Dreading the festive bloat and stress? Four ways you can look after your body this Christmas

The festive season can be one of the most fun times of the year, but it tends to be one of the most hectic too – and especially hard on our wellbeing.

Work Christmas dos and festive parties with friends and family fill up many people’s calendars from late November onwards. While these seasonal get togethers can be great fun and get us in the festive spirit, they can also have an impact on our body and mind.

The rich festive food, Buck’s Fizz and late nights can add up and take a toll on our health, especially when combined with dark and cold winter evenings.

So how can we enjoy ourselves to the fullest this festive period without putting ourselves under any unnecessary stress? To help us find the ideal balance, the herbal experts at Pukka Herbs are here to share their four tips for listening to your body this Christmastime.

1) Enjoy outdoor festive activities

When the nights draw in and the weather becomes chillier it can be tempting to hibernate and stay warm at home. However keeping active is important for both our mental and physical health, so don’t let the chilly weather put you off enjoying the great outdoors and getting some fresh air.

As well as getting your heart pumping and your body moving, exercise is great for supporting our immunity to keep us in top health at this time of year.

The good news is that there are lots of festive activities we can enjoy outdoors, so you can have fun with friends and family while moving your body. You could try choosing a Christmas tree for your household or searching for natural materials like holly and pine cones to create a festive wreath.

This is also a great time of year to enjoy walks with the family to spend some quality time together. If you want to get outdoors with your little ones, you could take them to a Christmas light show or create your own outdoor festive scavenger hunt.

2) Find ways to add nutrition

One of the many things to love about the festive season is the delicious food and drinks on offer, from sweet treats like mince pies and Christmas cakes to savoury snacks like crisps and nibbles. These are seasonal staples for most of us but sadly they add little nutrition to our diets.

However, Christmas is a time to enjoy our favourite festive treats, like a delicious Christmas hot chocolate or a slice of your loved one’s homemade Christmas cake.

Rather than trying to avoid these tasty foods, allow yourself to enjoy them, but make sure you include some more nutritious seasonal foods too, such as nuts, citrus fruits, root vegetables and, of course, Brussels sprouts. This will help support you to stay nourished, healthy and energised while you take part in the festive fun.

Including seasonal spices in your cooking is also a great way to add some extra nutrition. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and star anise, commonly used in mulled wine, can also be added to roasted or braised vegetables, porridge, soups or hot drinks to add delicious flavour and warmth, along with many powerful plant compounds that can support our health.

3) Help your body digest food

You may find that you struggle more with heartburn and indigestion at Christmas. This can be in part down to the amount you eat and the type of food you eat, especially rich and high fat foods which can trigger digestive problems.

Trying to avoid too much over-indulgence is the best way to avoid digestive issues, but there are a few other ways you can support your digestion too. Drinking a mint or ginger tea 30 minutes after a meal can help you feel more comfortable and support digestion. You can also try:

  • Eating at a slower pace and chewing your food more.
  • Stop eating before you feel too full.
  • Avoiding late night snacking.
  • Taking a short walk after your meal.

4) Take some “me time”

The festive period provides many of us with plenty of opportunities to spend time with our loved ones. It wouldn’t be Christmas without all this family time, but being constantly on the go and always busy with others can be incredibly tiring. To make sure you have both the mental and physical energy to enjoy the holiday to the fullest try to take some time to yourself every so often.

There are lots of ways to practise self-care in the busy Christmas period, so try experimenting to find the best method for you. This could be having a pampering session with a hot bath and a face mask, or curling up on the sofa with your favourite cup of herbal tea and a good book.

Whichever way you prefer to unwind, make sure that you get enough time to feel well rested so that you can enjoy the rest of the festivities.

Find the festive season tricky? Here are seven ways you can take the stress out of Christmas.

Christmas is a busy time – give your body the gift of good health

Christmas tends to be one of the busiest times of the year for most of us. Plans with friends and family combined with the delicious but rich Christmas food and drink can take a toll on our bodies. But the good news is that there are a number of ways we can listen to our bodies and stay in tune with our needs, whilst still enjoying the best bits of the season.

Just like at any other time of year, the key to feeling good is having balance. Enjoy the tasty festive treats, but don’t forget to also nourish your body with nutrient-rich food to give your body the energy it needs to make the most of Christmastime.

And while this period is perfect for spending quality time with our nearest and dearest, remember to take some time for yourself too so you can rest and recover from those late nights.

Jo Webber is the Herbal Education Lead at Pukka Herbs.