At some time in our lives we’ve all had a Christmas day where we’ve been not been on top form: either a sickness bug brought home by the kids; or the dreaded flu right when you should be relaxing and enjoying yourself! It’s an experience best not repeated!

I’m often haranguing the children at this time of year to wash their hands thoroughly and to keep wrapped up warm to avoid the winter bugs. But what about us Mums? We’re dashing about doing all the shopping, cooking all the food, preparing the house for visitors, making outfits for nativity plays, writing the Christmas cards, as well as attending all the school plays, concerts and services. It’s easy to forget about looking after yourself at this time of year when all your energies are concentrated on ensuring your children and family are having a lovely time!

Staying healthy, happy and relaxed at this time of year is indeed an art form, and as always takes organisation. Here are some tips that DO work, DO save time and are either free or cost very little:

Prepare Fruit and Vegetables:

Get peeling and chopping as soon as you get back from the shops!

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Although it may seem like a chore – it really does save time, and it makes the whole family eat more healthily. As you can see in the photo, I wash, peel and chop vegetables like onions, mushrooms, butternut squash, celery and broccoli. Then I either put them in big zip lock bags so when cooking something the veg is already prepared; or divide into smaller portion sized bags for snacks. Making packed lunches becomes very quick; and snacking becomes much more healthy – instead of reaching for the mince pies it is just as easy to grab a bag of celery! For more perishable items I have learned a few tricks: wash strawberries in balsamic vinegar and dry thoroughly before storing; and apples chop and wash in a solution of lemon juice and water and it slows the browning process. Much cheaper than buying vegetables/fruit ready prepared.

Steam vegetables:

in the microwave. You can buy some very clever bags (available at your local supermarket) that allow you to steam your veg in the microwave. When you are preparing your veg put family sized portions into these steamer bags:

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Then when you need a portion of veg to go with your family tea, all you need to do is put the bag in the microwave and hey presto, veg is ready! Steaming is more healthy as less nutrients are lost in the cooking process; plus no washing up pans or boiling water on the hob so it saves energy too. We cooked a roast lunch on Sunday using veg cooked in this way – it was a revelation, the only tricky bit of washing up was the roasing tin, we didn’t use any other pans!

Sleep better

Sleep can help fight disease and illness and help you get better more quickly. As we sleep, our body increases the production of certain proteins that fight disease. A lack of sleep can lead to less white blood cells (key to our immune systems) being produced, making you more susceptible to infection. Time4Sleep has lots of information about the importance of sleep and the various cycles within your nights sleep. There are lots of practical steps you can take to improve your sleep: from sleep monitoring apps to relaxing bedtime routines.

 

Remember, looking after yourself is just as important as looking after your family. Hopefully trying just one of these little tips will give you a much better chance of waking up on Christmas morning without some horrible bug to ruin your day!