9 Easy ways to avoid the Christmas Day slump
Christmas Day is the one day of the year when we all want to eat, drink and be merry with family and friends! It's also the day when you're most likely to feel like slumping on the sofa and napping all day, which isn't great for your energy levels, or the family.
If you're guilty of snoozing the day away throughout the festivities, you'll need our guide to fighting the Christmas Day slump – 9 tips to help you make it to the end of December 25th without an eyelid-propping matchstick in sight!
#1. Eat little and often
Christmas is a great time for grazing – eating little and often can help to balance your blood sugar levels, preventing the spike and drop that often leaves you feeling tired. Avoid piling your plate high at Christmas dinner; instead, enjoy a smaller portion, as you can always have some leftovers later. Grazing on healthy snacks such as dates, nuts or even a small piece of fruity Christmas cake will help you to stay feeling full, meaning you're less likely to feel in need of a nap.
#2. Don't become a sofa surfer
Whether it's the Queen's Speech or festive films that holds your attention all afternoon, try not to spend all day slumped on the sofa; we know how easy it is, especially if you're not involved in cooking Christmas lunch! Try to stay active throughout the day – play with the kids, get a board game out or try active games on a console such as the Nintendo Wii. You could even go for a walk before or after dinner.
#3. Go for a walk
Walking after dinner can aid digestion, and researchers have found that even a 15-minute walk after a heavy meal can stabilise blood sugar levels (1), preventing the crash that often follows eating. This means you're less likely to feel like you need to sleep and more likely to make it to the end of the day feeling full of energy. Walking outside can also help boost your vitamin D levels and your mood, so you'll sleep better when you do go to bed. We don't suggest running or strenuous exercise after dinner, as this could cause bloating and indigestion. But a gentle walk around the block or a nearby park is a great idea – take the kids along to burn off some steam too!
#4. Don't drink too much or too early
Bucks Fizz may be a breakfast tradition in your house, but drinking so early in the morning can leave you feeling tired sooner than you might think. If you really do have to have a glass of fizz with breakfast, make sure you stay hydrated by sipping plenty of water throughout the day. Limit yourself to a couple of glasses of wine or a couple of beers with Christmas dinner – red wine is best as it contains more antioxidants. This means you can enjoy a nightcap in the evening such as a boozy hot chocolate or Christmas cocktail (or two!)
#5. Engage your brain
Did you know that the more active your brain, the more energetic you'll feel (2)? Watching a quiz show on the TV, playing an interactive video game with the kids, breaking out a board game or even just chatting will keep your brain more alert than staring at the TV screen for hours on end.
#6. Help out
Whether cooking Christmas dinner is your responsibility or not this year, everyone can lend a hand, and there's nothing like helping in the kitchen to make you feel festive! Whether you're the designated pot washer or are put in charge of the turkey, lending a helping hand not only helps to make those responsible for dinner feel less stressed, it also means you're not going to feel so tired - which means plenty of energy for opening presents later! Why not get the kids involved and bake some Christmas cookies?
#7. Have a cup of tea
If all else fails, turning to caffeine can give you a temporary energy boost - we recommend green tea or regular tea rather than coffee, which could leave you feeling jittery! A mug of hot tea is the perfect accompaniment to a Christmas film mid-afternoon and should give you the boost you need to make it through the evening.
#8. Have a quick nap
We're not TOTALLY against napping on Christmas Day, we just don't want you to miss out on all the fun! A quick 15-20 minute cat nap can leave you feeling refreshed, so if you just can't keep your eyes open any longer, grab a quick snooze and get back to enjoying yourself. The USA's National Sleep Council have carried out research which shows that a short nap can make you feel more alert and boost energy levels (3).Any longer than 20-30 minutes and you may just end up feeling even more tired.
#9. Try a sofa workout
Expertrain's free workouts such as our Christmas Advent Calendar Workouts or our Couch Core Workout are the perfect way to stay active this Christmas – you could turn it into a game and get the whole family involved. 30 minutes of activity a day is recommended to stay fit and healthy, and this applies even to Christmas Day! It will be far easier to smash your health and fitness goals for 2015 if you maintain your usual activity levels over the holidays.
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