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Grooming:Bad habits to avoid this festive season

The festive season is knocking at the door and I am sure by now people are beginning to make their plans to unwind and relax. In the process of doing that, we tend to put some of our good habits and routines on hold while we indulge in all kinds of festive activities.

Opinion by Heather R

Routines like going to bed early tend to fall away due to frolicking. By the time the festivities are over, you will need to reset your body clock to go back to its old habits.

There are some habits you should not adopt or place on the back burner of your life:

Makeup removal
You will probably have more opportunities to get dolled-up but this may also mean that you now come back home late, so chances are high that you will be tempted to hit the sack with your makeup still on. Do not succumb to this temptation.

The last thing you want is to return from the festive season and your skin has issues because you repeatedly slept with makeup on.

Once is acceptable but not regularly. Buy yourself some facial wipes that will remove the makeup without you having to wash your face.

Water
Cocktails, wines, beer and cold drinks are in abundant supply and because we are up and about so much, we tend to reach for the drinks instead of our water.

The skin will be the first to complain because it becomes dehydrated. Our bodies are mostly water so we need to hydrate ourselves constantly.

Drinking lots of water will also help our livers and kidneys process the alcohol without taking too much strain.

Live healthy, get enough sleep
When I was in Cape Town last December, I realised the importance of my sleep and water. When I returned home my skin looked awful. I had dark rings around my eyes because I had not slept sufficiently and I was under-hydrated.

We fill our days with so much activity that we forget to do the one thing we are supposed to use our time off work for — rest.

Have at least one quiet night in a week as well as an early night. Sleep is good for you, it allows your mind to convert short-term memories to long-term memories and for your cells to renew and rejuvenate themselves. It is not called beauty sleep for nothing.

Bingeing
Christmas or not, binge drinking is never wise. It puts a lot of strain on the body and the organs responsible for processing the alcohol. You would be better off drinking one glass a night per week than to drink seven glasses of wine on a single Friday night.

Your body can easily handle one glass but seven become too much. You do not want alcohol-poisoning to ruin your holiday.
Remember to drink lots of water (together with the alcohol) as well and find a designated driver so you are not a risk to the well-being and safety of others as well as yourself.

A number of people’s healthy diets and exercise routines are also derailed and over-indulgence in delicacies and unhealthy meals become the norm. Make a plan to detox at the beginning of the year so you are ready to take 2013 by the horns.

If you are travelling and intend on having some fun in the sun, take your sunscreen with you, even if you are going to stick around you need it too.

Some habits and routines need not go on holiday, for instance, bathing or brushing of teeth.

Budget time wisely
Extravagance also comes with the season. Boy, do people love to spend and shop, both for themselves and for others.

It is not a bad thing to spoil yourself and others, but draw up a budget and spend only what you can afford. You still have the month of January to go through and that will require funds, so do not let the glitz, lights and glam of the season make you lose all sense and sensibility.

If you exhaust your salary and bonus in December, January may see you start your year in debt; that is, if you find someone who can lend you some cash.

What not to wear to the office Christmas party
Ah, the office holiday party. Is there another work event more fraught with peril? The combination of co-workers, forced holiday spirit, end-of-year stress and cocktails can make for an awkward evening. Don’t make it worse by committing a fashion faux pas.

Nobody wants to top her office’s version of the worst dressed list. Be festive, but don’t be tacky. .

Anything that lights up
You should rethink wearing any clothing that requires batteries or a power source. The blinking Christmas sweater — or worse, sweatshirt — might seem festive and whimsical when you catch it on a late-night TV shopping network. If you just can’t live without your bling, try some sparkly jewellery or an elegant wrap with understated sequins or glittery thread instead.

Mistletoe anywhere on your body
The holiday tradition of kissing beneath the mistletoe is beloved and sweet. However, the office party is not the place to kiss someone. Walking around wearing mistletoe is, at worst, an open invitation to a harassment charge. At the least, it’s a good way to catch the flu. So, save the mistletoe for the privacy of your own home. If you’re looking for some festive holiday greenery, try a holly-or pine-inspired pin or brooch.

Jingle bells
Please avoid the urge to wear a jingle bell necklace. Bells are cute and festive — but only for a few minutes. After that, they just become distracting. And how are you supposed to sneak around and get the juiciest office gossip if everyone can hear you coming? Let the Salvation Army Santa Claus ring those bells instead.

Holiday costumes
Speaking of Santa Claus, unless you’ve been hired to actually play Santa for your co-worker’s children, don’t wear a costume to the holiday party. A cute Santa hat might be OK, if that’s your thing. But you don’t need to pull out your elf ears and curly shoes. Or your felt reindeer antlers. Or your quilted Mrs Claus Christmas skirt. Or your “sexy Santa” outfit. Really — please don’t pull out your “sexy Santa” outfit. If you feel compelled to show off your holiday spirit, add a splash of red or green to your outfit.

Over-the-top party dresses
Dress appropriately for the function you’re attending. You should know the dress code for your office’s holiday festivities — and if you don’t, you should make it your business to find out. Many people take the office party as an invitation to show off “who they really are” and let loose. There’s nothing wrong with being yourself, but be yourself within reason.

That low-cut, skin-tight cocktail dress might work in the club, but it’s not the outfit you want to wear in front of your company’s CEO. And if your office party is informal, don’t show up wearing your fanciest evening gown. Be appropriate, fight the urge to make any wacky fashion statements, and remember that the classic little black dress works just about every time. Happy holidays!
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