Christmas parties are a great way of raising your spirits in the darkest month of the year. They will certainly get you out of the winter blues. However, they can take their toll on your body. Here, the combination of accumulated loss of sleep, hangovers, and rich food can leave you feeling wiped out well before you to Christmas Day.
Here are some tips to help you to thrive rather than Survive The Christmas Party Season.
1. Stay hydrated
Your body uses water to eliminate alcohol from the body. It’s important therefore to drink more water than normal during the day to balance this out. Ideally aim for around 2.5 litres a day. It’s better to drink this extra water between meals, rather than with them. When we drink too much liquid with meals it can slow down digestion.
2. Drink less caffeine
Caffeine is another ‘diuretic’ , with the liver using water to eliminate caffeine. Good alternatives as a morning ‘pick you up’ include Green Tea or Matcha Tea. These contain less caffeine and are also full of antioxidants which are great for your overall health.
If you are looking for a caffeine free drink, try herbal teas as they can both hydrate you and help your liver and kidneys remove waste from the body. Fennel, aniseed and nettle are especially detoxifying, whilst peppermint will help ease any stomach problems. Hot drinks are better than cold as they help to ‘melt the fat’ in the liver. Start the day and ‘alkalinise’ your body with hot water, lemon and a touch of bicarb of soda – a great liver cleanser. Apple cider vinegar is another great ‘alkaline balancer’.
3. Have a nap during your lunch break
The key to a great night’s sleep is consistency. This is consistency in terms of amount of sleep – ideally around 7 ½ hours. It also means consistency with regards to the same bed and wake times 7 days a week. Clearly, this is not possible during the party season.
Adding a nap, or power nap is a great way to ensure you survive the Christmas party season. Napping is the body’s natural way of catching up on lost sleep. A 20-30 minute ‘power nap’ is the perfect pick-up.
A full 90-minute sleep cycle would be amazing as it gives you deep sleep too. Avoid 60-minute naps however. If you wake up after this period of time you are coming out of deep sleep and will feel groggy and un-refreshed. The ‘Siesta period’ between 1pm and 3pm is the natural period to nap in.
It’s now been proven that if you can nap ahead of a late night you have a better chance of maintaining your focus the next day, than napping after the party. Either way topping up , or catching up sleep as you go along is the best solution rather than allow your ‘sleep debt’ to accumulate throughout the week.
All of our internal systems and organs need sleep to remain healthy and to function properly, not least your liver. This organ is naturally under more stress during the party season, and with lack of sleep is less efficient at dealing with alcohol. Thus, the less sleep you have the worse your alcohol tolerance becomes.
4. Eat Protein at parties
Party food such as cakes and puddings are carbohydrate-dense. They are easily digested, and can create sugar imbalances in your circulation as they quickly get into the bloodstream as glucose. This sugar high is followed by a sugar low, which results in cravings. So you then eat more sugar and carbs. The way to counter this is to eat protein. Protein is harder and slower to digest. It balances out the party food. Try eating smoked salmon, or other fish and vegetables in the form of crudities.
5. Always eat a healthy lunch
Eating a balanced lunch containing some healthy fat and protein on the day of the party will slow down your alcohol absorption. Oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel (and avocado) are great sources. Fish also contains Omega 3 fatty acids that are great nutrients for your brain.
6. Support your liver
Try to increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables (those with a bitter taste). These include broccoli, kale, cabbage, sprouts, and cauliflower. All of these stimulate your natural detoxification processes and boost liver functioning. Carrots and celery are good too but cut down on high fructose sweet fruits. Probiotics are important in feeding the gut’s friendly bacteria. Miso is good and Kefir is great too.
If you are feeling the pace, bitter herbs such as neem, and the spice turmeric are good aids for the liver as they even out the flow of toxins through the liver. Green algae packed with spirulina and chlorella aid detoxification, Aloe Vera juice is a potent cleanser and rejuvenator, whilst milk thistle is a well- known liver tonic.
7. Eat protein at breakfast
Rather than give into the familiar ‘carb cravings’ the morning after a party try to eat some protein-based foods such as scrambled eggs or smoked salmon. These take longer to digest and are far better at curbing your appetite. Egg is especially good as it contains the amino acid cysteine that helps to break down Acetaldehyde, the thing that causes your hangover.
8. Dry brush to keep your lymph pumping and detoxing
Dry brushing your skin before you shower or wash is known to stimulate lymph nodes around your body. This helps to remove toxins from your body whilst giving your skin a healthy glow. Keep this going every morning and every night.
9. Exercise as much as you can
Exercise through out the party season too. Sweating is great for removing toxins. Exercise also increases flow in your lymph system, revitalises your body, and improves your quality of sleep. The endorphins released through exercise are also great for lifting your mood and beating the stress of Christmas.
10. Top up your electrolytes
Coconut water is a great drink to top up your electrolytes which get depleted during the party season. Eating bananas for breakfast, as the potassium also balances the electrolyte stores.