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How to Stay Healthy Over Christmas

  • Dec 20, 2017
  • Wellbeing

Table Setup With Decorations For Christmas Dinner Or Lunch

Tis’ the season to be jolly and with it, a number of bad habits may become established that could seriously affect your health and joy. Here are some tips to help you to stay healthy over this Christmas period.

Snack Responsibly

You may have time off work during the Christmas holidays, giving you plenty of opportunities to snack so it’s important to know how to do it responsibly. BBC Good Food recommends that you have a pre-party snack before any outings or parties that your attending over the Christmas holidays; something healthy like a plain yoghurt with a sliced banana. According to Healthline, yoghurt makes you feel fuller for longer by increasing the production of hormones that signal fullness, so grabbing a quick yoghurt before going can make you feel less hungry and less likely to snack at the buffet!

Here are some tips for snacking responsibly:

  • Slow Down – eating slowly allows your body time to digest and feel full, you will end up eating less than if you were eating faster. This can be done by eating foods that take time to peel or crack open.
  • Portion it out – consider the portion sizes of your snacks and remember that instead of snacking on biscuits, you can snack on healthy fruit and veg instead.
  • Distract Yourself – this causes your mind to think about something else other than food.
  • Don’t Buy Food You’ll Give in to – not buying the snacks that tempt you the most is the best way to avoid eating them. If they aren’t there, fighting temptation becomes easier.

Cure Your Hangover

The NHS offers some advice regarding hangovers.  They point out that there is no hangover cure, only ways to avoid one, and suggest things you can do to ease discomfort if you have one. 

  • Avoiding a hangover - Stay away from dark coloured drinks as they contain congeners which irritate blood tissue and vessels in the brain - making a hangover worse. Always have a meal before you drink, this will help slow down the body’s alcohol absorption. Drink plenty of water or non-fizzy soft drink between alcoholic drinks to keep yourself hydrated, also drink a pint of water before you sleep and keep a glass beside you to sip if you wake during the night.


  • Treating a hangover – according to Drink Aware, dehydration is one of the main causes of hangover symptoms. So, to deal with a hangover you must rehydrate your body. Painkillers can help with any headaches and muscle cramps, but always follow medical advice and read the label. The NHS also adds that sugary food may help you feel less shaky, although sometimes you may need to first line your stomach with an antacid. They suggest that thin vegetable-based broths are easy for a fragile stomach to digest and are a good source of vitamins and minerals to help you build up lost resources.

Reduce Stress

Christmas should be a time of celebration and happiness, but holidays can still bring stress and challenges to your mental health whether you are at work or at home. Here are some tips on coping with the festive holidays.

When wrapping up at work:

  • Take time out to organise what you need to do before the festive break and what can be carried over to when you get back
  • Realistically manage people’s expectation of when you can work in your final few days
  • Plan for your return by blocking out time in your first few days back to deal with requests and list your key tasks to complete when you first get back
  • Take breaks away from your desk
  • Try to get fresh air during the day and be clear about your priorities if you’re in the office during the Christmas and New Year period.

While you are off work:

  • Try not to think about work
  • Don’t check your emails unless it’s urgent
  • Leave enough time for yourself to relax and stick to your normal routine
  • Keep up with regular exercise
  • Don’t overindulge on unhealthy food and drink. 

Stay Active

Although Christmas is a time to relax, with the darker days and the drop in temperature tempting you to stay indoors and skip your exercise, staying active is just as important during the Christmas holidays as any other day. The NHS recommends choosing an activity that you enjoy or something that you can do indoors, such as yoga, swimming or rock climbing. If you don’t mind the cold, you could wrap up warm and take a walk, run or bike ride; you could even try ice skating or other winter sports.

But don’t forget to seek medical advice first if you haven’t exercised much recently or if you are feeling unwell, and don’t overdo it.

Have a jolly good time over the festive period, take a break, relax, celebrate and spend time with your loved ones. Enjoy yourself while taking care of your health too!

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from the Freedom Health Insurance team! 

Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not substitute the medical advice from a healthcare professional.