It’s the most wonderful time of the year… until your body or mind start feeling less than wonderful. There are plenty of threats to your well-being during the holidays, from stress to unhealthy eats to actual sickness.
We want to make it as easy as possible for you to keep those sensations and temptations at bay. So, here are our five best tips for staying healthy throughout the holiday season.
- Be Proactive
As soon as the weather starts cooling down, people become explicitly aware flu season is on the horizon. As such, many head to their doctor or even to their local pharmacy for a flu shot — and for a good reason.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extol multiple benefits of the vaccination — not only can you avoid flu-related hospitalizations, but it can mute the severity of the illness, should you still manage to get a twinge of it. So, don’t delay in signing up for your flu shot so you can avoid a debilitating sickness at Christmastime.
Another way to ward off winter sickness is to keep germs at bay. That is especially essential if you’re traveling this winter — airplanes have a bad reputation when it comes to sickness-sharing. Wash your hands regularly and, if you can’t get up to do so, slather on hand sanitizer to kill any unwanted germs.
- Stay Hydrated
This tip applies to year-round self-care, so don’t let your hydration fall by the wayside once you get holiday-level busy. You probably already know the merits of drinking water throughout the day. The lengthy list of benefits includes headache prevention, hangover relief and even a boost in weight loss.
Water also keeps our bodies’ mucous membranes as strong as possible, which is vital, as they’re responsible for blocking germs and viruses from entering our bodies. All these positive side effects are going to keep you healthy through the holidays.
The right amount of water also keeps us feeling refreshed and mentally clear. So, as you’re scrambling for last-minute gifts, be sure you’re drinking a glass of water an hour — even if you’re doing a lot at once, you’ll have the energy and focus to get it all done without burning out.
- Fight Stress
The holidays certainly bring us plenty of joy, but they can also usher in a sense of dread or stress. If you find yourself folding to the pressure of the season, fight back in the ways that work for you. Of course, you might not have any tried-and-true stress-busting methods, especially for this time of year.
For starters, you might consider breaking a sweat — exercising packs a one-two punch, clearing your mind and improving your health. Stepping away from stressful tasks or events and taking a break can help you calm down. Then, there’s the practice of mindfulness, which will keep you focused on the moment and feeling happy to celebrate the holiday season.
- Nourish Your Body
The holidays are a notoriously difficult time for healthy eaters. We have plenty of parties, dinners and cocktail hours to attend with friends, family, and colleagues. And, during these gatherings, there’s lots of unhealthy food and alcohol on hand. We often write off these indulgences as a seasonal treat, but too many events can lead us to make too many exceptions to our normally healthy routines.
So, take control this winter. For starters, make sure the treats you’re having are the most special ones you only get once a year — choose sweets and snacks you’ll really savor. To make this task simpler, some suggest eating 90 percent healthily and indulging 10 percent of the time, which is a great balance for enjoying a special dessert or meal, but not overdoing it when it’s not worth it.
Finally, the holiday rush might keep you from catching the Zs you need. Adults require seven to nine hours of sleep each night to re-energize and tackle the next day. During the holidays, though, it’s especially important to get enough sleep. Wearing yourself thin will only push your body’s resources to the limit, leaving you more susceptible to illness.
So, don’t feel guilty about leaving the party early so you can get the proper amount of sleep. Reset your alarm to give you a little bit more snooze time in the morning. And always try and log the right amount of rest, so you feel your best when you wake up.
The holidays are tons of fun for many of us, but can also be very stressful since there’s so much going on! By implementing these five tips, you’ll be setting yourself up for the best and healthiest holiday season possible. So, start taking care of yourself today and see just what magic lies ahead — you won’t miss a beat now that you’ve taken care of yourself!