Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year: a festive time of good cheer, celebration and great food.
This year’s holiday season is extra special. After spending several months in COVID-19 isolation, it’s time for excitement, visiting your friends and family and a barrage of dinner invitations, get-togethers and workplace parties.
But Christmas can also be anything but merry. It often comes with a great source of stress, overindulging in food, binge-drinking, loneliness and other common holiday pitfalls that can lead to both physical and mental health issues.
This Christmas season, our doctors from Territory Medical Group have outlined 5 ways you can keep yourself and your family healthy.
Make healthier food choices
Overindulging in food and drinks goes together with holiday festivities, but it is also the mother of all bad holiday habits.
Overeating during the holiday season can cause harmful effects in your health such as an increase in risk for chronic health issues like obesity, excessive gas and bloating and indigestion.
It is still easy to enjoy your holiday feasts and not feel left out by making a healthier food choice.
Enjoy your food by eating often but in smaller portions. Your ideal dinner during holidays can include plenty of salads and vegetables, lean protein like chicken or fish and avoiding an excess of alcoholic drinks and fried foods.
Keep a track of your alcohol consumption
Apart from overindulging in food, it is common to see the consumption of alcohol in excess during Christmas. Excessive drinking can have both immediate and long-term harmful effects on your health.
Binge drinking during the festive season can often result in liver fibrosis, alcohol addiction, stroke and irregular heartbeats.
The easiest way out is keeping a track on your alcohol consumption. Most importantly, avoid driving after alcohol consumption and consume plenty of water before and after drinking alcohol.
Beat the holiday blues
Christmas and holiday season often presents challenging demands like extra planning and preparation, work and family-related obligations, dinner invites and much more. These blues can be overwhelming for many of us and can trigger seasonal depression and anxiety.
But, there are ways to manage your stress and enjoy your holidays to the fullest.
Manage your stress by limiting alcohol, get good sleep, drinking plenty of water, spend quality time with your loved ones and remain active.
Swap movie nights with outdoor activities
You don’t have to necessarily skip your favourite Christmas movies, but you can avoid binging on TV programs during Christmas.
Instead, plan outdoor activities with your friends and family. Hit your nearby water park or pool to escape the heat.
Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide
Do you remember Sid the Seagull singing, Slip! Slop! Slap! From the 1980’s? Well, we all might have grown up from that, but the sun is still the same.
The Darwin Christmas is extremely hot, so remember to keep yourself protected from the sun to avoid any risk of skin cancer.
This Christmas, be sure to follow Sid’s advice: Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek out the shade and slide on sunglasses to be Christmas-ready the Australian way.
Avoid hurting yourself
With the hustle and bustle during the holiday season, accidents are common. The number of road accidents and household accidents are higher during Christmas. According to the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Infrastructure and Cities, December is the worst month of the year in Australia for road trauma since 1989.
Be careful on handling household equipment, avoid doing things that you’re not trained to do, read safety manuals thoroughly, seek assistance from friends and family when using a new device and above all don’t drink and drive.
In case of an accident, contact emergency services immediately.