During the holiday season, it can be difficult to prioritize taking care of your health. If you find yourself tempted to spend days lounging around by your fireplace while eating tons of leftover Halloween candy when confronted with seasonal stress, you’re not alone.
But just because the holidays seem to tempt you to neglect your health doesn’t mean that you should vow to take care of your mental and physical well-being only after the upcoming year.
Staying healthy during the holidays is crucial — especially since you’re more prone to throwing your healthy eating habits and workout routine out the window during these colder winter days. Fortunately, staying healthy and in high spirits during this busier time of year doesn’t have to be tedious or overbearing.
In fact, staying in great health this season is extremely easy. Don’t believe us? See for yourself by following these hassle-free and straight-forward tips for maximizing your wellbeing even while experiencing this potentially busy time of year.
1. Start the Day off with Breakfast (and a Glass of Water, too)
During the busy season, it’s easy to find yourself putting your plans first and your health second. This means that instead of sitting down and having breakfast in the morning, you may be more likely to finish up the work you didn’t get to from the office the night before instead.
But nourishing your body first thing in the morning is essential — especially when you’re much more likely to neglect your health during this bustling time of year. Your elders constantly reminded you that breakfast’s the most important meal of the day while growing up for a reason.
You just spent the last 7-9 hours fasting, so it’s crucial to fuel your body with energy and nutrition to put some extra pep in your step in the morning when starting your day.
Remember not to skip your morning drink, too. During the winter, your body is likely to experience dehydration from artificially warm environments created by heating systems and a lack of moisture in the air.
While you may not be as likely to notice your dehydration in the winter as you would be in the summer, make sure that your body stays replenished by drinking a full glass of water to accompany your breakfast every day.
2. Don’t Forget to Work Out!
The holiday season means indulging in overwhelming meals. From that extra plate of turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving to all of those Christmas cookies that you’ll be munching on throughout the entire month of December, you’re much more likely to find yourself eating more than your recommended amount of calories during the holidays.
To counteract the impact of seasonal snacking and meals, you’ll want to make working out more of a priority than usual!
If the thought of leaving the warmth of your sheets to brave the winter weather on your route to the gym seems unbearable, try switching up your workouts for a fun outdoor activity you’ll want to engage in instead. Who says you can’t get in a workout in the winter and enjoy yourself in the process, too?
If you can’t seem to fit in a workout in between shoveling snow, planning for your upcoming holiday parties, and Christmas shopping, then invest in a planner to ensure that you always pencil in a cardio session several times throughout the week.
3. Please Your Taste Buds but Don’t Overindulge
When the holiday season begins to set in, you may be tempted to load up on sugar cookies and booze every time you’re given the opportunity to have a drink or snack. When you’re invited to so many holiday gatherings, it becomes all too easy to load up on sugary substances and alcoholic beverages.
But while it’s okay to indulge your taste buds with sips of wine and tasty snacks, it’s important to not go overboard in the process, too.
To prevent yourself from overeating or overdrinking, be sure to eat a light meal with a tall glass of water before heading out to a holiday party. Whether you’re headed out to your grandma’s house or the Christmas party for your office, going over to a party without overbearing hunger or thirst is a surefire way to ensure that you won’t overindulge in potentially unhealthy sweets and drinks.
4. Keep Stress at Bay
It’s no secret that while the holidays are often an exciting time of year, they’re also widely known to induce higher amounts of stress in individuals, too. With all of the demands associated with the winter season, it’s no wonder your emotional health begins to dwindle.
But if you’re prone to having your stress peak during the holiday season, it’s vital to find coping mechanisms to lift your spirits. Since stress is known to have a direct correlation to an increased risk of digestive health problems, hypertension, compromised immune system, and general illness, it’s crucial to find ways to cope with the seasonal blues and tension.
Develop a plan for coping with your stress that helps you find a healthy way to release any unwanted anxious feelings. Remember to take the time to stop, relax, and take a breather from your everyday obligations. Hit the spa or break out your yoga mat to find a sense of inner peace. Simple daily activities such as watching a comedy or taking the time to hang out with your pets can help significantly reduce your stress levels, too.
5. Get Your Flu Shot
It’s no secret that the holiday season is unfortunately synonymous with flu season, too. When body’s ability to defend itself against bacteria and viruses is lower than usual, and you find yourself in crowded areas that puts your immune system to the test, make sure you’re safeguarded by getting your necessary shots.
Scheduling a visit with your doctor or walking into a vaccination center only takes several minutes, but this small act can have a tremendous impact on your health. Since getting the flu vaccine reduces your risk of being admitted to the ICU with the flu by an astonishing 82%, we’d say that getting this crucial shot is an integral part of staying healthy during the busy holiday season.
6. Always Have Soap (and Hand Sanitizer) Handy
Did you know that every 30 minutes, your hand touches nearly 300 surfaces and is exposed to over 840,000 germs in the process? The simplest way to ward off unwanted bacteria and germs that can cause illnesses is by lathering up your hands with some warm and soapy water.
One of the simplest everyday tasks to prioritize during the winter is hand washing. You can’t keep track of how many services your hands will touch throughout the day — but you can make an effort to keep them clean in the process.
If you find yourself constantly on the go during the holidays, washing your hands often may not always be practical. But while you can’t whip out a sink and soap every time you touch a public door handle or find yourself in a busy area, you can use a dollop of hand sanitizer to kill any harmful bacteria that touches your skin. Store a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket or bag to reduce your likelihood of contracting the flu or other common seasonal infections.
Load Up on Vitamin D
For most people in the country, the holidays signify cold and snowy winter days. This means when the holidays roll around, the sun seems to disappear. But while you may find yourself already counting down the days until the upcoming summer, you have more than one reason to miss the sun — especially when it comes to your health.
When the sun doesn’t make an appearance much throughout the holiday season, it can begin to take a serious toll on your mental health. Nearly 6% of people suffer from winter depression due in large part to a lack of sun and vitamin D.
To keep yourself feeling upbeat during this gloomier — and potentially more stressful — time of year, consider using light therapy treatment to boost your vitamin D levels. Incorporate vitamin D-rich foods like salmon and eggs into your everyday diet to experience an elevated mood, too.
Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season
For many people, the holidays are often the most thrilling time of year. You’ll have the opportunity to meet up with all of your friends and families, get the opportunity to buy meaningful gifts for your loved ones, and cook up some dishes that you only get to enjoy during the holiday season.
Before you know it, the new year will be upon you, and you’ll find yourself anxiously awaiting the next holiday season. So, remember not to sweat the small things while taking the time to pay attention to your health. Savor every second of the season by optimizing your wellbeing and spending your energy focusing on what matters most.
- Tips for Staying Healthy During the Busy Holiday Season - November 3, 2018