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How to survive the festive season in one piece…

I'm delighted to announce I've managed to get a great guest blog for today, and that's in no way because I'm too lazy to write one myself...


If you haven't met already (and you should have as she appeared on a great episode of Tate Talks - The TotallyMSP Podcast) please let me introduce Rachel McGuinness of Wake up with Zest - She is what I believe is called a Wellbeing Expert...


Over to you Rachel...


This year has been a weird one for most of us, we’re tired and exhausted from everything that’s happened in 2020. Not only have we had to contend with the normal ups and downs of life and work, whether it’s managing a business or a job and our family life. But this year we’ve have to cope with our health, the health of our families and our children’s schooling. Not to mention cancelled holidays and missed family

occasions or meet ups with friends but also having to deal with COVID, the pending Brexit and now the Christmas break navigating through the current restrictions, tiers and bubbles.


So, this Christmas break, it’s more important than ever to look after yourself both physically and mentally so that you give yourself time to rest and recharge or take a ‘chill pill’ before the New Year and whatever 2021 is going to come up with for us.


1. Down time

How many Christmas breaks have you had when you’re exhausted before the holidays start and feel even worse when you have to go back to work and don’t feel as though you’ve had any time off at all? Make a list of things that help you relax and schedule in when you want to do them and who you want to do them with (in your bubble or socially distanced of course). It’s easy to say what you want to do, but actually doing it is another thing!


It’s also a good time to have a digital detox for a day or so that you can switch off completely – try and avoid your tech devices for at least 24 hours if you can.


2. Eat, drink and be merry

We all love to indulge at Christmas, me included. With our Christmas Day treats clocking

up, on average, a massive 6500 calories, did you know that you would have to run two marathons to work that off? But probably not recommended after eating a large

meal! You can see how easy it is to put on a shed load of weight over the holidays. We all love our festive indulgences but be mindful of overdoing the sugary, rich foods.




Most of us enjoy a festive tipple, and it’s easy to drink more than the recommended 14 units of alcohol per week. Be mindful of what and how much you’re drinking. Make sure you’re drinking lots of water to keep hydrated.


In between Christmas and New Year, may be give your digestive system and liver a bit of a rest. Eat lighter and cut down or avoid alcohol for a few days. Sugar and alcohol deplete the immune system which you want to avoid doing at the moment.


3. Move your body

It is so easy to become inactive over the Christmas, set up camp on the sofa and binge

watch box sets. Get outside in the fresh air for a walk will not only make you feel better but will start to work off those excess calories.


Exercising for 4-5 times a week boosts you mentally (exercise is nature’s best medicine), whether it’s a walk or a run, a workout, a yoga session, an online class - you choose. It doesn’t have to be for that long, just a 20 minute workout will do the trick – just have a search on YouTube for free workouts.


4. Get your zeds

If 2020 has left you on your knees with exhaustion, then the Christmas break is a good time to make sure you get enough sleep.


However, it’s very easy to get your sleep routine out of whack over the Christmas period and feel more tired going into the New Year than you did before the holidays.


Try and make sure you’re going to bed and getting up at more or less at the same time – yes it sounds dull and boring, but this is a great time to look after you, and sleep is so important to your health.


5. Plan healthier habits for 2021

Between Christmas and New Year is a great time to think about what goals you want to set for your health in 2021.


  • What are you going to stop doing? (eg not reading TotallyMSP)

  • What are you going to continue doing? (eg read TotallyMSP)

  • And what are you going to start doing? (eg read lots more TotallyMSP)


Set out a weekly plan of how you’re going to integrate healthier habits into your life.

Be realistic about what you can achieve and also be accountable so that you can track your progress.


Whatever your Christmas looks like this year, please have a good one and a relaxing one, so that you’re ready to hit the ground running in 2021.


Rachel McGuinness specialises in workplace wellbeing programmes for forward thinking tech companies, find out more at www.wakeupwithzest.com









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