10 tips for surviving the party season

Nikki ParkinsonHealth 39 Comments

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There is a pile of washing folded on my bed. Most of it is active wear.

When I travel, my suitcase always contains a set of said activewear and my sneakers.

I don’t even know who I am any more.

But I do like this person I’ve become.

I don’t always get it right. I miss yoga classes because of travel. I love a weekend vino or cocktail. And I often don’t get as much sleep as I need.

But what the past few months of crazy times have taught me is that’s ok.

That’s ok if I’m mindful each day. If I’m mindful of what I eat. If I’m mindful of fitting in some activity.

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Female for Life Lovely and Loose top over Femme top; and Spiral Sport Pants

Because the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that there is never a perfect time for getting it all right.

If I waited for all the ducks to be in a row, I’d never prioritise my health. I’d never prioritise my aim to feel the best that I can every day.

I’m also one not to lock myself away, never eat out and never say yes to an invitation.

That to me is life.

Instead, I take life on. I make the best choices I can each day, each week and each month.

And I get good advice from my GP. I seriously can’t imagine how I’d be feeling right now if I didn’t have that.

Living with Hashimotos (you can catch my back story here) is no walk in the park but I feel that someone is on my side in my quest to feel as good each day as I can.

The party season – starting about now and running through until the January summer holiday hangover – is always a test for me – so I’m going to share my game plan here.

It might be a plan that works for you too.

How to survive the party season | Female for Life

10 steps to surviving the party season

1. Get organised with your food. The most convenient food is the food that you have in your own fridge, freezer or pantry. Stock up on easy-to-prepare dinner ingredients so the temptation to fall into the takeaway trap doesn’t happen every night. Keep it simple – chicken or steak frozen in portions plus fresh greens are easy to quickly create into a healthy meal. Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea too.

How to survive the party season Female for Life | Breakfast for dinner is ok

2. Take each day as it comes. Take each week as it comes. Overwhelm can be knocking at the door most days at this time of year. Work can get busier, kids will have end-of-year commitments, and there will be parties and gatherings. Instead of looking at the calendar and freaking out at the lack of gaps, look at each week overall and then each day. Break that time down into manageable chunks in which you can achieve work tasks or fit in social occasions.

3. Don’t be afraid to say no. I’m getting better at this. I think this is one of my greatest challenges. It’s not that I have a fear of missing out (FOMO as the young kids would say), it’s more that I’m worried I’m going to disappoint someone. Which I know is pretty silly as the only person I tend to end up disappointing is myself … for stretching myself too thin. With being away so much of late for work, I also want to be home more when I’m at home. So I look at the calendar for any given week, look at what’s booked in for work, what’s booked in for family and then am realistic as to what I can actually then fit in as an extra. I don’t always get the mix or balance right but I’m more conscious of trying to achieve kind of balance.

4. If you miss a planned exercise session, don’t beat yourself up. I aim for two yoga sessions a week plus two to three hill walks. This is the amount of exercise my GP has prescribed me as a balance to the negative impact exercise can have on my immune system. Travel and events do muck up my schedule each week but instead of just giving up on it all because I’ve missed a yoga class here and there, I just get back on track when I can. I know I feel good when I stick to it but I also know that life sometimes gets in the way. On weekends I combine family time and exercise together. Master SY is not always on board with the idea of a walk in the neighbourhood but he comes good eventually!

How to survive the party season Female for Life | Get back on track with your exercise as soon as possible

5. Create “me” gaps in your busy schedule. This is not about carving out huge chunks of time for yourself. It’s about finding small amounts of time here and there and seizing those moments. Me time for me includes a chance to have a slow start on a Sunday with the papers and a coffee in bed; it’s catching up with a girlfriend over brunch or a wine; it’s indulging in a facial or massage. I’m not regimented about it but I do know if I don’t build in me time to my week or month then I’m not a very nice person to be around.

How to survive the party season Female for Life | Create me time

6. Be vigilant with a water strategy. This is one strategy that I’m generally good at. If I know I’m going out and going to be enjoying a drink or two then I switch out every second drink with soda water. I still have something in my hand to drink but I’m less likely the next day to wake up wishing I’d never gone out in the first place. And I’m also less likely to wake up thinking that only a bowl of fries and/or a plate of bacon will fix the damage done. Scrap that. OF COURSE bacon fixes everything!

7. Eat before going to a canapé or cocktail event. When did you last go to a stand-up cocktail event and actually get your fill of food? Yep, thought so. I just doesn’t happen … short of stalking the wait staff as they emerge from the kitchen. If you can, aim to eat a really good lunch the day of the event and then a light meal before you head out. This way those first glasses of champagne are not hitting an empty stomach and it won’t matter if you miss out on the fried whatever that’s being handed around.

8. Enjoy the treats but get back to normal the next day. I love a party or a good meal out like the next person but my body does not. Rather than miss the treats altogether, I just get back to normal eating and exercise as soon as I can. Normal eating includes bacon, right?

How to survive the party season Female for Life | Get organised with food

9. Top up the sleep bank whenever you can. Working all day, parenting all week, partying when you can … something has to give and most often it’s sleep. I’m not someone who functions very well on not enough sleep and my body is quick to tell me when I haven’t been getting enough. If I can sneak a little sleep-in or a nana nap on a weekend, it does help me to stay on track.

