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There’s a time for indulgence and a time for scarcity, and the party season is definitely the former. That said, there’s no point in forgetting everything you know about health and nutrition to find yourself ringing in the new year feeling lethargic, tired and having to make some drastic changes in January. The ‘detox, retox, detox’ trend is over, and we’re all striving to lead balanced lives that account for celebrations that we can enjoy guilt-free. Here are my favourite ways to navigate the festive season without the parties peppering my calendar throwing me right off the wellness tracks.

Indulge Naturally

We eat to nourish our body with all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals we need to keep everything running smoothly. Therefore, sticking to unprocessed, natural and nutrient-dense food is an easy and practical party grazing tip. A good rule of thumb when eating at a party is to start with vegetables (skip the dip), move on to fruit if it’s available, then onto protein, followed by starches. If you’re craving processed food, sweet treats or something loaded with salt, savour it slowly and really enjoy it. Your cortisol levels spike when you’re stressed out while eating, so let go of the guilt and save your indulgences for things you really love. If you’re drinking, try to stick to very clean spirits, preferably mescal, as it’s very natural and slow to spike blood-sugar levels.

Quality Over Quantity

If you apply one item from this list to every aspect of your life, make it this. Many of us are hardwired to crave more of everything. More shoes, cake, cocktails, gifts, money, success… But while abundance can be wonderful it often leads to short-term happiness and long-term disappointment. Opt for a glass of your favourite champagne over four glasses of cheap stuff, treat yourself to a beautiful Christmas dinner with your closest friends at a special restaurant, buy one knock-out investment outfit that you’ll have forever, and most of all give carefully considered gifts at any parties that include exchanging gifts. The world has become acutely aware of the amount of waste we all create, so gifting experiences in lieu of material goods is a wonderful option. The theme for 2019 will be less is more, and it’s always good to get ahead of a trend.

Control What You Can

Have you noticed that some of the most beneficial things you can do for your health involve passive rather than proactive actions? Sleeping for eight hours a night, only eating when you’re hungry, avoiding processed food, and not drinking your calories are just a few small but significant lifestyle changes you can make to your daily routine which require you to do less than more. Before you worry about how to avoid the drinks trolley at the next party, give yourself a head start by regularly getting eight hours of sleep a night. Not only will you have fewer cravings, you’ll also feel more alert and find it easier to resist temptation.

Make Small Daily Resolutions

Everyone loves to make New Year’s resolutions, but large, lofty goals can often lead to disappointment if not broken down into bite-sized measurable steps. Instead of pledging to make drastic life changes from 1 January, decide before each party what you’ll enjoy and what you’ll skip. This may mean limiting your alcohol consumption to a few drinks, avoiding the dessert buffet, deciding to only eat your favourite festive treats and foregoing others, or leaving before midnight. The best thing about setting small goals is that you get to celebrate small wins every time you achieve them.

Dervla Louli is the founder of wellness travel site Compare Retreats