December. The festive month of office parties, too many late nights, food and more food. The recommended average daily calorie intake is 2000 for a woman and 2500 for a man, but during the festive season it seems calorie-counting goes well and truly out of the window.
But rather than following the tradition of overeating, why not try some healthier habits? We’ve put together some top tips to help get you through the festive season.

Christmas Drinking

Be a better drinker
The festive season is well and truly upon us and, for most of us, that will mean a lot of eating, celebrating and – yes – drinking.
There are some small wins to help you make some better choices.

• Opt for a small (125ml) glass rather than a large (250ml) glass of wine.
• Stop topping up your glass before its empty. This can help you to keep track of how much you've had.
• Check yourself before the refill. Try alternating alcoholic drinks with water. It's a win win - it helps manage your alcohol intake and helps keep you hydrated so the headache the next day isn't so bad.
Psst…If your managing your calories, swap the pint of larger (230 calories) for a single gin and diet tonic (107 calories).

Recover well
Ok, so you had a few too many last night. Now, you feel reaching for a big, greasy breakfast. But is that the best food you can eat to help you feel better?

• Ditch the grease! Cook up some poached or scrambled eggs on sourdough toast, or a big bowl of porridge.
• Make sure you drink lots of water. You’ll be dehydrated, so slowly replenish your levels by constantly sipping water the next day.
• Try some gentle exercise. We know it might feel like the last thing you want to do, but gentle exercise will boost your endorphins and distract you from thinking how terrible you feel, so wrap up and go out for a long walk.

Manage your stress and anxiety levels

Stress, anxiety, and depression can be the unhealthiest thing about the festive season, yet they’re very common. There are a couple of things you can do to reduce this…

• If you’ve been tasked with cooking lunch at home, delegate tasks. You don't need to do everything yourself. Consider keeping it simple – and invite people to bring a plate of food.
• Christmas can be costly. Remember, presents don’t have to cost money – you can also give of your time or experience. Otherwise, set a limit on the cost of presents for each person.
• Use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or focusing on your breath to cope with anxiety or tension.
• If you're alone this Christmas (many of us are) there are things you can do from park runs at 9am, to volunteering - it's not too late - or even just picking up the phone to friends, family or starting a conversation with a neighbour might help you through.

Support your gut
With parties, lunches, nights out and evenings in with family and friends, it's easy to consume vast amounts of food during the festive season. But you do have some choices.

• Choose foods wisely, filling your plate with low-calorie items. That way, you can eat a larger amount of food for fewer calories and not feel deprived.
• Use smaller plates and serving utensils. Try a salad or dessert plate for the main course and a teaspoon to serve yourself.
• Stand more than an arm's length away from munchies, like a bowl of nuts or chips, while you chat so you're not tempted to raise your hand to your mouth every few seconds.

Family in the snow

Exercise right
So we know your diary is full, seeing family and friends but you still need to keep moving even in December.

• Try and get outside every single day. Even for a 15-minute walk at lunchtime, helps boost mood and energy.
• Prioritise your workouts. Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”
• Suggest a walk after your office Christmas lunch, or on Christmas Day
• Don’t lose hope. A couple of days off with no exercise and over-indulging won’t really have much of an impact.

Winter snow scene

Enjoy yourself
Most importantly let loose and have fun, it is a magical time of year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from everyone at Virgin Care Private.