Make Health a Habit! Tips to maintain your wellness over Christmas and New Year.

“If Summer had one defining scent, it’d definitely be the smell of barbecue.”

– Katie Lee

In Australia, Christmas is a real summer scorcher, so it is a good time to eat healthfully. But, many still hold on to ideas of traditional, hearty holiday feasts, more seasonally appropriate to Winter celebrations on the other side of the world. Navigating the pandemic has been hard and it hasn’t done great things for our mental or physical health. Trending, cringeworthy terms like, “corona kilos” and “iso anxiety and depression” reflect our struggle with the disruption to our lives brought about by the challenges of 2020.

For me personally, I had a newborn baby and an active toddler in isolation this year. During this time, I had to deal with other stressful issues, the death of my beloved Grandpa and returned to work full time. My short-lived maternity leave, now feels like a distant memory! Having just finished breastfeeding, I am prioritising self-care and focusing on wellness, while the sun is out and the demands of work, life and school lessen.

It is difficult re-connecting with our bodies and making healthful choices at this time of year and pandemic stress has exacerbating things. The festive season is filled with excesses and enticing unhealthy food choices. Then we get bombarded with New Year Resolution commercials by the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry, pitching crash diets and illusions of quick weight loss. Images of celebrities, flawlessly airbrushed while working out in scantily clad attire, seem to abound at this time of year. These unrealistic images bring body image issues to a head, causing many to engage in an unhelpful cycle of emotional eating and withdrawing from activity. It can mean we don’t go for that swim, hike, walk or run – feeling we don’t measure up to the unattainable images in the media. This is truly unfortunate, given that exercise is the most underutilised antidepressant. It is a fun way to keep fit, strengthen muscles, release stress, flood the body with feel good endorphins, lift our mood and elevate our coping responses. There are tremendous positive psychological and physiological benefits of outdoor exercise and healthful eating.

So, with this awareness – let’s be proactive! Prioritising our own self-care all starts with how we feel about ourselves. To get you started here are 2 tips to feel good, so we can make healthy choices over the holidays;

  • Limit your screen time – that includes your phone and other digital devices. Value conscious awareness and healthy skepticism. I used to model when I was younger but I was very regimented with my food, had a rigorous exercise schedule and a team of people, taking hundreds of photos at shoots to get that one perfect picture (before it was retouched). It’s no wonder you don’t look like the images in the media. Psst… Models don’t either!
  • Slow down and be still – this is especially for us Mum’s, who take on too much and often put unreasonable expectations on ourselves. Take time to recharge, because racing around trying to please everyone or putting ourselves last only leaves us depleted (and resentful, which impacts our whole family). Holidays are going to look different this year, with travel and family plans disrupted, so make some time to process the emotions this brings up for you, which will make you less reactive. Find some time for yoga, meditation or another mindful activity, this will help you connect with your own body + inner wisdom and drown out the extra white noise the holidays can bring.

Naturopath and Nutritionist, The Health Wizard – Jack Will Love, has some handy tips to support your wellness this Summer;

  • Stay Hydrated – Remember to drink the recommended 2-2.6 litres of water per day, which can be easily incorporated by eating seasonal fruits and salads that naturally contain a high water content. Watermelons and Cucumbers for instance are 90-96% water. Increasing these types of foods, also provides our bodies with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which ultimately leads to good general wellbeing.
  • Make family outdoor activity fun – Our family recently purchased a trampoline that even the adults can use. Take turns showing off how high you can jump. Have running races, but don’t forget to let the kids win sometimes! Gardening can also be a fun family activity too. The kids can hold the hose, which may or may not turn into a water fight? 😉
  • Meals – Instead of the usual sausages on the BBQ, try seafood? Whole Cuttlefish is virtually fat free and tastes delicious when grilled. Salmon with the skin on, or marinated prawn skewers are great with a salad and a baked potato. Try grilling vegetables on the Barbie, things like; Parsnip, Beetroot, Capsicum or Zucchini are non-carcinogenic when grilled.
  • Boundaries with junk food – Snacking can be the biggest problem for most people, so if it is highly processed (foods such as chips and biscuits), keep them to a minimum. Don’t ever empty the whole bag into a bowl, try pouring 1/3 into a smaller bowl and put the rest away. Add some healthful crackers with thinly sliced cheese and pickled onion. Smoked oysters light up any platter, along with Celery and Carrot sticks. An easy Dipping Sauce of: 1/2 Cup Mayo, 1 Tsp Tomato paste, 1Tsp Tom Sauce, Lemon juice and your fav chilli sauce, goes great with them.    

Start small but start now and reap the many health benefits. Time waits for no one, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Big changes after all, are the accumulation of small efforts over time. Nobody is perfect, so be kind to yourself on your journey – you’ve been grappling with a lot this year, let’s strive for progress – not perfection.

Merry Christmas and may your 2021 be full of fun! 🙂

For more of Jack’s natural food and gardening tips, visit these links —>

The Apothecary – Tasmania

The Health Wizard on YouTube

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