Five ways to deal with Christ­mas

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR HEALTH -

I work in sales and as we ap­proach Christ­mas I am con­stantly go­ing to func­tions. I find this time of year in­cred­i­bly stress­ful, so how can I sup­port my­self/my health dur­ing this time? Thanks, Alexa


Re-eval­u­ate your to-do-list, how many of the items on it need to be done by you? How many can be done by a col­league, fam­ily mem­ber or friend? How many of them need to be done now? How many of them need to be done at all? Try to keep tasks in per­spec­tive and learn to pri­ori­tise.


It is time to put less pres­sure on your­self in all as­pects of your life. So of­ten our own ex­pec­ta­tions or pres­sure can cause us to burn the can­dle at both ends. Don’t be afraid to say no to com­mit­ments when they’re the last thing you feel like. Only you can take care of your health and hap­pi­ness and of­ten learn­ing to say no is the best place to start. Use the time you gained to do some­thing you love – go for a walk, prac­tise some yoga moves or sim­ply curl up on the couch with a good book – you will feel so much bet­ter for it.

If you find your­self stress­ing about all of the peo­ple you have to buy for – flip this around. Con­sider in­stead how lucky you are to have so many loved ones.


If your days are get­ting more and more jam-packed start­ing your day with a restora­tive rou­tine can make all the difference to help your mind­set and al­low you to start your day with a feel­ing of spa­cious­ness. Go for a walk, sit with a cup of tea and watch the sun­rise or sim­ply prac­tise long, slow belly breaths while you wait for the ket­tle to boil. It will make all the difference to your en­ergy in what can be a hec­tic time.


A great way help you breathe di­aphrag­mat­i­cally is to lay on your back with your legs up the wall. Lie in this po­si­tion for 5-10 min­utes and fo­cus on your breath. Place a folded towel un­der your back or bot­tom for sup­port if you like. Take 10 min­utes to fully re­lax into this pose, it’s es­pe­cially restora­tive with some sooth­ing mu­sic.


So of­ten in the whirl­wind of the silly sea­son we for­get to stop and re­flect on all that we al­ready have. If you find your­self stress­ing about all of the peo­ple you have to buy for, or what you should wear to your Christ­mas party and so on – flip this around. Con­sider in­stead how priv­i­leged you are to have so many loved ones and that you have the op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate with them.

I’ve re­cently been ad­vised to re­move dairy (for gut health) from my­diet. The thing I found the hard­est by far is what to use as a milk al­ter­na­tive. What is the most like trim milk? Thanks, Hollie.

Hi Hollie. There are many nondairy al­ter­na­tives avail­able now. You can make your own nut milks us­ing soaked al­monds or cashews or co­conuts, or you can gen­er­ally pur­chase rice, oat, al­mond, even hazel­nut or macadamia milk.

I have found that most peo­ple find rice milk sim­i­lar in taste and con­sis­tency to trim milk. If buy­ing a milk al­ter­na­tive, check the la­bel for added sweet­en­ers and avoid those. A word that will typ­i­cally ap­pear on the la­bel if an ad­di­tional sweet­ener has been used is ‘mal­todex­trin’. It can be good to mix up the types of milk al­ter­na­tives you use, choos­ing a dif­fer­ent one each month, for ex­am­ple.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. Visit dr­

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