10 Health Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a joyous time of year. But between the gatherings, shopping lists, cooking and decorating, it can also be a hard time of year to stay healthy, be present and feel well-rested.

Here are 10 great health tips that you can easily work into your busy schedule to stay healthy and bright no matter what your holiday season looks like!

  1. Schedule your exercise into bite-sized chunks: Your 30 minutes of daily exercise can seem daunting when your schedule is packed with holiday activities. Instead of trying to work out for 30 minutes straight, break down your normal exercise routine into three 10-minute increments – in the morning, at lunch, and right before dinner. This will make it far more achievable!
  2. Whenever you’re home, eat whole foods: During the holiday season, people typically eat out much more frequently than any other time of year. So be sure to plan ahead for some nutritious, tasty meals that’ll recharge your health when you are going to eat at home! Set aside a couple hours each week during the holiday season to cook up a big batch of healthy chili, soups or casseroles and then freeze for a quick meal later.
  3. Whenever you’re out, eat slowly and to 80% full: Deprivation is definitely no fun. Instead of black-listing all the foods you look forward to this time of year in order to stave off weight gain, give yourself permission to eat what you want – as long as you do it slowly, mindfully and just shy of being totally full. This will allow you to naturally control your portion sizes and calorie intake while still being able to taste your favorite indulgences.
  4. Hydrate more than usual: Most of us know that we should be drinking at least two liters of water a day for proper hydration. But during the holiday season, the extra sugar and salt in those tasty holiday treats and beverages dehydrate us more than we’re used to. Consider buying a stainless steel insulated water bottle to carry around, which keeps ice water cold for hours.
  5. Snooze for seven hours: The numerous obligations of the holiday season can leave you exhausted and sleep-deprived. But sleep is crucial to good health. To make sure you get a solid seven hours each night, start winding down 60 minutes before you intend to go to bed, beginning with turning off all electronic screens. Then grab a pen and paper and write down any last-minute holiday worries or to-dos that pop into your mind. Finally, close your eyes and take deep, long breaths in and out to help you drift off to sleep.
  6. Do what is possible, not what you “should”: Each of us has a finite amount of time and energy that is spread extra-thin during the holiday season. It is simply not possible to get everything done that we think we should do. But letting go of the “shoulds” and thinking about what is actually possible to do – and is a true priority – given your unique set of life circumstances, will greatly reduce stress and help you be present and enjoy this special time of year.
  7. Call on others for help: We often think of the holiday season as a time to help others in need. But sometimes we don’t realize that we also need a little help ourselves! Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or family members if you’re feeling overwhelmed, even if it’s for a quick chat over coffee or an extra set of hands to help wrap gifts.
  8. Shop online when you can: Online shopping has truly alleviated much of the holiday shopping madness of yesteryear. If you enjoy window shopping and hitting the stores in person, great! If, however, that idea makes you want to scream, save yourself the headache and take advantage of the many discounts and free shipping that most retailers offer during the holidays.
  9. Just five minutes: It doesn’t sound like much, but five minutes is really all it takes to lower your blood pressure and calm your mind. Make sure you take this crucial five-minute break every day during the holiday season to stay positive and healthy. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, do some light stretches and remind yourself of everything you’re grateful for.
  10. Wash your hands often and thoroughly: While you can’t control who might sneeze or cough next to you in line at the store, you can ward off a number of winter germs by washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. For optimal health, experts recommend you soap up your hands in warm water about 10 times per day, for at least 30 seconds every time.

 

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