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Staying on track

As Christmas and New Year approach, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Katie Griffin has some tips on healthy habits to get you through the ‘silly season’.

As the days start to get longer and Mother Nature begins treating us to a dose of welcomed sunshine, we find ourselves excitedly inviting friends to our homes for overdue catch-ups.

However, it can be an overwhelming time of the year as we commit to giving our 2020 ‘to do' list one last hoorah and the invites to end-of-year social events start to come in thick and fast.

So how can we stay on track with our wellness goals, when life seems to get silly around us?

Prioritise sleep . . . Always!

Lack of quality sleep can leave you feeling unrefreshed and craving processed foods and caffeine to get you through the day (uh-oh!).

Implementing a few pre-bedtime rituals or non-negotiables is a great way to stay on top of your ZZZs.

For me it's about dimming the lights in my house an hour or so before I plan to hit the hay, placing my phone on airplane mode and on charge in the living room and spending time deep belly breathing.

When possible, aim to be in bed with the lights off by 10pm.

Whole foods are your foods

It's very easy to venture down a slippery slope of rich food and fruity cocktails. And you know what? These foods are OK in moderation.

However, it is likely that you are also flat-tack at work, so fuelling your body well is crucial.

When possible, ditch the refined sugar and processed grains. Instead, replace these comfort foods with a variety of wholefoods dense in nutrients — such as fresh seasonal fruit, leafy green summer salads, and gentle wholefood carbohydrates (gluten-free wholegrains or starchy vegetables).

Careful, coffee consideration

If you love a delicious caffeine brew, my key tip is to consume your coffee before midday — this ensures the caffeine won't play havoc with your sleep patterns.

Following your coffee consumption, treat your body to two glorious glasses of water to support hydration (this is game-changing).

H20, wai, water, angel juice

Regular sipping is essential for transporting nutrients throughout the body, promoting healthy digestion and detoxification. If you are going to make one rule this silly season, I suggest you vow not to abandon your water.

Aim to drink two litres a day, add a slice of zingy lemon or fresh mint, and don't forget herbal teas can be counted as water intake.

Rest, slow down, rest again . . . and breathe

Every day, make sure you take time for yourself. Yes, every day!

Download a meditation app, take an Epsom salt bath, or get out in nature.

What's also key is to determine a realistic number of summer social events you are willing to attend each week. When your social slots have been filled that's it, you're chocka.

Be mindful of giving up your precious wellbeing time to venture out for the fourth night in a row. This is a recipe for burnout.

Most of all be realistic and accept you are not always going to eat to plan, you might skip your yoga class and there will be the odd late night.

Be gentle with yourself, be kind to others, and stick to your boundaries.

However, don't forget to take time to have fun and embrace the silly season — surviving 2020 alone is worth celebrating!

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Katie Griffin picking fruit in her family's pear orchard at Manutuke. Picture by Abbe Hoare