It’s here, finally!
Hopefully you are also one of these people who love xmas. (If not, don’t worry, I get it. The main reason I love xmas is that I was terribly spoilt as a child!)
For those of us who can it’s a real privilege to spend time connecting with loved ones and just have fun.
Personally I also love to use this time to reflect on another busy year and to come up with some new BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) for the next one.
By the time January 1st arrives I’m ultra clear on what I’d love to see happen and can hit the ground running.
The momentum built in January can set the tone for an entire year of chasing your dreams.
With that in mind I want share an observation with you that I think is important to be aware of at this time of year.
Over the last few years when January comes around I have been intrigued by a phenomenon that seems to bring chaos to peoples lives and a stalled start to the new year.
I’m talking about the January Health Blues.
Year on year I observe people just sort of ‘fall apart’ come January.
Back pain returns, coughs and colds emerge, weight is gained, fatigue, depression and brain fog can all raise their ugly heads.
It truly is a curious thing to see because these same people were doing just fine when I last saw them in December! How could this be? Well, I believe there is only one logical reason for this – Xmas is bad for you! Here are my 5 top tips to stay healthy over xmas and avoid a back pain relapse and start 2017 feeling strong and raring to go.
1. Stay Hydrated
It’s always worth remembering that you are 70% water. By the time that you start feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated and it can take up to 2 days to fully rehydrate again. When you are dehydrated your body is less able to eradicate the build up of toxins, which can have a harmful effect on your immune system. The christmas diet is usually fairly well loaded with additional toxins and burdens for your digestive tract and liver to clean up. Staying hydrated will help you to better process these toxins and avoid a possible harmful build up.
If you choose to drink booze, it is always wise to maintain moderation and to stick to just one type of drink. The lighter in colour the drink the fewer the harmful chemicals it likely contains. This can be helpful for avoiding a hangover. Remember that alcohol is essentially an empty calorie, so if you don’t want to gain excess weight over the holidays then limit yourself to 1-2 drinks per day. Alcohol is also a diuretic which means that it will further dehydrate you and leave you prone to headaches and tiredness. So always drink extra water if you consume alcohol.
A good general rule to follow is 6-8 glasses of water per day. Perhaps you could place a jug of water in lounge with some glasses so that the whole family remembers to stay topped up.
2. Keep Moving
Your body craves movement! It is amazing to experience just how quickly your body structure and health can decline when you become sedentary. Think of sitting as a toxin for your body. If you sit all day long for 4 days straight over the holidays please don’t be surprised if you brain is foggy, your digestion is sluggish and your back is stiff (or worse, gets uninjured as you bend down to play with the kids).
Movement is an essential nutrient required for your brain to stay alert and your body to handle stress. You need it, almost as much as you need air!
So get up and move around at least every 30 minutes. Its a good opportunity to get out the house and breath some fresh air. Central heated air can get stale and toxic, especially when you have a house full.
Here are some fantastic, simple exercises that you can do to keep your body and mind loose. The Yes/No/Maybe exercises are particularly effective for stimulating your brain and dissipating stress from your system.
3. Ease Off The Sweets
You already know this, but sugar is a toxin (are you starting to see a theme here). Try to elevate the sweets and quality street to the status of ‘rare treat’ and perhaps eat them once per day after a meal. Sugar has an exceptional ability to reduce your immune system, harm your gut, toxify your body, fog your mind, leave you feeling depressed and robbed of energy. The list does go on as well. It seems like a cruel twist of fate that something so tasty could be so deadly, yet that is just the truth of it. If you go over board on the sugar you can expect to gain weight and lower the effectiveness of your immune system. This is one of the main culprits for January coughs, colds and flu’s.
If you do eat deserts and sweet treats you can try sprinkling a half teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon powder over the top. The active properties of cinnamon have almost magical properties to help your body better process sugar. One last tip on the sugar front, if you must eat it, make sure to combine it with other food groups and avoid eating it by itself as this will slow the absorption of the sugars and help to keep your hormones more stable.
4. Don’t Forget To Feed Your Gut Too!
Yes, your digestive system has christmas needs all of its won. In fact your gut needs to be fed with the right types of healthy bacteria (probiotics) every single day if it is to stay healthy. The high sugar, high processed diet of xmas can place an extra burden on your gut, so make sure you give it come extra attention over xmas by ensuring a daily supply of either fermented foods (like Sauerkraut, Kombucha or Kefir) or a high quality probiotic supplement capsule (taken each morning upon rising).
About 70% of your immune system is formed from the good bacteria that live in your gut. If you want to stay strong and free of illness in January it will serve you well to protect your gut biome with this simple daily habit.
5. Take Some Time For Yourself
The most elusive and destructive force in health is emotional stress. It’s a really tricky beast to handle and the truth is that xmas has the ability to ensure that most of us
will have our emotional stress buttons pushed once or twice. Wether thats an argument with the spouse, misbehaving children or the stress of being alone, it doesn’t matter. The end result is a lowering of your immune system, a tax on your body and a greater likelihood of illness or injury. One simple strategy is to just take some time out for yourself each day. That could be a relaxing bath, reading your book for 15 minutes, a walk around the path, really anything to break the pattern of the day and give yourself time to think, breath and decompress.
There you have it, 5 simple but wildly effective strategies to help you get through the xmas period in fine fettle and out the other end ready to get 2017 off to a flyer. The basic theme is to avoid stress as much as possible, in all forms. The effect of stress is a gradual tax on your body that leaves it vulnerable. The good news is that each of these strategies is a simple habit and simple choice, made proactively. You are always in control!
Heres to a wildly successful and healthy xmas and 2017,
Live In Alignment
Thrive At Life
Dr Richard Gliddon
Wellness Chiropractor, Coach, Mentor