– By Liz Dene

Well it is almost upon us, the biggest time of the year. The time when we put our usual routine on hold and focus on the never-ending parties, social catch ups and basically eat and drink a whole lot more the usual.

Let’s face some facts, it’s December already the year has flown by. You and everyone else is feeling somewhat exhausted. The festive season (as much fun as it is) can take its toll on your mind and body. If you don’t pace yourself and try to find some balance is this silly season you’ll end up feeling like you need to go to rehab for the month of January.

If you are like me, I sometimes find it hard to know when to stop and can feel the effects for days after the event. It’s like we try and cram as much into the month as we do for the whole year. Everyone wants to catch up for Christmas. With all that endless food and little exercise it can really take it’s toll on the body. In this issue, I have put together some ideas to help you survive the silly season without waking up feeling a decade older. If however you do over-indulge I have some ideas to get you up and back feeling fabulous sooner.

Here are some tips to help you through the season, plus have you looking and feeling great.

1. Keep hydrated

Drink a minimum of 2L of filtered water every day, more if you are drinking alcohol. Make your first drink non-alcoholic. If not enough water is consumed; the summer heat mixed with a few alcoholic beverages will almost always result in dehydration. Add some lemon and a sprig of mint for a refreshing and cleansing drink and try to drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink. Have a spritzer (half wine, half soda) or try a vodka, lime and soda. If you know you are having a few drinks then drink plenty of fluid during the day and try to drink plenty of water before you go to bed. Add some Vitamin B and you could feel a whole lot better in the morning.

2. Make time for exercise

Even if you are someone who manages regular exercise throughout the year, it’s very easy to let your routine slide once the celebrations begin. Maintaining your exercise regime will help keep your energy levels up so you’ll have more stamina to survive the social whirlwind. Be wary of burning the candle at both ends. Listen to you body and get some good quality sleep. Sleep in so important for maintenance of growth hormones, heart health and general body repair.

If you are feeling a bit exhausted, rather than turning to caffeine, then do something physical. Getting some fresh blood into your brain will leave you feeling alive and refreshed. Get in the ocean, kick a ball around or take a walk on the beach or do some yoga. Join us for a class at freshwater we are open most days. Check the timetable for details. Don’t wait for the New Year to start! You’ll feel better for it and will kick off a positive habit for 2014.

3. Focus on nutrition

The silly season is an opportunity to let your hair down (even if you don’t have any), and this certainly applies to the food you eat. Party food isn’t always the healthiest of options and if your diary is jam packed, it’s easy to skip meals and just drink or eat whatever is on offer.

Plan ahead and have something to eat before you hit the party. Carry around a container of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and cashews. Theses are great if you get caught out without any other options. Try to aim to get plenty of fruits and vegies into your day. With summer upon us there are so many great fruits to indulge in. Aim to eat as much colour in your diet everyday, think all the colours of the rainbow. No, that’s not skittles!

Where possible try to go for real food and has not been heavily processed or less human intervention. A great trick to have a protein shake before you go out, it helps to line the stomach and you are less inclined to overeat on all the energy dense, nutrient poor foods on offer.

4. Probiotics

Alcohol, sugar, processed foods and even the stress of the season can greatly affect your digestive flora and result in bloating, poor bowel health and general sluggishness. Make sure you get a good quality probiotic supplement that provides a range of different strains and take daily. Have some good quality yoghurt or some cultured vegetables everyday to assist with building your good gut bacteria.

5. Get plenty of rest

Burning the candle at both ends and not getting enough sleep is one of the fastest ways to drag your health down. Getting adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. Apart from having more energy to keep up a hectic schedule, your mood will be lifted, you’ll reduce stress, your body will repair and replenish itself, your mind will feel clearer plus you’ll feel and look refreshed. All definite bonuses during the party season!

Finally, if all else fails and you do wake up feeling worse for wear, then take some Vitamin B and drink plenty of water and eat some fat. Fat seem to get the gall bladder and liver working and helps with recovery. Get some exercise in the fresh air, swim in the ocean, anything you enjoy. Before you know it you will be feeling back to normal. Try to find time to keep the yoga habit going all the way into the new year as it is one of the best ways to help you survive the silly season.

See you in class.

Namaste Liz