How are you getting on with your Christmas Balancing Act? Pressure ramps up at work as you try to get things crossed off the “to do” list before you break;  at the same time you’re choosing presents and party clothes, out socialising more as the silly season gets into full swing, and spending more than you intended too.  I’ve realised that it’s all too easy to get caught up in the mayhem and forget about the most important part– you!

So, how can you get the balance right and make this festive period an enjoyable one? Here are a few tips that have worked for me:

  • Think quality over quantity in all things – Christmas can be a time of excess: presents, alcohol, food and parties. Now I don’t want to be a killjoy, but from listening to my body I appreciate that overindulging too much affects our health both physically and mentally. So ask yourself, do you need to be at every social occasion or can you miss a few, and instead treat yourself to a new outfit for that party or a nice bottle of wine!
  • When you do decide to indulge, enjoy it! Don’t feel bad. It’s really important to enjoy yourself and not feel guilty. Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing is a long-term journey, but you need to find time to pamper yourself along the way.
  • Try not to start ramping up your Christmas celebrations too early in December – we try not to put the decorations up too early. By waiting and holding off that bit longer, it feels really special. By condensing all the festive fun into a shorter period you really appreciate it.
  • Don’t overstretch yourself financially. I know the best gifts I ever receive are ones where a friend has really thought carefully about what I’d enjoy, not the presents that cost the most money. Plus, if you’re not worrying about spending a fortune, you can really enjoy the process of gift giving – putting time and thought into your gifts means it really is nearly as good to give a gift as to receive.
  • Remember that your Christmas Day is unique to you and your family, to have time together to feast, rest and enjoy each other’s company. Ignore all those idealised images of Christmas, and do what works for you.

But we can’t leave the topic of Christmas without thinking about food – let’s face it, Christmas Day itself is the biggest Primal feast of the year, with roast turkey and all the trimmings.

If you’re planning a houseful of people in the run-up to Christmas, again it’s all a balancing act. Try and replace standard options with healthier ones, and offer plenty of savouries to avoid loading your guests up with sugar. Put good quality cheeses on the table (I love I.J Mellis and George Mewes for high quality cheese in Glasgow). Nuts are another fab choice – I like to make up a big batch of nori seaweed and turmeric roasted cashews – perfect for picking on and incredibly healthy too. Another option is to have a nice winter salad for people to nibble, roasted cauliflower or beetroot are both wonderful this time of year, stocking up on organic veg from the likes of Roots, Fruits and Flowers. Why not try soft cocktails like rhubarb bitters mixed with sparkling water, and opt for some sparkling wines and dry reds to reduce the sugar content. The Good Wine Spirit Co Wine and Beer in Glasgow is great for natural and organic wine which is both sulphur free and easy on the hangovers!

Making just small changes can really swing the balance in your favour – for your health, your happiness and your contentment. And then it really will be a good start to 2018.