Overindulgence, Christmas Cheer and Productivity

'Tis the time of Christmas cheer for most of us in the Western World.  This usually translates into social engagements such as Christmas drinks, office parties, local get-togethers and family gatherings with the aftermath of uncomfortable symptoms from overeating and drinking including brain fog, wind and bloating, to name a few.  The weather doesn’t help either with cold, miserable, grey light-deficient days and long nights.

With the festive season comes an overindulgence in foods that we don’t normally eat, but love including mince pies, Christmas pudding, and rich cheeses.   Apparently, each person in the UK consumes an average of 15 mince pies over the Christmas period.  As a nation, that is over 780 million mince pies!

On top of overindulgence there is the frantic rush to complete last minute shopping for the turkey, rushing round to first buy and then wrap presents whilst also ensuring the fridge is stocked to feed everyone who is coming and be sure not to run out over the few days that the shops are closed!
At the end of all this we turn to New Year resolutions to lose weight, drink less and exercise regularly.  Does anyone see the sense or is the yearly ritual simply madness?

The holiday season is a time of family, laughter and giving. It's also a time of increased mental and physical stress as we attempt to do, and eat, so much more. Here are my realistic tips for staying healthy and productive during this time.

The result of our madness

The result of this madness is uncomfortable, stressed and frazzled individuals depleted of energy and sleep trying to get into the Christmas spirit, but silently wishing it would all end so that we can return to “normal”.


Tips for managing sanity and sustaining energy

It would be ridiculous for me to state the obvious to avoid over-eating and limiting alcohol intake.  In fact I can hear you all laughing now.  Let’s try a different tack:

  • Avoid the stress of last minute shopping.  Buy a card and explain the gift is “coming soon”.  Shop peacefully in the New Year for what you did not have time to get for Christmas, at half the price.
  • Drink long drinks, for example white wine spritzer instead of simply white wine or champagne with orange juice as opposed to straight champagne.  The addition of soda water or juice helps keep the body and mind hydrated and we tend to drink long drinks more slowly.
  • Keep mind and body hydrated by drinking one glass of water for every glass of alcohol.
  • Avoid bar snacks such as salted nuts and crisps that we all know encourages us to drink more, whilst also adding to the overload on the digestive system.
  • Choose the vegetarian option at the office party.  Vegetables are generally digested easier than meat, and do not lie heavily on the stomach, leading to a poor nights sleep. 
  • In your Christmas menu include a wide range of vegetables, cooked and raw of different colours to ensure everyone gets plenty of antioxidants for strengthening the immune, and fibre to aid effective digestion.
  • Eat slowly, chew well and enjoy your food whilst being fully present to all those sharing the table with you.  Observing this, usually means we eat less, feeling satiety before it becomes uncomfortable.
  • Your body and mind will thank you for leaving 12 hours, better 16 between the last meal of the day and the next meal on Boxing day.  This gives the gut time to digest everything fully, providing mental and physical energy. 
  • Enjoy the benefits of the “great outdoors” with a good walk each day to increase oxygen in the blood to clear the head, increase energy, whilst also assisting the lymphatic system to do its job of clearing toxins and sustaining the effectiveness of your immune system.


The last words from Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol

“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”


Wishing everyone a Christmas full of festive joy and fun, and a healthy, happy and productive New Year.


Rachel Shackleton is an entrepreneur who owns and manages Green Key Personal Development and Green Key Health. Working with local and multinational organisations, she is a public speaker and trainer in the spheres of leadership, communication and customer excellence. She ensures sustainable productivity and profitability through healthy self-management and leadership practices, ensuring a focused and successful workforce.






New here? I write about leadership development, communication and customer excellence, including health and well-being at work. You can read similar blogs here:


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