Seasonal tips and tricks from ICB's resident wellness coach, Simone Gilbert

Happy Happy December to you!

I say that, whilst feeling like I haven’t actually made it much past July‼ * Who stole my year? *

December and January are traditionally months of “festivities and fizz”. For so many, they are months of excess; late nights, extra (and big) meals and additional “fizz” (or beverage of choice.) This festivities-fuelled excess all too often leads to burgeoning waistlines, foggy heads and diminishing funds!  A sobering thought: according to research “… the extra pounds you put on between Halloween and Christmas can take more than five months to lose.”?  Eek!

To give to tools and strategies and focussing on the fundamentals, here are my top tips for you to enjoy the 2019 silly season and rather than kick-starting 2020 feeling exhausted, bloated and strung-out, you can sizzle into the New Year calm and confident, brimming with enthusiasm and optimism.  

Ready? I’m going to use my very own “shine” framework to keep it all straight-forward.


1. Sleep

We all know what it feels like to go without. Yes, there are going to be late nights and yes that means a broken sleep routine, but in order to feel – and look – your best this festive season, remember how good it feels to feel good.

Working backwards from the biggest events on your calendar, be sure to treat your rest the night before AS important as the clothes you wear to your special do!

If there is a chance you’ll be later than you’d like, have some Tart Cherry Juice on hand and sip half a cup ½ hr before bed. (remember to brush your teeth). It elevates your melatonin which means you’re more likely to enjoy a sound sleep (even if shorter!).  

As well, Lavender Essential Oil is masterful at bringing on sound and restful sleep. On your pillow, back of the neck and/or in a bath. I love the DoTerra products for quality and efficacy. (reach out if you need more info)


2. Hydration

Count those bubbles!

In order to avoid a (or too many) hangovers, it is wise to keep a drink-count. Literally count the glasses you have, sip each glass slower and pause to appreciate the flavours and aromas. It’s far too easy to gulp drinks at this time of the year and therein lies the danger. Have “water-chasers” where for each glass of alcohol, you have one glass of water. Lastly, never “top up” your glass until it is sipped to completion… A hand over your glass with a “not right now thankyou” is all that’s needed to retain control and count of your alcohol intake.

Make your Hydration count

Begin each morning with a glass of tepid → warm water with the juice of at least half a lemon to support liver and kidney function, kick start your metabolism and re-hydrate easily.

Oh, and peppermint oil on your temples is a great hangover antidote (and much better for you than over-the-counter pain relief, which are really hard on your gut/digestive system).


3. I Matter! (Self-Care)

This is Your Gift To You!

Remember to take care of you and honour your own needs. Remember what works for you. If you start your day with some quiet reflection, then make sure it stays – somehow!

I was once told that “No” is a full sentence. This time of the year can be fraught with commitments you dread and interactions that leave you drained. Give yourself permission to consider whether they are worth your energy and find the courage to politely extricate yourself from anything that does not serve you.

As well, a powerful and seasonally appropriate inclusion is Gratitude! Press pause and ponder all the things in your life for which you are grateful. This single practice is shown to elevate mood and outlook, instil a calm and create confidence and control. Spend 10 minutes each morning (or evening) writing – or thinking – about three things you love about you and/or for which you give special thanks.


4. Nutrition

Oh, you knew it would be here!

At this time of the year, as mentioned, excess is everywhere!

This year, I invite you to make enjoying the festive foods mindful – not just bellyful!


Slow down!

One of the greatest things you can do to curb the risks of over-eating is slow down. Start with giving thanks; it brings your mind and focus to the table so that you are more likely to connect with the meal and thus enjoy it more. And then simply eat more slowly.

Chewing is the 1st part of digestion and thus a powerful tool against over-eating as well as conditions like IBS, GERD and gut-based conditions.

Take a mouthful, put your utensils down and chew, slowly. Chew 15 times and actually taste the food, feel the texture and enjoy each mouthful (and if it’s not enjoyable, don’t eat it!). This process gives your stomach time to register the food coming in and activate your Leptin, or the “I’m full” reflex. (Yes, you may choose to ignore it, but it’s shown that that happens less if we slow our eating down).

Generally, this time of the year is filled with extra sweets, desserts and candies. Sugar is a menace to everyone’s health so whilst a taste is nice, remember that it’s only the first taste that the body actually craves. A taste. One mouthful sorts a craving. A second serving not so much…

Make your decisions mindful and respectful of how your body is really feeling. That will better support you staying calm and feeling healthy and confidence throughout this festive season.


5. Exercise - Move it for a Better You!

With all the “eating, drinking and being merry”, this is an especially good time to integrate a little exercise into your days. It can be as simple as going for a family stroll walk after your special meal or beginning the day with some gentle stretching or yoga. So no, I’m not suggesting you must run. Unless you love it. This is all about remembering what you love and doing that.

Exercising at this time of the year will aid digestion, lessen the chances of your body storing extra and unused energy (ok, gaining weight), you’ll sleep better and simply feel better in yourself (and in your outfits!)

My wish is that you to end this year as you begin the next; looking and feeling fabulous!

Use the above simple tricks and tips to create a plan for yourself. What is your Achilles heel? How can you plan for that meal, day, event and feel confident so you sizzle the whole way through?? What can you do differently this year to make sure your New Year sees you calm and confident, brimming with enthusiasm and optimism?

Think “tweaks”. You’ve got this!

If there was one thing everyone was talking about at this year's Bookkeepers Summit, it was Simone’s powerful Wellness Workshop. Jo Wood FICB even referenced it in her own keynote. As ICB’s resident wellness coach, Simone will be working with us in 2020 to ensure that ICB is able to fulfil its purpose of supporting members throughout their careers. We are pleased therefore to confirm that ICB’s first Wellness Weekend will take place between 6th and 8th March 2020. 

You can visit the Wellness Weekend website here.

The resounding message from the Summit was that we should all consider our own wellness a vital component in the success of our career and personal life and we trust you shall all look after yourselves, and not just others, during this holiday season.