10. It’s just the holidays. I know it’s an exciting time – the end of year has that deadline thing to it. We just want to do it all before Christmas or before the New Year. But this is just crazy when you think about it? The world doesn’t end if we don’t catch up with all our friends, family and work mates before the end of the year, does it? Do what can. See who you can. But don’t do it at the expense of your health. You want to hit the New Year with a tonne of energy, not limp over the line and take forever to get yourself back up again.

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So, tell me … what does the next couple of months look like for you? How will you keep life and your health balanced? Share your tips in the comments below.

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Comments 39

  1. Love these pertinent and down to earth tips. I get exhausted by too much social interaction over the holiday period and need to look after myself. I used to think red wine would be a good medicine, but sadly it’s betrayed me over the years!

  2. Really great post. I think eating before going out is really important. I have noticed when I am hungry, my alcohol cravings sky rocket which is not good. And treating myself to an occasional taxi (rather than public transport) for special events helps my energy levels.

  3. Always love your posts but this was a particularly enjoyable read. Great photos (the sneaker-level hill shot is a cracker). I am learning, learning, learning.

  4. These are all good tips! This will be the first Christmas I can indulge a bit because the last couple years I’ve been pregnant so I’m looking forward to eat some of those cheeses I steered from. Good point about a big lunch before a cocktail party. I always go to drive thru after a cocktail party if there hasn’t been much food!

  5. I too suffer from FODS (Fear of Disappointing Someone)! But it’s something I’m working on. I’ve had a bit of a wake up call this week (and in past weeks if I’m being totally honest) – slow down. Do only what needs to be done. Take better care of myself. Enjoy my life and the people in it. The rest will take care of itself. Brilliant post, my love. x

  6. Thank you for the reinforcement of my new mission to look after ME. This year has seen a lot of episodes in bed with what was thought to have been fibromyalga but as it turns out my muscle pain and tiredness was cause by stress and hypothyroidism :/ I was burning the candle at both ends! I now walk everyday, watch what I eat and will be taking up yoga with a friend a few times a week. Hopefully, this will help. I already feel better with the small changes I have made. I have closed my consultancy and focused on the new site. I’ve finally realised I can’t do everything!
    You look amazing and I bet you feel amazing too. xx

    1. Oh Kellie, I hear you. I don’t feel amazing every day – that’s the nature of Hashimotos even if you’re doing all the right things – but I do know that I’m doing a better job of consistently looking after myself. Hope you can have more good days than bad soon. x

  7. Great advice Nikki and I think for me the take away message is get a plan. There is certainly more chance of success that way. And I am all with you for starting the new year with some energy.

  8. Great advice – bucketloads of good, old-fashioned common sense. Love it. We girls try to be everything to everyone – can’t do it without tons of guilt!

  9. Last night I made a decision to stop following million different diets & follow low GI diet prescribed by my naturopath. I don’t know if it’s coincidence but I feel full of life this morning. I missed my boxing class last night as well & was also feeling guilty but I’m not going to beat myself up as I’ll do bay walk on Sat. It is all about prioritising & also a long term sustainable lifestyle not quick fix. Sad at 46 I’ve just figured this out

  10. you look great! and you’ve had such a busy life of late!
    I couldn’t even comprehend living like that! … too stressful for me!
    “my body is my temple” … learnt that years ago in yoga and I believe it!
    I am always mindful of what I put into my body and now I don’t drink! … hate those holier than thou’s … but it’s paying off! … I need to walk a bit more!
    apparently having some olive oil before going for drinks also helps!
    have a happy season! love m:)X

  11. I am very mindful of what I eat because I’m not allowed to gain weight because of my knee,but that does not mean I can’t have treats just not all day everyday.I also meditate daily even if it is only for 10 minutes and I am a huge fan of listening to my body,having a nana nap when I need it or a stretching session if my body is in pain,I also eat something small before going out because a lot of the time there is creamy dips with lactose that I will eat and end up feeling sick and it’s not worth it(I do carry lacteeze tablets in my bag just in case )I am sure you find this a problem with your gluten intolerance too.Great tips Nikki thank you ,you are looking wonderful Xx

  12. Great tips. The silly season seems to be starting early this year. After a year of saying no to most things I’ve been tempted to say yes to far too much and struggling to find a balance. I think I’ve always been an all or nothing kind of gal but sadly the all side of things is fast tracking me to the nothing part of town.

  13. The end of year always feels like a race to the end doesn’t it? I usually try to take a week off work in December (first week off Catholic school holidays) – to short circuit the madness and let everyone have a bit of a rest. We go to the beach, or the bush, for a few days peace and quiet. It helps me pysch myself up and feel a bit more in control as we hurtle towards Christmas. Thanks for your tips, they’re good ones!

  14. Wow Nikki, so much common sense. I love reading about your health journey. I am really lacking exercising at the moment. You make it sound so do-able. Keep up the awesome work and sharing, you have inspired me. X

  15. Awesome tips and that’s a cracker of a quote! I’m definitely going to try the wine/water strategy and I’m determined to spend longer in Sleepy Town. You are looking absolutely fabulous – such a great ambassador for Female for Life. I have a couple of pieces and I love them!

  16. Love that quote Nikki. You remind my of my granddaughter, when we go grocery shopping she always says ‘Do we have any bacon Grandma?’. Great tips, for any time of the year too. Kathryn 🙂

  17. Great tips Nikki. It is so easy, at this time of year, to be so focused on others and inadvertently let our well being take a back seat. I have started the saying “no” plan and love your idea of scheduling “me” gaps in the calendar.

  18. You such an inspiration Nikkers…I hope you know that! Always with the practical, no nonsense approach. You look fabulous! You should be VERY proud of the person you have become x

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