For everything the holiday season includes – parties and get-togethers involving family, friends, co-workers, food and fun – health sometimes gets put on the back burner.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the festive moment, it’s also entirely possible – and important – to look for ways to look after the overall well-being of you and your loved ones during this time of year.
Southeastern Med offers the following tips on ways you can live a healthy lifestyle – or at least minimize the damage – during the holidays:
- Manage stress: Get-togethers, presents and family dynamics can be stressful. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Get plenty of sleep and rely on others for support when needed.
- Stay active: Although much of the holiday season involves time indoors, remember to get outside for a walk, visit the gym or hit the treadmill during this time of year. Aim for at least 2 ½ hours of physical activity each week.
- Bring a healthy dish: Holiday parties tend to be full of carbs and sugars. When going through the line, try to cover half your plate in healthy options.
- Treat yourself occasionally: Eating right during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to push away every treat. You won’t do irreparable harm by having a few treats. Take the time to savor each bite, and then look for a healthy snack the next time past the buffet.
- Wash hands often: You’re going to be inside with a lot of people who may be sick during flu season. Be sure to wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Choose beverages carefully: Stick mostly to zero-calorie drinks – water, tea, seltzer – rather than high-calorie holiday-themed drinks. Alcohol can lead to poor diet choices. When you do consume alcohol, alternate each drink with a glass of water.
- Focus on people, not food: Don’t stand by the buffet or snack island to socialize, which will likely lead to more indulging. Take the conversation away from the food to reduce temptation.
- Get vaccinated: Getting your immunizations helps prevent disease. Everyone at least six months old should get an annual flu vaccine.
- Be safe around fire: The holidays are one of the most dangerous times for fires and space heaters. Put candles in easily visible places so you don’t forget to extinguish them before bed, turn off and unplug space heaters when not in use and keep a close eye on fireplaces.
- Say no to guilt: If you do overindulge or don’t exercise as much as you’d like, just get back to your normal routine as quickly as you can. Being healthy doesn’t have to take the whole month off just because you slip up once.