8 ways to have yourself a healthy little Christmas

At Fusion, we help businesses improve the health and wellbeing of their staff all year round. Whether that’s through workplace health checks, managing and reducing sickness absence or creating bespoke wellbeing campaigns. But there’s usually one time of year when healthy intentions are conveniently set aside both in the workplace and at home. And we’re right in the middle of it now.

The Christmas and New Year period is notoriously a time to eat, drink and be merry. But, taking off our Christmas party hat and putting on our occupational health hat, we thought we’d share a few healthy Christmas tips to help you avoid overindulging!

You can still enjoy all the festivities of the season and get through the Christmas period without too much impact on your health and waistline. So, without trying to be kill-joys, here are our 8 top tips for a healthier Christmas:

Don’t sit down all day

In the same way that active working is important in the office, you should try and avoid getting too comfy on the sofa!

We know every Christmas special under the sun will be showing on the TV, but you don’t need to plonk yourself in front of the telly all day! Encourage the whole family to get out for a walk at some point – ideally, after dinner to aid digestion. Put on your Christmas jumper, grab the dog and get the kids out on their new bikes!

Go easy on the booze

Mulled wine on Christmas eve, Bucks Fizz with breakfast, wine with dinner, Baileys, brandy… the list goes on!

It’s fine to have a festive tipple but try to keep tabs on how much you are drinking. Intersperse alcoholic drinks with soft ones and make sure that you drink plenty of water to help you avoid a Boxing Day hangover.

Don’t stuff yourself – leave that to the turkey!

Reports suggest we can eat a staggering 6,000 calories on Christmas day!

That’s three times the recommended daily intake for women and over twice the intake for men.

This huge feast not only contributes to weight gain but also to indigestion and heartburn. Instead of gorging yourself on Christmas dinner, eat a normal-sized meal and then take a 20-minute break to see if you are still hungry. It takes this long for the brain to register that the stomach is full. The chances are, you’ll realise you’ve had enough.

Don’t stress

‘Tis the season to be jolly’ but jolly is the last thing many of us feel with overspending, cooking, cleaning, endless ‘to do’ lists and visitors we could do without. We help businesses improve health and wellbeing in the workplace and the same principles apply at home.

Try to keep a sense of humour and proportion. Is it really the end of the world if the carrots are overcooked or if the mantelpiece is a bit dusty? Do you really care about your Auntie’s disapproval of the fact that you and your partner are living together and aren’t married? Remember, Christmas is just one day out of 365 and it isn’t worth stressing over.

Eat more fruit

Let’s be honest, most of us get through the entire Christmas period eating no more fruit than the satsuma in the Christmas stocking. But at this time of late nights, overindulging and partying, it’s more important than ever to get your vitamins and minerals to help you stay in good health.

Make sure that your Christmas shopping list includes more than enough to fill up your fruit bowl and get your five a day. And no, mulled wine on Christmas Eve doesn’t count as one portion!

Do something for others

This is less about your physical health and more about the emotional wellbeing of yourself and others.

Try to do something for others this festive season, whether it’s baking some extra mince pies for an elderly neighbour, inviting someone who doesn’t have any family to your home or helping out with a local Christmas fete or carol service. You’ll feel better for doing it and they’ll love the thought that has gone into this small act of kindness.

Keep your brain active

Instead of sitting in front of the TV, keep your mind active by playing a board game. This is also a great way of getting everyone together.

If you aren’t a ‘game’ person, engage your mind by setting up any new gadgets.

The latest games console will get the adrenaline pumping. If it’s one that you can physically interact with, all the better. An iPod can get everyone dancing and even a mobile phone, tablet or computer will get your grey matter working harder.

Be careful in the kitchen

If your Christmas duties include cooking the dinner, you won’t be delighted to hear that according to the Food Standards Agency, December is one of the most common months for people to get food poisoning.

To minimise the risks, don’t leave food out all day. Put out small amounts at a time, so that what is on the table has just been cooked or just come out of the fridge. Ideally, try to use any leftovers within 48 hours or freeze them.

As for the turkey, always defrost it in the fridge, allowing 10 to 12 hours per kilo. Don’t wash the bird as this can spread bacteria around, which will be destroyed by cooking anyway.

You can find plenty more tips for healthy Christmas cooking on the Food Standards Agency’s website.

We’re happy to provide a workplace health check at any time of the year. But during the festive period, it’s important to make sure that you give yourself a Christmas health check. Hopefully, these healthy Christmas tips have shown that it is possible to enjoy the festivities without going overboard.

Everyone at Fusion would like to wish all of our staff, customers and partners a happy, healthy Christmas. We’ll see you in the New Year!

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Categories: Health & WellbeingNutritionOccupational Health

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