If the festive season sees you hurtling, train wreck-like, towards corpulence and toxicity, you do know it doesn’t have to be that way. CLAIRE O’MAHONY rounds up some solid expert advice to help minimise any drastic 2017 resolutions.
Hurrah for Christmas clichés. From Indiana Jones on the TV to office party misbehaviour, tut-tutting about the Twelve Pubs of Christmas and the unavoidable sparkly outfit, there’s a lot to love. Less appealing is the annual cycle of over- indulgence and bitter regret that sees us lurch from box of Heroes to bottle of Baileys, knowing that hard months of reckoning lie ahead, yet unable to stop ourselves from leaping, lemming-like, into a cheeseboard.
If you would prefer not to spend the early part of 2017 in stretch pants and block booking spin classes, the good news is that there is a simple answer – don’t be a glutton, keep working out, and put down the mulled wine. Simple, we said, but certainly not easy. Tragically, there is no magic bullet – no chia seed pudding, no vinegar shot, no ten-minute gym routine and no revolutionary way of eating that can negate scientific principles – eat rubbish, don’t move, and you’ll feel awful and gain weight. Physical health aside, there are aspects to Christmas that undermine psychological wellbeing, including unhappy family dynamics and the pressure to have the time of your life. But there are still painless pointers to take on board to help you stay on the path of healthfulness, in terms of mind and body. Adapting the middle ground is never the sexiest or most on-trend thing to do, but it does make sense.
HERE IS THE EXPERT ADVICE FROM EITHNE BACUZZI.
Eithne Bacuzzi works with Relationships Ireland and has 20 years’ counselling experience with both individuals and couples.
WHEN FAMILIES GET TOGETHER, OLD FEUDS CAN START TO RE-EMERGE
It can be quite destructive. I often think that people may have gone through a lot of therapy, to deal with family issues, and they feel on top of it, and then they revisit the family of origin and it triggers all this old stuff – a controlling mother, or there might be alcohol involved, and it all comes tumbling back as if it was yesterday. With couples, if they already have issues – and with work, children and family, there is very little time, and I think couples suffer from a time famine – they’re suddenly faced with a whole lot of time together. It puts a spotlight on the relationship, which might have been avoided all year.
BE ABLE TO RECOGNISE THE TRIGGERS
Try and make sure you don’t spend a lot of time with whoever it is that has caused great distress in the past. If you’re acutely aware of this in advance, you can brace yourself not to react.
PUT BOUNDARIES AROUND THE TIME YOU SPEND TOGETHER
If for example, you make the decision to go to the family home on Christmas Day, first of all you need to give yourself permission to not go if it’s really going to be too difficult. And if you do go, you put boundaries around the time you spend there so that you know you are leaving at a certain time. But you have to be brave enough to leave if you sense the situation is becoming inevitably bad, and it doesn’t matter what the repercussions are. People go back into their old roles, so just be aware this is a possibility and know what to do if this happens. Just be sure you have an exit strategy.
This article originally appeared in the December issue of IMAGE magazine.