The tinsel and baubles are already appearing in shop windows leaving no doubt that Christmas is fast approaching. After the year we have just endured, and with the COVID-19 restrictions gradually easing, many people are more excited than ever about reuniting with family and celebrating the festive season. But if we want 2021 to be a better, happier, healthier year, it is important to avoid a ‘blowout’ this Christmas to avoid health issues that take more than a New Year’s resolution to fix.
So, make your Santa list (and check it twice) but this one too – it might just be the best Christmas gift you have ever given yourself.
Drink alcoholic drinks slowly, checking the time and pacing your intake. Alternate drinks with refreshing icy water. Some surveys found that alcohol consumption triples over the Christmas period, (which might account it being called ‘the silly season’!). Having fun is important but keeping a check on your alcohol intake is essential to protect your physical and mental health.
A recent Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education poll found that during the pandemic,
- 70% of respondents said they were drinking more than usual,
- 34% now drinking daily and
- 28% citing anxiety and stress as the catalyst for the change.
Maybe the festive season is a good time to check habits that have formed during lockdown to limit risks of the numerous preventable diseases associated with alcohol – cancers, heart disease, diabetes, liver damage, obesity.
Keep plenty of fresh salad, veggies and fruit on the menu. Mix up snack food with unsalted nuts or grains, carrots and celery for nibbling! Whether it’s plum pud, prawns or pav, there’s no question that Christmas fare is delicious but there’s a reason Santa is so portly! Fatty foods make up the bulk of traditional Christmas food. While occasional indulgence is not an issue, the health issues associated with overeating and poor diet – obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnoea – should be avoided.
Keep a jug of cold water alongside the sunscreen dispenser when outside. Think slip-slop-slap-seek-slide-SLURP to keep hydrated. Christmas + Australia = heat. Remember to keep hydrated (a loss of only 2% of total body fluid can lead to the signs and symptoms of mild dehydration, such as dry mouth, fatigue and irritability). Protect yourself from the sun and keep the ‘Christmas Glow’ for the fairy lights.
Find your thirty. A brisk walk, a swim, a game of backyard cricket – something that gets your heart pumping will benefit more than just your waistline. Work off that baked ham and sweet treats with some active fun. Forget about the television screens and get outside for thirty minutes – walk, play, swim, breathe deeply and raise your pulse. Your head and your heart will thank you for it.
Power off. Give the technology a break. Make uninterrupted time for family, friends, and your mind.
With so many of us distanced during the pandemic and relying on screens for work and school connections, what better time to turn off the technology and reconnect with each other?
Remember the importance of sleep – not just a post-turkey dinner nap. Remember to make time for yourself a priority and ensure you get plenty of sleep. Our bodies work hard to repair cells while we sleep, and our brain gets a well-deserved rest from the constant stimulation of wakefulness.
We understand that illness does not take a break this time of year. Family Doctors Plus is open and staying open to care for you throughout the festive season. Book an appointment online or call our friendly reception staff on 33578192 and we would be happy to help you. Merry Christmas!