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Awe the holidays, how I love thee. They’re that time of the year when we gather with family and friends to create new, fun memories. Unfortunately that togetherness not only brings cheer, but can sometimes help aid the spread of germs, fatigue, stress, overeating and an overall holiday hangover – ugh. But thanks to these 5 tips to stay healthy during the holidays, you can hopefully avoid it all and keep the cheer going through the new year.
Beyond staying bundled up, taking your vitamins, and getting the flu vaccine, there’s a myriad of things we can do to keep ourselves healthy. Here are a few.
Help Stop the Spread of Germs
Because the cold virus tends to spread more from hand-to-mouth contact, you should wash your hands regularly and encourage others to do the same. Even when away from the house, carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to clean anything you might touch (airplane/bus/train hand rests definitely come to mind). And equally as important is that you stay hydrated. Staying hydrated not only helps our body function, but it allows our mucous membranes to stay moist, which helps keep those nasty bugs out of our system.
Get Plenty of Rest
When you don’t get a good night’s sleep and run yourself ragged, you’ll not only be tired the next day, but you also increase the risk of getting sick because you’re immune system gets worn down. I know I am totally guilty of not getting enough sleep, but recently I’ve made it a point to change that because I’ve noticed that when I do, I make better food choices and my body generally feels better. I know it’s easy to lose track of time when you’re out celebrating or trying to finish everything before a party, but try to maintain your bedtime and/or work in naps as possible (it’s totally ok to take a cue from the kids and/or your pets). Sleep is the best preventative medicine there is.
Make Time for Yourself
Yes, the holidays can be a stressful time but they don’t have to be. Managing the stress can be as easy as creating a budget and sticking to it; allowing yourself plenty of time to deal with holiday traffic; or allowing yourself a day, or even an hour, to – sleep in, read a book, hit the gym/workout, hit the spa, or get in some retail therapy as you head to Big Lots to get everything off your list. The point is to take time to do the things that make you happy, vs. only doing things that you know make others happy.
Still feel guilty about taking care of you? Make it a family affair and get everybody out of the house and into nature. Green spaces have a calming effect which can be beneficial to everyone, so head to the park or just walk around your neighborhood admiring everyone’s holiday decor. The point is to get out and allow nature to take you out of the hustle and bustle, into a stop and smell the roses moment.
Nothing heals more than giving back. Whether you volunteer your time and/or donate to a worthwhile cause, it all finds a way to bring you back into the spirit of the holidays. It opens your heart to compassion for others, while allowing you to take stock of what you have and feel gratitude for it all. I know that sometimes we can get caught up in the everyday routine, but when we get a chance to peek into the lives of those less fortunate than us we realize just how fortunate we really are. And sometimes that renewed perspective can fill our hearts and minds so much so that we get motivated to take on new things and/or make changes for the better in our own lives.
Trust me I know how tempting it is to skip meals to make room for food you want to over indulge in later. But just like you shouldn’t go grocery shopping on an empty-stomach, you shouldn’t head to a holiday party or host a holiday feast, starving. That just makes you less likely to stick to portion control or make the wisest food choices. Instead, eat a small healthy meal before, so you can spend more time mingling, than you spend grazing at the dinner table.
The same holds true with holiday drinks. If you can, try to alternate your cocktails with a glass of water. This not only slows down the number of drinks you have, but it also keeps you hydrated, which as noted above, is particularly important this time of year. And remember – Don’t Drink & Drive.
So go ahead, enjoy this holiday season. Spread cheer, make memories, and don’t forget to take care of you.
What tips do you have to stay healthy during the holidays?
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