Are you dreading the Christmas?

5 tips how to avoid getting sick and miserable over the Christmas holidays

I don’t know how about you, I find that pre-Christmas period is very demanding both psychologically and physically. I think there’s too much commercial and social pressure.

Usually we face extra load of work linked to the end of the year, plus the hustle and excitement of upcoming vacations/ holidays, the organisation of all the presents, trips, appointments, parties, etc …

Many of us already feel tired weeks before the celebrations: during cold season our bodies operate at their limit, we stay inside more (which means eat and drink more), we move less, the liver is stagnant, so we get overloaded with toxins and gain weight… we experience hormonal shifts due to lack of sunshine /vitamin D; the super-busy schedules create chronic stress, the sleep gets worse, we have hard time waking up in the morning...

For so many years during this time of the year I felt worn-out and worked-up at the same time; I was perfectionist, trying to “do it all”… And then, passed Christmas, I’d fall sick either immediately (for example with stomach flu), or later with a cold… And then in a month again… and then in a couple of weeks again… I abused the capacity of my body, the immune system was taking a toll, hitting me right back.

Now being a health coach, I know better: my health, happiness and fulfilment come first, no matter the season, or the reason.

If you want the upcoming weeks to be cool and joyful, without side effects of catching a cold, gastro flu etc., consider these 5 strategies:

1. Get rid of Christmas stereotypes: stop following the herd

2. Sleep /rest

3. Create a nutrient-rich diet

4. Reinforce your immune system

5. Stick to your usual health routine

#1. STOP FOLLOWING THE HERD. A lot of our Christmas stress is caused by routines and traditions we follow out of obligation, rather than pleasure. Of course, there’s stuff that we genuinely like to do, but equally we often do things just to please others.

We are afraid of rejection and judgment, so we force ourselves to go see people we don’t care about, or who are toxic (like some family members so many of us have); we attend events because it’s a job obligation, and not because we want to; or, because we want to release stress, and despite being tired, we run from party to party, just to escape from our inner tensions and frustrations (which are sure to be back together with the hangover symptoms the day after).
Review all your pre-Christmas and Christmas plans using just 1 criteria: ask yourself a question: “Am I choosing this activity, because it brings me genuine joy, happiness, fulfilment? “ If the answer is “No”, ditch it without guilt. Save your body and mind from stress and your wallet from extra expense. You are doing it for you to preserve your health and be fully present for your most valuable & important life projects.

Do not be afraid to be judged. Those who truly love you and truly appreciate you, will understand and encourage your desire to take better care of yourself. The more you do things out of sheer pleasure, the stronger you’ll show up for the people and situations you care the most for.

#2. SLEEP. Because we arrive to Christmas already very tired, the damage from all the extra festivities and sleepless nights, heavy food, alcohol, long drives /travels, can easily impact our bodies and drive them to sickness… So… you need to reinforce yourself upfront: a very powerful & effective way to build your body’s strength and immunity is to have at least 7–8 hours of sleep every night. Do this one thing and you will feel huge difference.

#3 ENSURE YOU HAVE NUTRIENT-RICH DIET

Our body is not capable of producing all of the nutirents that are essential to its proper function. So we need to get those nutrients from our diet. Make sure your food is nutrient-rich, by using the follwing criteria:

  • If your great grand mother wouldn’t recognise this food /product, do not buy it.(Yes, forget supermarkets and go to farmer’s market).
  • At least ½ of each meal should consist of colourful greens, veggies, berries, nuts & seeds. The more raw, the better, but if you do not digest well raw foods in winter, do not hesitate to steam/stir-fry etc.
  • Ensure you have a complete balanced breakfast with slow carbs, protein and healthy fats (walnuts, flaxeed oil, pumkin seeds, coconut oil, salmon, avocado, etc).
  • Amounts: “Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, dine like a boy”.

#4. REINFORCE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

There’s a number of great immunity-boosting foods that, when consumed daily, reinforce body’s defence system: ginger, turmeric, garlic, onion, plus spices like cinnamon, clove, etc. Supplementing is also an option. The reference list below needs to be first verified with your treating health professional.

a) Multivitamin. Ideally non-GMO, organic, and free of dyes, additives, and colorings.

b) Vitamin D2 or plant-based D3. It’s best to get tested before supplementing so that you know how much you need.

c) Omega 3. Reducing inflammation, heart health, mood, mind, hair, and maintaining healthy weight. Or DHA and/or EPA (Plant-based Omega-3s). Vegans can take algae-sourced DHA

d) Magnesium glycinate. It helps to have restful sleep, relaxed muscles, and balanced mood, healthy bones.
 
 e) A broad spectrum probiotic with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterum strains. You can take it daily if you have gas and bloating, or a few times weekly to optimize digestion.

Here is a comprehensive HelpGuide on Vitamins and minerals from Harvard Medical School.

#5 STICK TO YOUR USUAL HEALTH ROUTINE DURING HOLIDAYS.

If we are not genuinely enjoying taking care of our health, but are doing it out of obligation, our mind will always seek loopholes to escape the obligation, and holidays are a perfect excuse to get off your track.

Think over upfront, how despite travels, partying etc you will maintain health eating, sleeping and exercising. Plan it upfront, equip yourself with all you’ll need, commit to it, and stick to it.

This is how you will see yourself a winner: healthy, happy and rested… Use the apps like “Seven” to exercise anywhere any time.

Wishing you a truly relaxed and happy holiday season.

I am Larissa Pekanova, a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. My mission is to empower my Clients to use their challenging health / life situations as an opportunity to become healthier, happier, their best self. Using personalised holistic and 100% natural approach, I help my clients and their families create sustainable healthy lifestyle, addressing a wide range of issues like weight, stress, muscle tension, fatigue/low energy, insomnia, foggy brain, digestion & skin, lack of drive and motivation. I also support companies helping them improve the employee’s health, happiness and energy levels. Book a free 1-hour Discovery consultation: www.waytobalance.org