Reduce the Stress of the Festive Season

Elizabeth Beetham BSc Holistic Nutritionist, Natural Health Journalist and Wellbeing Expert shares her knowledge to help you reduce the stress of the Festive Season and avoid those unwanted pounds.

I can hardly believe that Christmas is almost here; tempus fugit! I love Christmas and enjoy shopping for gifts for my family and friends but along with the excitement there is also a certain amount of stress. The reality is that the pressure of completing all the work assignments and finding time to buy and wrap the perfect presents takes its toll on all of us. To add to this burden, children are bursting with excitement and anticipation for Santa, their energy levels souring while ours flag.

I was recently asked what helps reduce the stress and anxiety felt at this time of year. What we need to do is find time to relax even when the going gets tough. My best anti-stress advice is to plan, plan, and plan. Forward planning and being organised does make a huge difference to how we feel and will certainly reduce the stress that results from dashing around at the last minute. Secondly, find time for some quiet relaxation for yourself, even if it is only a long soak in the bath, it is very important to take time to recharge your batteries.

Breathing deeply for just a few minutes is a wonderful way of de-stressing the body, has huge health benefits and will help you have a good night’s sleep.  Exercise is probably the best method of de-stressing, I know it is difficult to fit exercise into a busy schedule but you will have more energy and less stress if you just take 30 minutes exercise at least five days each week. If your nerves are really frazzled I recommend a supplement called Nutricalm which has all the B vitamins plus a tonic for the nervous system – you can order this from my website or telephone me for details.

“Tis the season to be merry,” it’s a time when we meet and party with our family and friends that perhaps we have not seen for some time; for most of us Christmas and New Year are a time for celebration. These festivities are not just about eating and drinking, we really don’t need to overindulge to have a good time. This is therefore the problem, many people associate fun with drinking and eating and often this belief system sabotages all our good intentions. Resisting overindulgence takes willpower and determination and it is important to plan your strategy to ensure you make the right choices. The good news is that there are lots of festive foods that are really healthy and my tip is if you are naughty one day be really good the next to compensate.

Smoked salmon is a good choice and has only 80 calories per portion; it is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids which protect the body from many diseases. Turkey is an excellent source of protein and contains approximately half the saturated fat of red meat; remove the skin to make it even healthier and reduce the calories per portion by 50. Avoid adding butter to vegetables and make the bread sauce with skimmed milk which will reduce the calorie count by almost one third. Brussel sprouts provide us with Vitamin C and folic acid which are both depleted when we drink alcohol. Resist the roast potatoes, they soak up the fat and are full of unwanted calories; fill up on the other vegetables. I love mince pies too but only as an occasional treat or they will prove disastrous to your weight reduction regime. Remember – “A moment on the lips is a month on the hips”!

Alcohol is the real demon because it not only stimulates the appetite but once we have had a few glasses our resolve not to be greedy goes straight out of the window. It is best never to start drinking on an empty stomach; also if you are going to a buffet party try and have something healthy like a bowl of soup before you go out and avoid anything with pastry which is full of fat and calories. If you are going out to dinner, start the evening with a soft drink and save the alcohol and those calories until you are eating. Alcohol is dehydrating, full of calories and puts a strain on the liver; to protect the body drink at least one glass of water for every glass of alcoholic drink. Milk thistle is a good tonic for the liver if you do end up with that hangover from hell!

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year – live with joy and health.

Elizabeth Beetham
Tel: 01926 864263