How to have a balanced festive season

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The festive season is almost upon us and with it comes stress and lots of delicious food, often in equal measure! That combination can make it hard to stay balanced and many of us go into the new year feeling guilty for the indulgences we made, not to mention way more depleted than we should be after time off.

The good news is that it’s possible to be balanced and still enjoy the festive season, it just comes down to a little planning and a lot of mindset changes.

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Know your treat smart foods

How often have you mindlessly eaten your way through a tin of Quality Street chocolates even eating the less tasty ones? Being treat smart is about happily indulging in the foods that you really enjoy – the ones you’d give a 9 or 10 out of 10, and therefore passing up on the less delicious foods which can be so easy to eat mindlessly.

My treat smart foods include anything salted caramel or peanut butter, cheese and really good sourdough bread with butter. Knowing I can enjoy those things whenever I like makes it much easier to say ‘no thank you’ when someone gets out the sweets that don’t really float my boat. I never feel deprived because I know I can enjoy the food I really love!

Eat mindfully

T’is the season of eating lots of food in front of the TV! Unfortunately that’s a ticket to over indulging because your brain will struggle to register your stomach’s fullness levels when you aren’t properly chewing your food or are eating it slouching on the couch. I actually think that snuggling up on the sofa with snacks is lovely at Christmas so I approach this by just being a little more aware of how often I’m doing it and by portioning out foods like crisps or crackers rather than eating them straight from the bag.

Keep an eye on alcohol

I love a tipple at Christmas but drinking can definitely lead to eating too much, as well as being quite the calorie bomb in itself. Practice being treat smart with alcohol (only drinking your faves – I’m a red wine girl) and alternating them with water or a soft drink. You’ll not only avoid a hangover but will have so much more energy to enjoy festive fun.

Take some time out

The festive season can be incredibly stressful for women. Most of the present buying, wrapping and cooking falls to us. Add to that having to deal with family members and the stress levels can increase. Making sure you build in some time for yourself to de stress can be so helpful. A relaxing bath, movie night or even an afternoon at a spa can be great ways to reduce the festive stress.

Set some boundaries and be ok with saying no

In previous Christmases myself and my husband would travel to four different houses in different parts of the region to visit relatives before actually settling down to Christmas lunch. It was stressful finding time to see everyone before getting to my parents in time for lunch, and I hated spending so much of the day in the car on a motorway.

I’ve since discussed it with my husband and things have changed, in fact this year we’re making everyone come to us! Sometimes it’s ok to say no and set some new boundaries if the status quo is making you unhappy and leading to a less than enjoyable festive season for you.

If you hate cooking lunch and can afford to go to a pub or restaurant then why not give it a try? Think about what your ideal festive season would look and feel like and make some adjustments to bring it more closely in line with that vision.

I hope some of these tips will be helpful for you and lead to a much more balanced and enjoyable festive season!

Laura Agar Wilson


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