Christmas is a stressful time of financial juggling, diet-breaking and party after party after party. so how do you make the most of this busy time of year while holding on to a sense of normality? luckily, we’ve got plenty of tips to help you get through the festive season with your dignity still in tact and your waistline and bank account still healthy. settle down with a cuppa for our a-z guide of surviving Christmas.
A is for adventrunning.
Get yourself in shape and avoid that Christmas Day guilt with 25 days of running, swimming or yoga in December. With daily spot prizes for the best photo/video/ poem/creative brainchild and a number of events and exclusive discounts, AdventRunning makes it fun to be fit over the festive period. Find out more at www.adventrunning.com
B is for Brussels sprouts.
Bored of your usual boiled sprouts? Try stir-frying them with some chicken or turkey in sesame oil, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, chilli flakes and sesame seeds for a spiced-up sprouts dinner.
C is for Crisis
Join in some skin-tingling cold weather swims across London with the Crisis MidWinter Swim Series. Funds raised go to helping support homeless people in the UK. Events are taking place on December 5 and 12, and January 23. www.community.crisis.org.uk/crisis-mid-winter-swim
D is for De-Stress
Take a break from endless Christmas music and chill out with Just Music’s latest album Ambient Zone 2 . With an hour of seamlessly blended pieces taking you on a relaxing journey, there’s even a video to accompany the album – great for escaping repeats of Disney’s Frozen
E is for #Energyrunning
Join in with fitness clothing giant, adidas’s new movement to mix up your training with new routes, styles, distances or people. Perfect for winter running when motivation dwindles and you need an extra push to get out the door. Find out more about the movement at www.fitcetera.co.uk/fitness/energyrunning-with-adidas/
F is for Frankincense
Not just part of a trio of gifts given to honour a deity, frankincense has medicinal purposes, too. Use it to ease symptoms of a cold, reduce inflammation and pain, boost your immune system and even help with stress and insomnia. Frankly, it’s a wonder Jesus needed healing powers at all with this stuff in his arsenal!
G is for GIfts
The fact is that a huge number of us shop online these days, but Christmas is notorious for mis-deliveries and lost parcels. Avoid the stress with new start-up Postboxed, where everything on their site is designed to fit through a letterbox. No more “we called” cards this Christmas! www.postboxed.co.uk
H is for Hangover
An inevitable part of winter festivities. Stock up on paracetamol for your headache (aspirin or ibuprofen can irritate an already-sensitive stomach), bananas for some much needed sugar and vitamin B (known to help reduce hangover symptoms) and, strange as it might sound, Dioralyte for isotonic purposes!
I is for Ice-Skates
Get fit at the various outdoor ice-skating rinks popping up over the country at this time of year. Ice-skating can burn around 400-800 calories per hour by challenging your muscles in a gliding motion, as well as working core stability.
J is for Jumpers
Christmas jumpers to be precise. Impress your local running community with a Christmas jumper running up from Redbear Sports. And with racer back vests, t-shirts, cycling tops and hoodies available, you never to be out of knit! Pick yours up from just £28. www.redbearsports.co.uk
K is for Kids
Want to keep the kids as active as you this winter? Why not sign them up for one of many Santa Fun Runs across the country? Fancy dress included! Find your nearest race at www.santadash.co.uk
L is for Local
Find yourself some new routes close to home to walk, run or cycle this Christmas. You might be surprised in the beauty you find on your doorstep. The National Trust have hundreds of walks on their website, in case you need inspiration! www.nationaltrust.org.uk/walkin
M is for Mo.. Mo Farah, Duh!
Take part in the Mo Farah Foundation Olympic Park 5k or 10k on December 13 and you’ll even get your very own Santa Mobot medal. Ace! Find out more at www.olympicpark10k.com
N is for Nippy
he temperature has already dropped, and we’ve even seen our first glimpses of snow, but don’t let that stop you from training outside this winter. Sealskinz have gloves for all sports, from golf to cycling, shooting to running. Thermal, waterproof and windproof your mitts will never feel more protected.
O is for Office Christmas Party
Avoid office Christmas party regret by following these five tips: 1 – Alternate alcoholic drinks with water 2 – Limit buffet trips to one plateful 3 – Be prepared to say “no thanks” 4 – Stick to the no-smoking areas 5 – Choose a ‘buddy’ to help each other stay on the straight and narrow (And if all else fails, go back to letter H!)
P is for Parkrun
If you fancy a Christmas day run with your friendly local ParkRun community then you may be in luck. ParkRun have a special “Christmas Compendium”, which may sound like something out of the Hunger Games, but is actually just an extra race or two over the festive period. See if your local race has said ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ at www. parkrun.org.uk/christmas-compendium
Q is for Quiet
If the Ambient Zone 2 album (see ‘D’) wasn’t enough, then try one of many meditation apps available to help you get some peace and quiet. “Headspace” offers you a tracking page and reminders to spare 10 minutes a day, while “Buddhify” allows you to choose from 15 different guided meditation recordings, depending on your day.
