Surviving Christmas

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There is no holiday quite like Christmas – time with family, Christmas carols and songs, the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree, the frenzied exchange of gifts, parties galore, and way too much food.

The uniqueness of Christmas is also what can make it a difficult and potentially dangerous time. Studies show that the rate of depression rises at Christmas as do road traffic accidents and household injuries.

Here are some simple tips to help you stay healthy and safe over the holidays.

Emotional wellbeing

The holidays can be quite stressful if you’re not careful. Significant areas of stress are finances, travel to the home village, and relationships with relatives. The first rule of stress management is to try to avoid or eliminate the source of stress.

  • Set a budget for spending on gifts and stick to it – it’s foolish to spend lavishly on gifts and then be broke after Christmas.
  • The best gift you can give anyone is your genuine love and affection – spend quality time with your spouse, children, and your aging parents. You can enjoy each other’s company without spending a lot of money – play games, watch movies, be creative.
  • Opt not to go to the village this year if it’s going to stretch your finances to the limit.

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Safe travel

  • If you’re driving to your village, service your car ahead of the trip to make sure it’s road worthy and can handle the journey.
  • If you’re traveling by commercial vehicle, be wise in your choice of transportation. It is sensible to spend a little more on the fare for a safe, well-managed bus line.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings at all times.
  • Do not drink alcohol and drive.
  • Do not allow yourself to be driven by anyone who is intoxicated.

Safety at home or in the village

The kids are home on holiday, running around and having fun.

  • Make sure they’re supervised to avoid injuries such as burns, falls, and accidental poisoning.
  • Alcohol can be toxic to young children so be careful with alcoholic beverages left unattended by visiting guests.
  • Do not leave your child in the care of adults with whom you’re not familiar.
  • Do not leave your female child in the care of a male relative or friend.

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Healthy Eating

You tend to let our hair down and relax over the holidays. There’s no shame in admitting it – you’ll probably overeat and add diet and exercise to your list of resolutions for the New Year. By February you’ll give up on the healthy eating, and the extra kilos you put on over Christmas will stick around for good. Here’s how to bust that trend:

  • Try to eat healthy foods at least every other day over the holidays with the occasional splurging in the day between. You’ll have less to undo in January!
  • Eat low carbohydrate, low sugar foods, fish, lots of fresh vegetables, and fruit.
  • Drink at least 1.5 liters of water daily.
  • Diarrhea is common over the holidays – drink clean water and wash your hands regularly.
  • Go easy on the alcohol.

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Fitness

You’re on holiday, so your work schedule is no longer an excuse to put off exercising.

  • Take a brisk walk or run for 20 -30 minutes daily. Walk fast enough to work up a bit of a sweat. Your heart will thank you, and by January, you’ll be glad you did.
  • Get your kids away from electronic devices and have fun outdoors together as a family
  • Get lots of sleep.

Click here for more on practical steps to a healthy lifestyle.

Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Enjoy it, stay safe, and begin the New Year happy and healthy.

 

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