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The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is usually a celebratory period defined by family time, tradition and delicious food. This year, COVID-19 will change how we normally celebrate the holidays, but that shouldn’t stop us from creating new traditions and finding creative ways to safely spend time with loved ones.
My personal favorite part about the holidays is the food. My family is Norweigan so every Christmas we celebrate with traditional Scandinavian dishes as well as typical American holiday dishes such as apple pie and eggnog.
Usually at the beginning of January, I find that I have to kickstart my health after about a month of indulging and little to no exercise. This year I am promising to value my commitment to my own health while celebrating the holidays, so when January 1st rolls around, I will have stayed on track of my health goals.
Here are some tips and tricks that I will be observing during the holidays to stay healthy. I encourage you to follow them with me!
During the holidays, it is easy to justify overeating by telling yourself that you only eat a dish once a year. Instead of thinking that, save the recipe so you can make your favorite holiday dishes whenever you want! This way you won’t feel pressured to eat more than an individual portion. It is also important to give in occasionally and let yourself indulge in something you love. Pick and choose what dish is worth indulging in. Instead of eating a slice of pumpkin and apple pie, allow yourself to choose one or the other, or eat a smaller portion of both. Another tip that will help you to avoid overindulging is to pick special days or meals during the holidays that you will allow yourself to eat “cheat” foods, while remaining committed to a balanced diet on other days.
During the holiday season, our immune systems face several challenges including changes to diet, holiday stress and exposure to sick family members or coworkers. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, immune health is now more important than ever. You can boost your immune system this holiday season by eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, getting lots of rest, staying hydrated and taking vitamin C supplements. Because stress weakens the immune system, self care is another important measure to maintain immune health.
As always, it is important to stay active during the holiday season. Instead of focusing holiday celebrations solely on meals, incorporate activities such as a family football or a soccer game into your festivities. It is also important to stay active individually. Commit to a schedule of workouts that allow you to spend time with yourself, away from any stress brought on by the holidays.
During the holiday season, drinks flow heavier than usual. Be mindful of your refills, as alcohol significantly heightens your daily sugar and caloric intake. Alcohol also has adverse side effects for sleep, so make sure you are resting enough. Lastly, alternate between alcoholic beverages with a glass of water or club soda to stay hydrated and prevent hangovers.
The holidays are supposed to be fun, not stressful! Ask for help when you need it, and delegate responsibilities to family members so no one is overly stressed.
During the holiday season, we tend to stay up later than usual eating, drinking and socializing. When we finally do fall asleep, we tend to get less restful sleep because of diet changes including alcohol consumption and stress. To make sure you have restful shut eye, create routines to help you unwind before bed—turn off electronics an hour before falling asleep, establish a “bedtime”, meditate for twenty minutes, or whatever helps you to fall asleep!
Lastly, it is important to remember to prioritize yourself during the holiday season. Set aside time for self care and mindfulness. These types of activities can include a yoga session, a walk, a bath, a nutritious meal, or whatever other activity you do to recharge.
Do you have other tips or tricks for staying healthy during the holidays? Let me know at email@example.com!