For a time of year that brings so much joy, the holidays can sure do a number on our health. It is cold and the flu and other viruses are everywhere. You’re also carrying an extra sugar load from all the delicious holiday treats that seem to surround and follow you. Maybe you’ve missed a few days or weeks of exercise (after all, it is the holidays), and the family is all coming to your place for the holidays so you better hurry to make sure your house is spotless, decorated like a catalogue, and everyone’s gifts are wrapped and ready to impress. This is a lot of stress for anyone’s body, mind and spirit. How about those of us who maybe haven’t been good all year health-wise?
Our health is important all year round and may require extra care during the holidays. So here are 12 tips for all of us to keep our hearts in the holidays.
- Keep warm. Dress in layers to adjust to the changing weather.
- Spread joy and cheer, not germs. Washing your hands and coughing into tissues or your elbow can go a long way in stopping the spread of germs. Really.
- Manage stress. Thoughts of elaborate feasts with friends and family, dazzling decorations, and the perfect gifts dance in our heads. Everything will be just right. Pretty soon we’ve stressed ourselves out trying to get it all ready, spent way too much money in the process, and have forgotten to actually enjoy ourselves and our loved ones. Stress can manifest itself in physical symptoms as well – fatigue, irritability, headache, upset stomach, nervousness and changes in appetite.
- Set realistic goals. Plan ahead so you don’t find yourself scrambling at the last minute or feeling the nagging mental burden of an unfinished task.
- Take a moment. Step away from the fray to take some deep breaths and lower your blood pressure.
- Watch what you eat and drink. Yes, the holidays are times for special treats, but a balanced diet is essential for managing stress and feeling your best. Eat a protein-rich breakfast to keep you satisfied and less likely to binge. Plan healthy meals and snacks ahead of time to keep yourself on track. Maybe just eat a small portion of your favorite treat. Also, limit your alcohol, as overdoing it can actually add to your stress. Taking care of your diet can also save you some stress come January when making resolutions.
- Stay hydrated. (with water, not alcoholic beverages – see above.)
- Laugh. It actually is the best medicine in this case.
- Chat with a friend. Sometimes we keep problems bottled in our own heads until they grow out of proportion. Airing out your stresses to a trusted friend can help gain some grounding clarity.
- Get active. Go for a walk or some other cardiovascular exercise to release endorphins in the brain. Try out that Zumba class you’ve been meaning to attend.
- Listen to music. Studies show both happy and sad music can lift your mood. And, it has been shown that singing together brings people closer to one another.
- Make sure you get enough sleep. This will help with stress, your immune system, and overall health.
- Reliv. Don’t miss out on the boost of health and energy you get by drinking your Reliv shake every day – especially the holidays.