The holidays are full of cheer as family and friends celebrate together. It may be colder outside, but that’s part of the fun! When the snow starts to fall, you get to enjoy the warmth inside.
One of the best ways to celebrate during the holidays is by remaining healthy. The holidays can be times of overindulgence in food and alcohol, throwing off exercise schedules and becoming overly time-pressured and stressed. Here are six ways to stay healthy through the holidays.
Eat in Moderation
From your coworker’s pumpkin spice cheesecake to Aunt Maude’s fudge, the holidays are filled with rich treats, special desserts and festive meals. It’s likely your office is throwing a holiday party, or you’ve received invites to friend and family parties. In short, many occasions to indulge in overeating present themselves. But you don’t need to deny yourself to stay healthy during the holidays.
In fact, the average person gains one pound during the holidays — weight they never succeed in losing. At the end of 10 years, in other words, someone can be 10 pounds overweight just from holiday eating.
Instead, make every effort to eat in moderation. One half-slice of pumpkin spice cheesecake or one piece of fudge won’t derail your health. But make sure you limit the number of rich desserts you eat. When you’re not out and about, eat healthy — with plenty of veggies and low-calorie foods.
Drink in Moderation
Many holiday parties mean chances to indulge in wine and spirits as well. Whether it’s Christmas dinner or a grand holiday gala, vintages and cocktails will flow. Drinking to excess is no healthier than eating to excess, so stop at one drink.
If you’re driving, of course, choose not to drink at all. If you’re going out with friends, family or coworkers, one nondrinking person should always be the designated driver. Winter driving can be tricky, and it’s even more so if the driver has even a moderately high blood alcohol content.
Protect Against Flu and Colds
Winter is flu season, holiday or no holiday. Colds also tend to be more prevalent. It’s a good idea to protect against both.
For the flu, wash and dry your hands thoroughly and frequently. It prevents germs from spreading. Ask your doctor if you should get a flu shot for the year, starting in October.
For colds, bundle up when you go outside — and stay warm and dry! Yes, cold temperatures do not cause colds, viruses do. But the fact of the matter is, feeling cold and wet can lower your resistance when or if the virus comes calling.
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Winter months have weather conditions that other months don’t: namely, sleet, snow and ice. All of those, individually or together, cause dangerous driving and walking conditions.
Drive carefully. De-ice your windshield before starting out, carry flares in your trunk and obey the speed limit no matter what. You might be tempted to drive faster than weather conditions warrant to get to a party, pick up friends or buy last-minute gifts. Don’t! Nothing is worth causing an accident and harm to yourself or another person.
Follow pedestrian safety rules while walking, as well, whether it’s caroling in the neighborhood or walking in a mall parking lot. Wear bright clothing if you’re out and about after dark. Don’t dart in front of cars. Walk facing traffic and obey crosswalks. Yes, drivers are supposed to stop, but they might not see you in time if it’s dark and the visibility is low.
Practice Good Home Safety Rules
Every year, homes catch fire in winter because of seasonal-related events. Perhaps a log was left burning in a fireplace without a screen adequately in place. Someone plugged in holiday lights with a frayed cord. Candles are left burning and knocked over by pets or children. It sounds obvious, but it’s very important to be careful with fire around this season, both open flame and electrical.
Make sure fires and candles are thoroughly attended to when you’re awake and out before you go to bed. Check all cords of electrical appliances to see that they’re in good shape.
It’s also a good idea to check your carbon monoxide alarm. Batteries for these need to be replaced periodically. More heat can mean a greater chance of carbon monoxide poisoning, so make sure your alarm system is reliable and well-maintained.
Relax and Calm Down
Festive as the holidays are, they can also be stress-filled. You are worrying about whether Aunt Doris and Uncle Bob will be okay with gift cards. Your children’s pageant is causing you to stay up late making costumes. You need more time to shop for presents than you have. You need more time than you have, period.
It’s very important to make time to relax and de-stress during the holidays. Mark off time for yourself on the calendar. Take a hot bubble bath. Sip your favorite tea. Listen to music with no distractions. We mean it. Not even a smartphone. You need to recharge your batteries, and the only way to do it is to plug into calm and solitude for a while.
The holidays are great, but you need to make sure you stay healthy during them. These six tips will have you greeting the new year in peak health.
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