Late nights and a diet of cocktails and canapes followed by a week on the sofa working your way through a selection box means December isn’t exactly the healthiest month for mind or body. However, there are ways to make sure the party season doesn’t derail all your healthy habits. We asked Jess Sproson, Cowshed’s Trainer and Educator, for some suggestions that are realistic and achievable and will mean you’ll begin 2019 feeling good.

Diet

'Don’t go on a crazy 'no carb' diet before Christmas - in winter because it’s colder we need carobs for energy and to regulate our metabolism. If you skip carbs, then have loads of booze and fats during the party season, it’s no good for your system. Eat ‘good’ carbs like quinoa, brown pasta and sweet potato, lots of greens and seasonal fruits like oranges, clementines (particularly good for vitamin C.) And enjoy! If you've got your office party that night and you’re not sure what you might be eating for supper (if anything), have something like brown pasta and a veggie ragu for lunch – it’ll give you energy, without being too stodgy.'

Drink

'Stick to clear spirits – less of a hangover, better for you in general because less sugar in something like vodka. Mulled wine, red wine – steer clear because there’s a lot of sugar in both. A lot of the time hangovers aren’t due to the actual alcohol, but the sugar content of what you’ve been drinking. That thumping head is actually down to the sugar and tannins in red wine. And it gets worse: sugar will be wrecking your skin too - it triggers a process called glycation (the technical science term for sugar destroying cells, causing premature ageing).'

Skin

'I don’t care how ‘tired’ you are, ALWAYS take off your make-up before going to sleep – keep cotton pads and a cleanser on your bedside table, get it off your skin. Late nights, not drinking enough water, too much booze and party foods will take their toll. Tackle dry or irritated skin by using Wonder Balm and doing lots of facial massage to help with drainage. The best trick: in the morning, wash your face with an ice cube! Just rub it over your skin. It will help with depuffing and any red marks, lymphatic drainage and tightens the skin. I keep my jade roller in the freezer to achieve the same results.'

Sleep

'Take Magnesium to help you sleep, lots of water before bed if you’ve been drinking. Try and get as much as you can! There’s no such thing as clawing back your hours – you’re better off getting up at your normal time and having a nap in the afternoon than sleeping in ‘til 12. 26 minutes is the optimum time for a nap according to NASA!'

Fitness

'Ditchyour HIIT classes – your body’s already getting enough from being out late, walking around, busy Christmas shopping etc. you’re doing enough cardio. Instead do something restorative like yoga which will help your joints and muscles and also relax your mind. It’ll also help with strength and gives you a bit of me time. it’s not raising your heart rate. When you’re stressed your heart rate is up, so it’s good to lower it for a bit. E.g. if you do 3 HIIT classes a week, do 5 yoga sessions instead – go on your lunch break, you don’t have to get showered so can fit it in. your body will also be ready for detox January – healed from any injuries or inflammations. You won’t have lost anything, you’ll actually have gained strength and healed your body, ready to start the new year.'

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