The winter holiday season is known for abundance. We switch on to autopilot for just one week of the year and permit ourselves a little over-indulgence. Don’t get me wrong; there’s definitely cause for that amidst the daily pressures of contemporary living, but that doesn’t mean this has to be an unhealthy time of year!
Did you know that heart attacks spike by 4% between late December and early January versus the rest of the year, and the average age of people affected is lower!? We have some thoughts about how you can still indulge whilst giving your future self a head start on the new year.
There was a lot of coverage about the health benefits of chocolate earlier this year and two things stood out to us from those reports: moderate your intake (too much can definitely be a bad thing) and switch out your milk chocolate for something with a higher cocoa percentage. Look for something over 70% cocoa content to reap the benefits of this sweet snack rich in antioxidants and minerals including fibre and iron.
For a deeper summary of the reports we’re referring to, take a look at our blog post, Chocolate: Don’t Believe The Hype.
Are you planning to cook a big turkey on Christmas day? There’s no reason this can’t be a healthy meal! Roasted white meat, vegetables, cranberries – the ingredients are there but it’s how we prepare and present them that can really tip the balance. Switch out butter for olive oil (on bread or in cooking!), keep the cranberry sauce sugar-free, have greek yoghurt with your Christmas cake instead of dousing it in cream, and be careful not to overeat.
For a huge list of healthy side dish options, follow this link to a wonderful article by EatingWell.com.
You’ve probably heard by now that wine is fully loaded with health benefits and may help people live longer, protect against certain cancers, improve mental health and lower the risk of heart disease. Much like chocolate there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, but if you limit your intake then wine certainly stacks up nicely against other alcoholic beverage options.
Time for relaxation
If you’re lucky enough to be getting some time off this week then why not use it wisely and get in some good R&R? Take a casual stroll in nature! Make sure you get enough sleep! Start meditating even!
If you’re not ‘the meditation type’ but are feeling open minded (pun not intended…) then there are plenty of great apps that you could download with some of that gift money to help you get in the right mindset (pun intended…). A couple of our favourites include Headspace, Calm, and The Mindfulness App.
The number one most popular new years resolution year after year is to get in shape, which often serves more as an excuse to eat garbage through the holidays than an actual manifesto for self-improvement.
Why not take it seriously this year and give yourself a head start by getting that heart rate up at least a few times a week while you have some free time this holiday season? The benefits of getting a jump on this one are tenfold: better health sooner, improved state of mind, that feeling of pride for overachieving at a goal, and we’ll bet your cravings for junk food will be reduced, too.
Having a positive mental state is transformative and the beauty of all this is that you really don’t need to grind it out in the gym to improve your physical and mental health. Make use of the lighter schedule and leave early enough for your festive obligations to travel by foot, stretch during the football ad breaks (you know that’s what the players are doing!), or take a moment each day to recognize your blessings and express gratitude for them.
We have the tool to help prove the benefits of such simple choices, so if you’d like to learn more about iHeart then hit the Learn More button below.