Expert tips for a happy, healthy Christmas

While we all look forward to December’s festive fun, it’s no secret that with the end of year work rush, last-minute shopping trips and endless social occasions to attend, Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year.

As such, each and every year many of us are felled by the notorious festive burn-out. However the good news is, you can have your cake and eat it too during the silly season – as long as you make your health a priority, says Amcal Senior Pharmacist James Nevile.

“For many, the festive season is synonymous with feeling less than spritely due to an influx of social gatherings to attend, indulgent food, lengthy-to-do-lists, and a lack of sleep,” he says.

“While the temptation to eat too much and sleep too little is present, Australians can stay on top of their health over Christmas with a few tricks of the trade – embracing the ‘everything in moderation’ approach to the festive period.”

To help Aussies feel their best this festive season, James has pulled together a selection of tips and tricks to help us enjoy the special time with family and friends while looking and feeling our best.

Amcal Senior Pharmacist James Nevile’s Top Tips to Surviving & Thriving this Silly Season:

Stay well hydrated: A loss of only 2% of total body fluid can lead to the signs and symptoms of mild dehydration, such as dry mouth, fatigue and irritability. During the silly season it can be easy to forget to drink enough fluids, and for some, social gatherings are linked with an increase in alcohol consumption. Your best bet is to ensure you drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, and if you happen to drink a little too much alcohol (always remember to drink in moderation!), consider having some oral rehydration solution, to replace lost fluid and electrolytes.

Strive for a healthy, nutritious diet: In between Christmas shopping and your hectic social calendar, make sure you strive to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Aim for five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day, and when possible, try to prepare your meals at home, limiting take away or fast food. If you know your diet is lacking in certain food groups (such as dairy goods) talk to your pharmacist about supplements which may be beneficial for your health, such as calcium and vitamin D.

Christmas Glow: Summer is the season for days at the beach, and more time spent outdoors. Ensure you protect your skin from sun damage by applying a high quality sunscreen. Stay safe and have fun in the sun with Amcal’s range of sun care and after sun products with varying SPF+ broad spectrum protection for the whole family.

Recharge the Batteries: With a busy social calendar can come some unavoidable late nights, but it’s important to get some recovery shut-eye when you can. On the flip side, feeling stressed and busy can keep you awake mentally running through your-to-do list. Combat over-thinking by dedicating time to relax - turning off screens at least an hour before bed time, avoiding late-night snacks, and asking your pharmacist about relaxation techniques which may be helpful throughout the season.

Active fun: Christmas Day in synonymous with backyard cricket and a friendly game of beach volleyball, but there’s no reason you can’t start these activities in the lead-up? Get the heart rate up with some team sports as part of your celebration, which not only get everyone involved - but you can work up an appetite for those festive treats.

Give the gift of health: If you’re invited to a party, bring along a plate of healthy snacks or an alcohol-free beverage for everyone to enjoy. Not only will the host appreciate your efforts, but there’s probably plenty of attendees just like you looking for some healthier alternatives. Try jazzing up some soda water in a carafe with some fruit and mint leaves for an alcohol-free option, or whip up some colourful vegetable kebabs that can be enjoyed throughout the night.

And if all else fails and the season has made you a bit silly (and sorry for yourself) - pop in and see your local pharmacist who can help reduce the severity of common festive symptoms ranging from heartburn to lethargy.