Although families up and down the country are facing a very different Christmas in 2020, you might already have entered into that season where we tend to eat and drink more than normal.
Social gatherings and Christmas parties may not be happening as we know it this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but the chances are you may still find chocolates, cakes, sweets and alcohol closer to hand than normal.
With this in mind, Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub has explored some simple ways that we can stay healthy over the Christmas period.
Of course, Christmas is a time to enjoy yourself, so the below eleven simple tips focus on keeping healthy without missing out on the festive fun!
A GUIDE TO STAYING HEALTHY THIS CHRISTMAS
Eating and Drinking: Don’t Overindulge
With so much food and drink right at your fingertips, it can be tempting to overindulge. It’s not the worst thing to indulge a little extra than normal at this time of year, but keeping a level of discipline can go a long way to helping your health. Be aware of your body and if you feel full or bloated and sluggish, stop eating or drinking. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you step on the scales come January.
Healthy Breakfast: Start the Day Well
After all of the Christmas festivities, it can be tempting to indulge in a hearty English breakfast. However, a fry-up is not the cure you’re looking for and you’ll be missing out on key hangover-busting nutrients. If you’re craving something warm, a healthy omelette packed with vitamin-filled veggies is your best bet, but if you can’t face a cooked breakfast, a good helping of berries and probiotic yoghurt will also work wonders.
Keep Moving: Walking and Exercising Over Christmas
It might be a challenge to keep up with your regular exercise regime at Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you get to stop moving altogether. After a big Christmas lunch, why not walk it off for an hour? The movement will help to keep your heart healthy and burn a few extra calories, not to mention the benefits of a breath of fresh, winter air! If the gym is closed, maybe you could do a few exercises in the house. If your fitness class is off for the holidays, why not video call a friend and do something different that gets you moving. Maybe something you get for Christmas could be something you use to keep fit and active?
Stay Hydrated: Drink Plenty of Water
Water really is a miracle worker when it comes to health and fitness. Drinking plenty of water can help to keep your metabolism moving, meaning that you are less likely to pile on as many pounds after Christmas dinner. What’s more, with more alcohol flowing and later nights, keeping hydrated is essential for staying awake and alert to enjoy all the fun during the day.
Minimise Stress: Take Time Out and Relax
Life is rarely a smooth ride. You might have been under tremendous stress this year due to work, studies, health, responsibilities or other personal circumstances. Christmas and New Year in itself can be a very stressful and difficult time of year for many, especially for parents and those who have lost loved ones. Remember to be kind to yourself, take time to de-stress and do something to help you relax. Everyone needs a break, and that includes you!
Fend Off the Cold: Stay Warm Indoors and Outdoors
Don’t be surprised if you feel the cold when you step outside this Christmas or even to see some snowflakes! It’s important to keep warm both when outdoors and indoors. Dress sensibly and wrap up warm when out and about. Don’t suffer in the cold when inside either, use central heating and other amenities when needed.
Medication and Healthcare: Think Ahead at Christmas
Remember that GP practices and pharmacies will be closed on certain days over the Christmas and New Year period. If you rely on particular medication or health treatment, make sure you plan ahead. Find out when your GP practice or pharmacy is open. Make sure you order any repeat prescriptions in plenty of time. Now is also a good time to double check that home medicine cabinets are well stocked with over-the-counter remedies so that minor illnesses and injuries can be managed at home. Additionally, keep key health information to hand, such as the NHS 24 telephone number (111) and website address (www.nhs24.scot).
Don’t Spoil Christmas: Stay in Control with Alcohol, Sex and Drugs
Christmas can lead to even the most reserved person letting their hair down more than usual. The last thing you want to do is to wake up the next day to realise you’ve done something you regret. Make sure you don’t drink and drive. Make sure you don’t practice unsafe sex. And steer clear of illicit and health-damaging temptations such as drugs. You know it makes sense!
Stick Together: Help Others and Seek Help If You Need It
It’s not just people in poorer countries who might be struggling this Christmas. If you’re in a position to, look out for others in Cumbernauld who may be vulnerable or having a hard time. It might be an elderly neighbour, a family you know who struggles to make ends meat or someone who has lost a loved one this year. And if you need help yourself, there are local organisations who can offer support, such as Cornerstone House Centre, Bethlehem House of Bread Food Bank, Cumbernauld Poverty Action, Cumbernauld Citizens Advice Bureau, NHS 24 and Samaritans Scotland.
Observe the Rules: We’re Still Going Through a Pandemic
It is, of course, going to be very difficult for everyone not to have normal freedom of movement this Christmas. You might even be tempted to break Scottish Government coronavirus restrictions to see certain family members or friends over the festive period. The simple message is don’t do it. Your health and wellbeing and the health and wellbeing of your loved ones could be seriously compromised if you take a chance. It’s not worth the risk.
Enjoy Yourself: Embrace Friends, Family and the Christmas Spirit
Whilst it is important to eat healthily, stay active and look after yourself and others this Christmas, there’s also such a thing as ‘everything in moderation’. Make sure you take the time to enjoy yourself during the holidays and embrace the time you have with friends and family. And don’t forget the true meaning of Christmas – why not celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ by joining an online service of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship this Christmas?
For more health campaign information and advice from Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub over the festive period and into 2021, contact Cornerstone House Centre on 01236 739220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.