Make this year your best Christmas yet, by discovering how to boost your stamina during the busiest month of the calendar…
It’s the most wonderful time of the year,’ as the Andy Williams song goes. And Christmas certainly is a great excuse to catch up with loved ones, have a much-needed break and let our hair down. But if you’re constantly hosting gatherings, going out to parties or having your family over to stay, you can end up drained of energy and feeling more like Scrooge than Mrs Claus. So, in order to enjoy this year’s festivities to the full, be sure to manage your time carefully – this will ensure you have enough get-up-and go to carry you through the holiday season. Here are a few more ways to recharge, so you can savour every magical moment of the holidays…
Cut back on booze
‘Alcohol acts as a depressant, making you feel drowsy and tired,’ explains GP Dr Rupert Critchley. ‘With Christmas party season approaching, the majority of us are prone to a few too many glasses. Try to switch over to soft drinks in between alcoholic beverages and pace yourself. This will have a positive effect on your energy levels throughout the festive season.’ Resisting that last glass will help you sleep better too, as Lisa notes: ‘Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but it will interrupt your sleep later on in the night. It is hard in the party period, but try to swap to water a couple of hours before bedtime.’
Fight the urge to binge
We all enjoy tucking in over the festive season – and if you can’t do it over Christmas, then when can you? But too many processed foods and refined carbohydrates (think white bread, pastries and anything with added sugar) can cause blood-sugar levels to rise very quickly and then plummet, leaving you feeling drained of energy and irritable. Start the day with an oatbased cereal and, instead of reaching for the mince pies or biscuits when you’re flagging, try a slice of apple spread with peanut butter instead. These slow-releasing energy foods will maintain your stamina for longer, without the sudden dip.
Get out in the fresh air
Although the cold weather makes us inclined to stay cosied up indoors, daylight and exercise are actually vital for recharging our batteries. Dr Rupert advises, ‘If it’s a sunny day, try to get out at lunchtime for a brisk walk. A breath of fresh air in the local park, in between the festivities, will provide some much-needed oxygen replenishment, as well as light exercise, which is beneficial for your body, mind and overall energy levels.’
Take time out
With the party season in full swing, not all of us can fit in a morning meditation or yoga class to relax, but there are other ways to reboot your brain. Simply switching off all devices, turning your phone to ‘flight mode’ and finding a calm, quiet place to lie down for half an hour can be enough to get you feeling back to normal.
You’ll probably have quite a few late nights, but going to bed at erratic times each night will disrupt your body clock and leave you feeling groggy the next morning. Making your bedroom a haven of tranquillity will ensure you nod off in peace. ‘Limit the Christmas decorations to the other parts of your home,’ Lisa suggests. ‘Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep. It should be neither too hot or too cold, and as quiet and dark as possible.’ And her last vital piece of advice? ‘Keep some earplugs handy to block out the sound of your partner’s alcohol- or feast-induced snoring!’