The holiday season is upon us! This time of year can be difficult for people to make their health a priority due to the many celebrations, prepping for Christmas, abundance of food, and lack of physical activities. Here are 12 tips to help keep your wellbeing on track over the 12 days of Christmas – and some challenges might even help spread your holiday cheer.
On the first day of Christmas, forget about the partridges and focus on the pear tree. If you find healthy eating challenging during the holidays, follow the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating for how you should be filling up your plate. Seasonal vegetables are a traditional part of Christmas meals and if you have had a rich meal, finish up with a fruit platter, rather than a sugar-filled pavlova.
Make the most of active presents on the second day of Christmas. If you’ve been given a basketball, cricket bat or bike, grab them and head outdoors. You could also hold a bowls tournament or backyard games to keep people entertained.
Do things that you enjoy to recharge your batteries. Studies have shown that distracting activity can help decrease fatigue. Yoga and tai chi are stress-relief meditative practices that use movement and breathing to promote wellbeing.
Pop on a pair of walking shoes and stroll out in nature. Extra time on holidays allows for a change in your workout and Brisbane’s national parks are worth taking time to explore.
With the year coming to a close, now is the perfect time to reflect on your alcohol consumption and take a break from booze. You may be celebrating, but that doesn't mean that you should be exceeding the recommended alcohol guidelines.
Remember the spirit of the season and express gratitude. Being grateful can help you be happy, so take a moment to think about three things you're thankful for.
Make like a swan on the seventh day of Christmas and swim. Summer is a great time for water-based exercise. It keeps you cool while you exercise and will leave you refreshed afterwards. Don’t forget to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide!
Leap into the new year with a plan to achieve your resolutions. Break down your ultimate health and fitness goal into small, specific and achievable mini-goals.
Get back into good sleeping habits. If you are behind on sleep, it will affect how well your mind works. Regular sleep habits help build a good, strong sleep-wake pattern and keep you at the top of your game.
Remember to stay hydrated! You should be drinking eight glasses of water each day and avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages. Keep in mind, to offset just one 600ml soft drink, you would need to run three kilometres.
Book in a coffee date with a loved one, or organise to try a new activity together. Since your supportive family and friends are such an important part of your life, it's never too soon to cultivate these important relationships.
Spend the day volunteering or plan how you would like to give back in 2017. Research shows that volunteering not only benefits the community around you, it also boosts feelings of wellbeing and provides a greater sense of purpose in life.
It only takes a few small changes to look after the health of yourself, friends and family, and there’s no time better than the present to start new habits.
Remember, at least one third of all cancers can be prevented by simple healthy lifestyle changes, including maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, being SunSmart, limiting alcohol and being active.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland and healthy living is available at cancerqld.org.au.