How to be a festive badass.

OK so it’s the time to be merry and bright - but the reality is that many of us end up panicked about present buying, overindulging in food that doesn’t serve us and generally becoming shadows of our former-badass-selves. By the time January rolls around, we’re desperate for the only time of the year when it’s acceptable to tell your friend you’re ‘on a detox’.

Trust me, I know! At this halfway point in the month I was starting to feel the beginning of ‘festive frazzle’. Late nights, two impending family weekends away from home and a tree with currently no presents under it - no wonder I was starting to feel anxious!

My diet was also suffering - I’d been nibbling too many mini cheddars (a weakness), spending too much money on unhealthy bread-based breakfasts (something I try to avoid) and my afternoon tiredness meant I started to experience ‘sugar creep’.

Something had to give or else I wasn’t going to make it to the end of the month! It was time to take action. 

The key to being a festive badass all the way to January is to put your needs first. Now this might sound selfish, egotistical or down right impossible but trust me. It’s the only way NOT TO LOSE YOUR GOD DAMN MIND over the silly season. 

Here are my top tips to being a festive badass and partying like a pro so that your mind and your waistband stay in tact, all the way to the new year. 

1. Be booze mindful: For many of us it’s totally normal to drink a little more this month. I also like a tipple so there’s no way I’d sit here at my computer and tell you not to enjoy yourself. But the key is just be mindful of what you’re drinking and whether or not it’s worth it. Cocktails may be tasty but they are not your festive friend, they’re stuffed full of sugar which plays havoc on your body. Plus the after effects will likely leave you reaching for the midnight munchies as your body tries to come back into balance -  double whammy of doom. If you’re going to drink then here’s some advice: stick to one type of drink and I make it a lighter-coloured one because they tend to be lower in the chemical by-products that can worsen a hangover.

Prosecco is better than white wine. Red wine has a host of other health benefits. But most angelic, vodka, lime and soda (hydrate as your de-hydrate!)

2. Get treat savvy: I often get my clients to rate what they eat by how much joy it gives them. And this is especially important when there’s a shit ton more sweet temptation around. Instead of mindlessly munching on everything that passes your way (offices are terrible for this) just take a moment and assess whether it’s worth it. Taste and assess. Then make a decision whether or not it floats your boat enough. If it does - then yay! If it doesn’t then say no thanks next time. My friend Laura write a good piece about getting 'treat smart' here

3. Get hangover smart: Stick to protein and healthy fats in the morning instead of processed carbs if you can. If you’re a meat eater then buy the best quality meat you can. If you’re veggie like me, then you can’t go wrong with halloumi, eggs and greens to kill the night before. Try to avoid white carbs especially as they're just sugars in disguise. Add as many greens as you can throughout the day. Spinach is an easy one to add first thing. When you get up, make a glass of water with a slice of lemon and sprinkle with a tiny amount of salt. I promise you won’t taste the salt but it’ll help rehydrate your body. (Sadly I can’t erase those karaoke memories). 

4. Stay hydrated:  Drink 6-8 glasses of water during the day. Even mild dehydration can lead to a headache and combined with the diuretic effects of alcohol makes maintaining your fluid intake so important. Regular teas and coffee count towards your fluid intake, but caffeinated versions shouldn't make up your full quota. I can’t start the day without hot water and lemon and this is especially true in winter when cold water isn’t that appealing. If you’re dehydrated you’re likely to feel tired and it’s easy to confuse hunger with thirst. Try drinking a glass of water before snacking. 

5. Back away from the beige: If I'm hungry when I arrive at a party, I struggle to resist whatever food is on offer (hello beige food) so I always have a pre-party snack like carrot and hummus or some coconut pieces. Often party food isn’t even that nice but if you’re hungry and there’s nothing else around it’s hard to remember your willpower. Think ahead. If there’s not going to be any food at the event then make something at home to have beforehand. Your resolve and your head will thank you the next day.

6. Stay family sane: Now this is a hard one, staying cool and badass around your family is tough. They know every trick under the sun to push your buttons. Suddenly our calm demeanor is out the window before you can say ‘Father Christmas’.  Firstly, know your limits and plan some space between visits. Think ahead at emotional triggers and picture how you’d like to react if they come up. Try and think of any difficult characters as your greatest teachers of patience, grace or releasing the old crap that we hang on to from early experiences. When something triggers you, try and catch the reaction and turn it into something positive... take a breathe. What can learn about yourself? If things are going to arise that are too painful, try and keep conversation to lighter things! Plan to remove yourself from the situation and go for a walk if things get heated. And make sure you take something with you to remind you of the person you are when you're at home. Listen to music. Journal. Do anything it take to help you not revert to old behaviour. 

7. Sleep! We push ourselves to the limits at Christmas and spread ourselves too thinly. If your diary is looking as full as Santa's sack then prioritise the most important things and excuse yourself from one event you'll be less missed at. Sacrifice one night for the sake of many. You body and your brain will thank you. You are not yourself when you're tired. 

7. Show some kindness (to yourself): You are only one person! Remind yourself that you’re doing your best. You can only be in one place at one time. You only have a finite amount of time and money. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Treat yourself with the same kindness as you’d show your granny.

8. Be mindful (your body is smarter than you): When you listen, your body will speak to you loud and clear. To help tap into these signals take 10 minutes a day to sit quietly (yes, ok if you want to call it meditation you can.) Focus on your breathing, let your thoughts come and go, count to 10 and repeat. Not only will this give you a lovely sense of calm - but you’ll be able to feel what you need. Be mindful of when you need some alone time, when you need a rest, when you need a cuddle and when you need a cup of tea.

If you can remember just a few of these tips and stop being so hard on yourself you'll be able to conquere Christmas like a pro!!!  

love Harri x 

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