How to safely detox after the Christmas season, according to an expert

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also a season of indulgence and excess! With a combination of rich meals, alcohol-fuelled gatherings, and Christmas puddings, the festive season can be one of the most challenging times for our health. Our mental health can also suffer as we deal with the increased stress and anxiety of planning Christmas events, saving money for presents during a cost-of-living crisis, or dealing with difficult family members on the big day. This begins a vicious cycle of concessions and compromises, where these harmful habits may continue throughout the New Year. That’s why we spoke to CEO of OneYearNoBeer (OYNB), Ruari Fairbairns, who shares his tips and tricks on how to safely detox after the Christmas season.

1) Get outdoors and get active

During the holiday season, we often find ourselves sitting on the sofa for long periods of time, drinking in abundance and watching Christmas specials on TV. Being sedentary can make you feel fatigued, lethargic, and bloated, leading you to repeat these harmful habits well past Christmas. To detox your body and improve your energy levels and digestion, it’s important to get outside and get moving! The winter season is probably one of the toughest times of the year to stay active. It’s cold outside, and there’s less daylight, making it hard to get out of bed in the morning and motivate yourself to exercise. However, staying active during the cold months can help you beat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), maintain your fitness goals into 2023 and feel generally happier. Stretch before your workouts to improve your mobility and avoid injury. Then find an exercise form that you like so that your routine stays consistent. Whether it’s running, dancing, yoga, or hiking, you’re more likely to stick with your fitness goals if you enjoy your workout.

2) Be mindful of your New Year’s celebrations

After Christmas, it can be really hard to give your body time to detox when New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. This ‘one last hurrah’ sets the tone for your New Year. You may want to enjoy the celebrations without getting blackout drunk so you can stick to your healthy fitness goals. Non-alcoholic drinks are a great option for those who want to enjoy the taste of alcohol and engage in social activities whilst staying sober. Luckily, there is now a wide variety of non-alcoholic beers, wines, and spirits available in most stores, and plenty of mocktail options when you are out and about. An easy trick for staying sober during New Year’s Eve is to nominate yourself as the designated driver. Other people are likely to respect your decision not to drink and be incredibly happy that a personal chauffeur is available too! It also means that you’ll be less tempted to have an alcoholic drink yourself. Alternatively, you can suggest eating out in a restaurant as a change from drinking in a bar or pub. Eating together around a table can be a warm way to see in the New Year with friends or family.

3) Boost your fibre intake

On average, one Christmas dinner can contain a whopping 956 calories for the main course alone. That’s not to include Christmas pudding, at 140 calories, and alcohol, with one unit at 85 calories. The average Briton consumes 26 units on Christmas day, which totals a staggering 2210 calories of alcohol alone. Needless to say, your body needs a serious detox if you’ve indulged in a Christmas binge. Christmas dinners and alcohol are often loaded with sugar, which takes your body extra effort to break down, harming your digestion. To re-stabilise your body and boost your gut health, including an abundance of vegetables in your diet, such as kale, carrots, fennel, and Savoy cabbage will give your body plenty of fibre. Fibre is essential for keeping your body in balance and stimulating your digestion.

4) Engage in an alcohol-free challenge

Alcohol-free challenges are great for boosting your motivation and holding you accountable to making lasting, healthy changes beyond all the Christmas overindulgence. They’re incredibly helpful to help reset, realign, and rewrite unhealthy behaviour patterns. Whether it’s to give your body time to recover post-Christmas, re-examine your drinking habits or quit drinking for good, you’ll develop better habits for controlling your alcohol consumption. An added perk is that you can also get into shape, sleep more deeply, and improve your mood. You don’t have to do the challenges alone. You can access a friendly online global community of other people on the same journey or try the challenges out with a supportive friend/family member.

5) Hydrate to flush out any harmful toxins in the body

Plenty of fluids will keep you energised and flush toxins from your body, which is vital if you’ve binged in excess during the Christmas season! Some key signs of toxin build-up in the body include bad breath, lethargy, brain fog, nausea and brittle hair and nails. To stay hydrated with added essential nutrients, put a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice in warm water. Lemons are loaded with vitamin C and diuretic properties that can help the body detox. Another good option is to drink green tea—it contains powerful antioxidants that help your body eliminate harmful toxins. If you find it hard to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, try eating foods with a high-water content—such as watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, and melon—to help keep you hydrated throughout the day.

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