Daya. “Stress compromises the immune system and thus it would be prudent to support the immune system with an effective immune supporting supplement such as Daily Immunity, £25.”

“To ensure that we also do not suffer from tiredness at this time of the year, (because we need our energy levels up), use Sibergin, £15.50 - a potent energy boosting supplement,” he recommends.

MORE GLOSS: Could stress be sabotaging your health, hair and skin?

8. Pause for thought

Make time to zone out and employ some valuable relaxation techniques. “Create space. The lead up to Christmas for most people is frenetic, rushed and feeling that there are never enough hours in the day. We need to counteract this by creating small pockets of space,” recommends Andrew Wallas. “Literally sitting and breathing for 2-3 minutes can make a big difference. A 5 minute walk in the garden (if you have one) feeling the cool air against your skin slows everything down. Sit down and read a book for 10 minutes.

“All of these ways and many more are ways in which we can ‘short-circuit’ the rushing around which actually ceases to be effective. If we take time out and ‘pause,’ then we are much more effective when we return to the task.”

9. Healthy top ups

Don’t let seasonal deficiencies or mineral depletions get you down this winter. Instead, top up your feel good levels with some quick and easy tweaks. “Take vitamin D and recharge your batteries twice a week with an epsom salts bath,” recommends Steve Mellor. “There’s lots of stress in the December months with deadlines and parties, so it’s important to recharge the body with magnesium (epsom salts) and dose up on the 'sunshine vitamin,' vitamin D.”

10. Dodge drink dramas

It’s easy to go above and beyond your limits when it comes to alcohol with everyone getting into the Christmas spirit quite literally. However, as well affecting your sleep patterns, increasing anxiety levels and delivering hangovers that could kill a rhino, the idea of moderation makes for a pretty appealing concept. “Limit your alcohol consumption - remember that one glass is usually 2 or 3 units so whilst it is hard to abstain in the run up to Christmas do try and stick to one drink per night - ask the bar to split it in two!” recommends Karen Cummings-Palmer.

MORE GLOSS: Expert tips for how to prevent and cure a hangover

11. Less is more

Perfection is an impossible standard to reach and sometimes going back to basics can actually work out best. “Keep it simple,” advises Andrew Wallas. “We all have a tendency to buy into the hype and set off in search of the perfect Christmas crackers, the perfect table setting, extra chocolates, trimmings etc. Recognise that Christmas is simply a time to be with family and friends and to enjoy each other. Less is more. We all know that young children showered with the latest dolls and cars and techno turbo toys end up getting the most pleasure from cans of baked beans and biscuit tins with a drumstick. Apply this reality to adults. Enjoy sitting with a beautiful cup of tea….”

12. We’re all in the same boat

Set the tone of your holiday season by adopting a positive mindset from the get-go. Don’t let previous experiences from past years loom in the back of your mind - it’s a new year and a new opportunity to simply sit back and enjoy the ride. “This is the festive season so enjoy it! If you go into it thinking it is just a hard slog it will be a hard slog, so be cheerful and remember everyone is busy too so a large dollop of empathy and patience won't go amiss!” recommends Anna Percy-Davis.

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