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Your 2021 Festive Season Survival Guide
'Tis the season! The festive season has always been my favourite holiday. And for an Aussie gal living in Europe, the possibility of a white Christmas each year always makes my heart sing. While my heart loves Christmas, we all know the festive season can also be one of the most stressful. So here goes with a Survival Guide for getting you through the next few weeks happy, healthy, and with a heart in overflow.
How to Start Each Day
No matter the season, I always remind myself that feeling good is a choice that starts from within. It's an intention we get to set at the beginning of each day, and when we do, we set ourselves up for that to be our reality.
So before my feet hit the floor, I physically bring a smile to my face by thinking of all the good things I have going on in my life. And then I ask myself, What can I do today that will have my soul smiling tonight? as I drift off to sleep again, and I make sure I either do that thing or at least bring myself a step closer to it.
Then I get my M&Ms on! No, not the green and red kind J I get moving and meditate. Whenever possible, doing some form of exercise first thing in the morning, before anything else, sets us up for the day. Knowing we've taken care of ourselves and feeling accomplished first thing sets the ball rolling! And let's face it, as the Chrissie get-togethers roll in, the less likely we'll feel like working out later in the day.
I talk more about why I mediate HERE and share how to get started with an easy 11-minute practice at the end of this article.
When it comes to working out in cold weather, I honestly look no further than my laptop and lounge-room floor. Here are two of my favourite YouTube channels yoga, Pilates, HIIT, and weight-training routines, with workout times starting from 9mins -yep, no excuses!
How to Eat to Feel Festive and Healthy
Then I make sure to get my celery juice on – juicing has become a life-saver in terms of what I feel it does for my immune system, energy levels, and skin. Gifting yourself a high-quality juicer pays for itself over and over again ;-)
Or if I've planned ahead, I'll make myself this gorgeous red juice – perfect for too little sleep or one too many glasses of bubbles the night before:
Beetroot Detox Juice (Serves 1-2)
3 sticks celery
1 bulb fennel
½-1 inch fresh ginger
Wash, scrub or peel and cut the produce to fit your juicer's feed chute. Juice, stir, pour and enjoy daily for instant feel-good energy.
After a green or red juice, I look for some high-protein food. Because protein is the most satiating macronutrient, it keeps us feeling the fullest longest. So things like scrambled eggs, a tofu scramble, smoked salmon, or good quality ham are great choices at this time of year. Prefer to take something with you on the go? Then a Complete by JuicePlus+ Shake is a great option.
Having something that's both healthy and satisfying first thing usually leads to less cravings/snacking later in the day – double win! But let's be honest, what's Christmas without some sweet treats?! These pretty little things are the perfect sugarless pick-me-up for this time of year. And the way they almost twinkle with the little pieces of raspberry also makes them the perfect homemade gift idea!
Ruby Red RASPBERRY COCOA Festive Bliss Balls
INGREDIENTS (Makes approx. 24)
2 cups pitted Medjool dates (19-20 dates)
1½ cups raw almonds
½ cup freeze-dried raspberries
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons unsalted almond butter
1-2 tablespoons warm water if the mixture is dry.
- Add the dates, almonds, raspberries, coconut, and cocoa powder to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is thick and crumbly.
- Add the almond butter and continue to pulse. Take a small amount of mixture and press it between your fingers. If it sticks together easily and can roll into a ball shape, it's ready. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, pulsing in between, until it's sticky enough to hold its shape.
- Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
And if there's no time to make something like this, then make the most of being able to snack on seasonal fruits like clementines, pomegranates, persimmons, fresh figs, and dates.
Getting Enough Sleep
It is super important at this time of year as emotions can run high, and we naturally feel more under the weather from shorter days, colder weather, and more social activities.
3 Tips for Getting the Sleep You Need This Festive Season
1) When you can, arrange daytime or early evening get-togethers with a commitment to leave by a particular time. Tell the host or those closest to you, in advance, the time you want to go so there's no last-minute "But you can't leave now!"
2) Once home, put some candles and soft festive music on and wind down without your phone or any social media posting or scrolling. Instead, grab a favourite book and read a few pages before switching off the light at the time you promised yourself.
3) Sleep with your window open an inch or two. Sleeping in a cooler room full of fresh air can make all the difference in getting a good night's sleep. If you feel the cold, pull on a pair of cotton socks and another blanket rather than close the window. Perhaps a Calming Blanket could be the perfect thing to treat yourself with this year!
Bonus Sleep tip: Try to limit your alcohol intake. I know, I know, if we can't enjoy a drink or two at this time of year, then when can we?! But that's just it, keep it to just one or two, and you'll feel so much better for it.
If you're looking for a couple of fun and healthy non-alcoholic drinks, then check out the JuicePlus+ Cheeky Spritz recipe. Or check out your local supermarket or off-license for a bottle or two of Kombucha. This fermented fizzy drink feels as festive as a glass of bubbles without the potential hangover or negative sleep effects. Another double win!
In this Festive Season Survival Guide, I also want to cover a mindset piece with you. Over the last few months, I've committed to a daily Kundalini yoga-style meditation practice. Throughout the last decade, I've gone back to this particular style of yoga over and over again, usually in times of high stress. Then as I began to feel better, I'd drop it and be off looking to test the next health and fitness hack.
It was during lockdown that I returned to my love of Kundalini. It's now something I no longer have to find the time to do – I wake up yearning for it, and it's usually the first thing I do each day. As this is the time of year when we are pulled in many different directions with family, friends, and work commitments, I wanted to leave you with a practical tool that will help calm a stressed-out mind and help you take care of YOU this Christmas. Here's how:
Posture: Sit tall on the floor with legs crossed. You can also sit in a chair if that's more comfortable, with both feet sitting on the ground, spine straight.
Mudra: Cup your hands at the level of the heart centre, with your right hand resting on top of the left. Elbows relaxed at your sides.
Eyes: Slightly open, and gaze is down into your hands.
Breath: Inhale deeply through your nose. Exhale through your open mouth and feel the breath pass over your hands. Let any persistent negative thought or desire come into your mind on the inhale and then exhale it out.
Time: 11 Minutes (set a gentle timer on your phone)
To End: Inhale deeply and hold. Exhale fully and pull the belly right up against the spine. Repeat two more times.
Immediately after ending this practice, take a minute to jot down any insights or feelings that come up for you in a journal. Don't force anything. Some days the only thought that comes up might be, My back hurts. Other days you might feel a sense of relief, or joy, or something you'd like the possibility of experiencing again.
Use those feelings to fuel a daily meditation practice. It's a gift that flows to and from you in unimaginable ways.
What's your favourite way to look after yourself during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!