The holidays bring alternate schedules and longer to-do lists. While this time can be full of fun and excitement, it can also lead to additional stress and poor health choices. This holiday season, try these tips to avoid holiday health issues!
1. It’s OK to Not Get a Second Helping!
The holidays are full of celebrations that often center around food and traditions. Pies, cookies, sweets and homemade meals are abundant. The average American gains approximately five to seven pounds over the holidays. It’s possible to enjoy your favorites without packing on the extra pounds. If you know you will be at an event where you want to eat heavier foods, eat lighter throughout the rest of the day and dole out small portions of your favorites.
2. Keep Stress at Bay
The holidays can be stressful. Between holiday events, shopping, family reunions, and kids being on break from school, it can be overwhelming. While holiday stress is common, don’t let it get you down. Schedule time for yourself and put self-care at the top of the list. Take time to read a book, take a long bath, schedule a massage or watch a movie.
3. Cheers to That… Within Reason!
Holiday celebrations are full of cocktails and adult beverages. Between party hopping and holiday stress, the drink tally can quickly rise. Drinks carry a lot of excess calories and contribute to holiday weight gain. Excessive drinking can also lead to other risky behaviors and lead down a path of addiction. Limit alcoholic drinks to one to two at a setting and drink plenty of water. If you fear your drinking has gotten out of control, seek professional help. (Never drink and drive!)
4. Say No to Getting Involved in Family Drama
Many people spend extra time with their families during the holidays. Sometimes these are family members we see less frequently, and the close quarters and extra time can bring out conflicts and drama. Separating yourself from the drama and avoiding taking sides will help keep your mental health stable throughout the holidays and beyond.
5. Shop Til You Don’t Drop
The pressure to buy, buy, buy can be overwhelming. We want to give gifts to friends and family as well as those special people like teachers, housekeepers and mail delivery drivers. Blockbuster sales and a consumer culture make it easy to get swept up in the overspending. To protect your financial wellness, make a list and a budget for your holiday shopping and stick to it.
6. Battling the Blues with Love
While the holidays can be full of joy and holiday cheer, they can also cause feelings of loneliness and depression for many people. Most often, this passes after the start of the new year, but it can be difficult during a time that is advertised as joyful. Make sure you are taking plenty of time to recharge yourself as well as connect with people you love. If you feel like it’s more than just a mild case of the blues, seek professional help. Talking with a professional can help you get through the holidays and beyond.
7. Catching ZZZ’s
The busy-ness of the holiday season may have you running on fumes. Sleep is an integral part of overall health. When your body doesn’t get adequate sleep, it wears down your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness. With flu season and COVID, it’s more important than ever to rest your body and mind to prevent getting sick. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and enough rest and relaxation throughout the day.
8. Move Your Body
Don’t let hectic schedules derail you from your workout routine. Make exercise a priority to help avoid holiday weight gain, maintain sanity, and prevent getting worn down. If you don’t currently have a regular routine, start adding walks a few times a week. If you need alone time, walk solo. Walking can also be a great way to connect with relatives while also getting in some exercise.
This year, take time to enjoy the season and the people you love. Revel in the small moments of joy. Watch out for these holiday health issues and make this a season to remember!