The festive season isn’t really a season at all but more a long-distance event that begins with the first clink of flutes on the Melbourne Cup and ends after Australia Day on January 26.
Now more than ever, many of us wish to seize the day and celebrate all the way through, but we need to ensure that we also prioritise our wellbeing.
For us over 50s, the best way to survive and thrive during these heady times is to adopt an athletic approach: You should pace yourself and ensure that you’re well-nourished along the way, in mind, body and soul.
Extreme Socialising Should Be An Olympic Sport
We’re in the thick of the silly season right now with its attendant soundtrack of popping champagne corks and it’s almost impossible to avoid becoming swept up, as so many organisations, social groups and even suburban streets get together for festive drinks.
It’s only going to become more extreme as we’re barrelling towards the big-ticket occasions - Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Australia Day.
And along the way, there are Summer spectator sports including cricket, and the tennis. Everyone gathers to watch at least one of them, drink in hand.
The bad news is that according to official Australian health regulations, men and women should not drink more than two standard drinks per day (a standard drink is one schooner of light beer, one middy of full-strength beer, one standard glass of wine, or one nip of spirits). Note that a wine glass is not defined as a fancy goblet but something far more compact.
Yes, it’s all about downsizing your drinks. But surely we all get a special pass at this time of the year, it is Christmas, after all?
Tell that to your well-seasoned liver, which breaks down most of the alcohol you drink and doesn’t wish to recognise the holiday season at all. It’s just business as usual for your body.
Become A Faux Wine Connoisseur
What to do? Announcing that you’re not drinking on a festive occasion, may not go down well with your friends and relatives.
`You only live once’, they may cry. But we all want to keep living, well.
Thankfully there are lots of non-alcoholic wines around at the moment that really look the part. Two to consider are Live Light Sparkling Rosé and McGuigan Zero Dry Sparkling. Faux wines are becoming increasingly popular and it’s worth browsing the section at your wine retailer to find your favourite style.
Discover The Buzz Around Botanicals
There’s also no shortage of non-alcoholic and light beer. If you’re a cocktail drinker, check out the exquisite Banks Botanicals - a distilled organic, non-alcoholic spirit that uses Australian ingredients from Victoria’s Yarra Valley. You mix them with tonic and include an organic garnish. Drinking this way with such a luxury product may become part of a lovely ritual and it also allows you to have plenty of alcohol-free days without feeling deprived.
Getting Back Into Your Groove One Step At A Time
During the silly season, many of us are out of sync with the rhythm of our life. So if you’re staying up later than you normally do or rising early to prep for the day ahead, give yourself permission to nap whenever you get the opportunity.
To help you do that, try to prioritise a daily walk, as exercise helps with sleep. Ten thousand steps are ideal but according to some health experts, 7,000 are almost as effective. Take a stroll to look at the Christmas lights or shop locally to pick up a few of the last-minute things you need. Combining a walk with an activity is a great way for exercising without the drudgery.
Shop Early Or Late To Beat The Crowds
Traffic around shopping centres can be punishing at this time of the year, so if you have a lot to do, it’s best (and also more healthy) to go early or late before the last-minute frenzy kicks in.
You No Longer Need To Be A Perfectionist
For retirees and downsizers, emerging refreshed from the festive season is all about surrendering your long-held notions of perfection. It’s about accepting help when it’s offered and allowing others to put food on your table, even if it’s not quite up to your high standards.
This is also the year to clean up as you go and also to accept help doing just that - even if your guests load up the dishwasher incorrectly or break a glass or plate.
Just about everything is replaceable except for you and you deserve to be part of the celebration.
Your New Zen Habit
And if the prospect of being overrun by family and friends is overwhelming, snatch 10 to 15 minutes before they all arrive by doing a guided meditation. You can find many on the internet, especially by Deepak Chopra or download the free Insight Timer app that has meditations suitable for every occasion.
Live your best life during the festive season by being well organised. One person who knows all about this is Dr Simone Ryan, the CEO and founder of Totium - an Australian corporate medical and health services company. Dr Ryan and her team work with major corporations on premium preventive health care for all their staff. She’s also a ministerial advisor on health and a busy mother.
According to Dr Ryan, this potentially stressful time of the year is all about prioritising the really important things and outsourcing other tasks. It’s about keeping to routines wherever possible, planning and cooking ahead for key occasions and squeezing in exercise whenever you can.
At this time in our lives we have little to prove anymore, so allow yourself to relax with your family and friends, while you’re in the best shape to have a truly merry Christmas.