Let the countdown to Christmas begin! Many of us look forward to the holiday season in the same way they did as children: with giddy excitement and sleepless nights. Seeing relatives after months or even years apart is always a highlight, but the stress, anxiety and general unhealthiness of the season can’t be overlooked. Luckily, there are simple ways of staying healthy, both mentally & physically, during the holiday season.
Exercise regularly. Often during the holidays we don’t follow our daily routines and exercise tends to fall off the radar. It is important for your mental and physical health to MOVE YOUR BODY every single day. That doesn’t mean hit the gym or run a marathon, just get up off the couch and stay active.
Regulate stress. Some stress during the holiday season is to be expected. There are parties to plan and attend, gifts to buy, relatives to meet and even travel plans to make. All of this can tax your body. Participating in stress-relieving activities will help you stay grounded among all the hassle of the holidays. Certain medical conditions can also be exacerbated by stress, so keeping your life calm and orderly may improve your health in the long run.
Limit indulging to special days. People usually gain weight eating a substantial Thanksgiving dinner or indulging on New Year’s Eve. What used to be special occasions have now become everyday holiday festivities, with a variety of food and drinks to celebrate. Just because your coworker brought in homemade gingerbread cookies doesn’t mean you need to eat them. Keep the splurge events to specific times (such as Christmas Day or the first night of Hanukkah).
Watch the alcohol. Research shows that over-consuming alcohol can adversely impact your immune system. So can too much sugar, which makes those sweet cocktails a double whammy for getting sick. Instead of alcohol, consider sipping on mineral water or club soda with lime. It’s a refreshing alternative that will also keep you well hydrated.
Delegate responsibilities. Juggling work, gift buying, cooking, and all the many tasks holidays demand can become a lot to handle. Ask for help. Hiring an assistant for the holidays; getting your significant other involved in gift wrapping; or creating a potluck dinner that asks everyone to bring their favorite healthy Christmas recipes are all great ways to delegate tasks.
Improve your sleep. Stress and sleep feed off each other. Too little sleep can leave you stressed out over things that wouldn’t normally bother you, and stressing out before bed can impede quality sleep. Create a sleep ritual where you shut off electronics an hour or two before bed, take a hot bath, and create ways to unwind.
Schedule Downtime. Remember to plan and schedule your activities with time between for rest. If you deal with health problems, you should tell your family and friends what days you won’t be available. And as much as you love your relatives, knowing when to step away or head home can be beneficial in the long run.
At The Center for Integrative and Traditional Medicine, WE CARE! We truly understand that the holidays are a wonderful time to make memories and reflect on old ones. Remember to exercise, watch what you eat & drink, delegate responsibilities, manage your stress, schedule plenty of downtime, and follow a sleep ritual. Contact us today so you can make this the best holiday season.