15 December 2010
Christmas is meant to be a time of good will and festive spirit. Unfortunately for many it’s also a time of over indulgence and too many spirits. Here is private GP Dr Arun Ghosh's top tips to keep the holidays a happier time and reduce the pain that can sometimes come from Christmas.
Cold and Flu
There's nothing to make you feel less like going "ho, ho, ho" than a cold - or worse, the flu! The sniffles and sneezes don't just affect us physically, with 65% of us saying we get bad-tempered, weepy or withdrawn when we're under the weather. Prevention is always better than cure – this time of year more than any – cover those sneezes with a hanky, keep up the exercise and the fluids to help the immune system!
Forget peace and goodwill, it sometimes seems like Christmas is the season of stress and fretting. We all want the perfect Christmas and the stress of not getting it just right can often spoil the whole experience! To start with, stop making it a chore! Christmas isn't compulsory but people start complaining about it months in advance as if it's some sort of endurance test. Be realistic - perfect Christmases come from accepting what is not good and taking action to improve it rather than wishing it will all come right on the day.
The Christmas Party
The office doo can be the stuff of legend - but there's a fine line between letting your hair down and needing to look for a new job in the New Year. The first thing is never get too drunk no matter how exciting it is to have a bar open all night. If you are planning however, to overdo it on the expenses plan ahead! Line your stomach before you go out milk and bread and food higher in fat will slow the breakdown of alcohol but again do not over do it on these as this can cause over indigestion – hopefully this will help you from making that faux paux in front of your bosses!
Canapés, mince pies, chocolates - perhaps it's no surprise that one in eight people admit they overindulge so much over the Christmas period that they are physically sick! But if you've overeaten, it's not just your party dress which will show the effects - eating too much, too fast or just before hitting the dance floor can leave you with indigestion, excess acid and an upset stomach. So avoid food or spirits within three hours before going to bed, and avoid fatty food especially."
Lack of Sunshine
Oh the weather outside is frightful... dark, damp, cold, and miserable in fact. The symptoms of SAD, seasonal affective disorder can hit many people this time of year. Strengthen your immune system, increase your Vitamin D levels, rich sources are in fish oils, eggs and breakfast cereals and keep exercise up to help with your energy levels.
Sad but true, the only real way to stop a hangover is not to drink the alcohol in the first place. But if you got carried away at a string of Christmas parties, there are a few ways to cushion the thumping headache and queasy stomach the morning after.
There are three main reasons you feel so bad - dehydration, low blood sugar as your body tries to counteract the sugar in the alcohol by producing more insulin, and toxic chemical acetaldehyde, which is created when the liver breaks down those drinks, and which is actually more toxic than alcohol itself. So drink fluids before you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning and try to eat some good carbohydrates as well as this slows the process. The next day avoid fizzy sugary drinks – they often make you feel good in the short term but leave you feeling worse after the sugar rush falls down. Try isotonic sports drinks as they help rehydrate and replace much needed salts.
It's hard to beat a night strutting your stuff on the dance floor over Christmas - until a bit too much partying leaves your feet begging for fluffy slippers. But there's no need to let your feet suffer during the festivities, It's a good idea to start preparing and protecting your feet before you reach for your party shoes, so you can party the night away without letting painful feet spoil your fun. Foot cushions and gel heel protectors now provide much needed relief and well worth the investment.
They do say the eyes are the windows to the soul. So with hangovers to insomnia, plus added stress and family arguments thrown in, it's no wonder if yours are feeling tired and sore. Make sure you get your sleep – watch the cigarette smoke which can cause dry eyes. Careful of overuse of contact lenses especially if they are not designed for constant use and give you eyes a break!
Not so Merry Bells
If you haven't got enough to worry about - Christmas with it's extra festivities, excess drinking can often lead to unexpected sexual encounters. Remember prevention is always better than cure - where protection and if you do forget - get tested - most can be done by a simple urine test now and is definitely one present you don't want Santa to give you.