R is for Runderwear
Finally, underwear designed specifically for running! 360-degree seamless design means no more chafing, while sweat wicking material keeps you dry. Furthermore, elastane helps to keep it fitting perfectly and staying in place for the most comfortable run. Perfect for a Christmas stocking filler! www.runderwear.co.uk
S is for Sales
If Black Friday wasn’t enough for you, check out the raft of sales hitting websites and stores near you. Most stores will hold their biggest discounts for Boxing Day, but take advantage of places like Sport Pursuit, Wiggle and SportsShoes.com who have great prices on kit from now!
T is for Turkey
Use up your leftovers in style with these five recipes:
1 Turkey satay. Simply mix 3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter, 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, 2 tbsp light soy sauce and 100ml of water to make a delicious satay sauce for stir fries. 2 Turkey “tacos”. Season your turkey with ground cumin, paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper then serve in romaine lettuce leaves with salsa and cheese. 3 Thai green turkey bake. Mix a can of coconut milk with half a can of water and 2 tbsp of Thai green curry paste then add 100g rice, veggies of your choice and the cooked turkey meat. Bake in a moderate oven for 20 mins. 4 Turkey frittata. Fry off some vegetables and bacon in a pan, add the turkey then stir in 6-8 beaten eggs. Cook on the hob until cooked at the edges, then finish off under the grill. 5 Turkey soup. Use the peel from your Christmas vegetables to make a stock, then strain and add in cooked turkey, diced potato and vegetables, some rosemary and seasoning. Simmer until the potatoes and veg are cooked through.
U is for Unwrap
Don’t like seeing a bag of used wrapping paper go to waste? Get crafty and use it to: – line plain bookshelves or drawers with larger sheets of paper – make Christmas frames/floating shelves by cutting paper to fit – cover text books – you know, like you did in school – be an origami expert and make your own ribbons – make Christmas paper chains, bunting or confetti Waste not, want not!
V is for Volunteering
Spending just an hour of your day to help those less well off than ourselves is a great way to bring you happiness and a sense of purpose. Homeless shelters often need a helping hand on Christmas day, as can Hospices, children’s charities, etc. Ask your local shelters and charities if they need an extra hand at Christmas.
W is for Winning
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a family game or two! You don’t have to spend a fortune on board games though, try simple games like Charades or Who Am I? to keep the laughs going on Christmas Day. The winner gets to nominate someone to wash up!
X is for Xmas Day Swims!
If a Christmas day ParkRun isn’t your thing, then why not check out one of the many Christmas day swims taking place across the country? The cold air will refresh you, and you’ll have a much better excuse to sit in front of the fire eating Pringles if you’ve been for a freezing cold dip!
Y is for Yule Log
A favourite Christmas dessert! Make a healthier version using this recipe by: SupernaturallyHealthy.org
Ingredients: Cake, 6 eggs separated, 50g cocoa (roughly 5 heaped tbsp), 4 tbsp raw honey, pinch salt, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence, Icing, 200g organic unsalted butter, 100g dark chocolate, 2 tbsp raw honey, 2 tbsp cocoa, tsp vanilla essence, pinch salt
Instructions: Preheat oven to 180c. Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks. In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks, honey and salt. Gently fold the yolks into the egg whites. Sift in the cocoa and gently stir. Spread onto a baking tray lined with grease proof paper to about 3/4 cm thick. Place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove and roll like a swiss roll while still warm. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate. Add the butter, honey, salt and vanilla and whisk. If it is too runny, place the bowl in cold water and whisk until it thickens. Unroll the cake and top with the icing. Carefully roll the cake from the narrow end, peeling the grease proof paper off as you go until tightly rolled. The cake may crack, but icing hides a multitude of sins! Cover the rolled up cake in icing and leave to cool in the fridge before serving.
Z is for ZZZZZZs
After all that shopping, eating and drinking, and of course your unfaltering training regime, you’re going to need plenty of good nights’ sleep. To get the most out of your shut-eye, follow these simple tips: 1 Switch off. Don’t look at your phone, TV, computer, etc. for at least an hour before bed. The blue light keeps you alert. 2 Keep a cool head. There’s a reason you like the cold side of the pillow – your body naturally temperature drops before sleep, so make sure your bedroom is nice and cool to help you drift off. 3 Essential oils. Lavender or frankincense (see F!) can help you to sleep better. Rub a drop or two on your temples at night to aid you into a fragrant snooze.