How to Stay Healthy this Holiday Season

Christmas is five days away. My priority list consists of these things: get last minute shopping done, wrap presents, clean the house, make grocery list, go grocery shopping, prepare appetizers, bake a pie. Notice, “stay healthy this holiday season,” is no where to be found on that list. I’m sure you are busier than ever and hopefully preparing to spend time with family and friends. With the holidays comes shopping, parties, cooking, baking and entertaining, which generally leads to more food, more alcohol, less exercise and more stress. Making it a priority to stay healthy these next few weeks will help to eliminate some of the negative consequences the holiday season can have on your health. (I’m adding this to my list right now).

Let’s tackle eating and drinking too much first. I will admit it; I lack self control when it comes to food. I love food. Luckily, I also love to cook so I always try to be conscious of the ingredients I use. When you are at a holiday party or a family member’s home for Christmas dinner, remember these little tips to help you resist the urge to eat until you can’t breathe:

  • Have a little healthy snack before you go so you’re not starving when you arrive.
  • Put on your plate only things you know you are going to thoroughly enjoy.
  • Portion control is key! (I don’t know about you but portion control does not come easy to me. It is something we should all do our best to work towards.)

And when it comes to beverages, you have to be really careful with all of those hidden calories. Over-indulging in alcohol can come with many consequences so make smart decisions and stick to one (no more than two) drinks for the evening.

Ok, on to exercise. I can completely relate to you if you come up with every excuse in the book to not exercise. I used to be there (and usually still am from Thursday through Sunday). One of the most important things when it comes to staying active is to remember you don’t have to go to the gym every day for an hour. Find an activity that you enjoy and gets you moving; take your dog for a walk (brrr), sign up for that yoga class you’ve wanted to try, go to the gym a few times a week for 30-40 minutes. Don’t let the busyness of the season and the cold temperatures stop you from getting in a good workout a few times a week. If you know you’re going to be indulging a little more than usual, sneak in an extra 10 minutes here and there of exercise and enjoy those appetizers and glass of champagne. Mmm!

Last but certainly not least, dealing with holiday stress. With all of the demands of the holidays, we often forget to take a deep breath and truly remember the reason for the season. Use these tips from the Mayo Clinic to help you prevent or relieve that stress you’re probably feeling right about now:

  • Be realistic: Don’t expect perfection. Families grow and change, which means every year is going to be different. Sometimes it is difficult to be flexible and accept that change, but try your best to find new ways to celebrate together.
  • Set aside differences: Let Christmas be the time that you put aside any conflicts you may have with a certain family member. Choose a more appropriate time to discuss your differences. If you’re feeling stressed by all of the holiday commotion, chances are they feel it as well.
  • Stick to a budget: Money can be the biggest stressor of all. Set a budget for food, drinks and gifts and stick to it. When Christmas is all over, you will be so glad you did.
  • Take a deep breath: It is so important to take time for yourself, even if it is 15 minutes. Find a quiet place where you can be alone and clear your mind, take deep breaths and re-energize.

The holidays are a busy time; remember to put yourself first during some point of your day, make staying healthy a priority and most importantly, enjoy your time with family and friends. Merry Christmas from all of us at Divine Home Care!