7 Tips for Enjoying Healthy Holidays

Posted and filed under Health Awareness.

The holiday season is often seen an opportunity to indulge, so wellness typically isn’t the first thing that comes to mind this time of year. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying some sweet treats and rewarding yourself for a year of hard work, now is still a good time to prioritize your health. Doing so can help you ensure you feel great not only through this season but for many more to come. Here are 7 hopefully helpful tips for promoting your health this holiday season.

1 Avoid the Flu 

Flu season is upon us, but it’s never too late in the season to get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so. Even in healthy people, flu complications such as pneumonia and dehydration could pose serious health risks. The CDC advises everyone over the age of 6 months to get a flu shot, as long as they have no known allergies to the vaccine or eggs. While it isn’t 100% effective,it can significantly reduce your odds of catching the flu or make symptoms less severe even if you do catch it. Don’t forget to wash your hands and avoid coming into contact with people who are knowingly sick, too.

2 Go for Exams

Many people have met their deductibles by this time of year, so if you aren’t up-to-date on your health screenings, now is a good time to schedule appointments as needed. If you’re a woman over the age of 40, this includes mammograms, while men 50 and up should have prostrate screenings. Colonoscopies should be completed every ten years starting at the age of 50, and at 65, it’s a good idea to have bone density studies performed.

3 Practice Safe Food Prep

With so many recent foods recalled, it’s more important than ever to practice safe food prep. While there’s no way to be entirely sure your food is 100% free of pathogens, you can take a few steps at home to reduce your risk of exposure. Be sure to wash your hands and surfaces frequently, prepare meats separately to prevent cross-contamination,and always wash produce thoroughly.

4 Always Wear Seatbelts

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season makes it easy to overlook this important safety practice. Yet, you should pause and take thetime to put your seatbelt on every time you get in the car. From heavier volumes of traffic to icy conditions, winter can create some challenging driving circumstances, so it’s always important to make sure you’re safe as a passenger or driver.

5 Stay Warm

If you intend to spend some time outside, be sure to dress appropriately and keep your head, hands, and feet protected with warm clothing. Additionally, try to keep your nose warm – research shows the virus behind the common cold is more likely to take hold if your nose is chilly. Don’t forget to keep a spare blanket, gloves, and hat in your car to provide warmth in the event you should ever get stranded.

6 Beat Stress

The holidays are practically synonymous with stress, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some time out to practice healthy stress management. Yoga, meditation, and even a brisk walk around the block can be used to clear your head as needed. This time of year is also linked to seasonal depressive disorder (SAD),so if you find yourself losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, schedulea session with a counselor who can help.

7 Eat Well and Exercise

You can expect to find an abundance of delicious treats, rich foods, and alcoholic drinks at most holiday gatherings. While it’s perfectly fine to indulge this time of year, remember that moderation is key. Limit drinks to one to two at most, and sip water in between to stay hydrated. Offset less-healthy meals with vegetable-rich choices for the rest of the day. Never skip a meal to make up for an indulgence you’ll have later on, either. Instead, fill up on meals with lean protein and veggies, such as a vegetable omelet or grilled chicken salad, earlier in the day. That way, you’ll be less likely to overeat later.

Don’t forget to take some time out for whatever form of exercise you enjoy, too. It can even be built into family time. If you’re visiting with loved ones, for instance, consider taking a walk as a family or going to a group aerobics class nearby. Not only will you feel better physically, but exercising can also support a better mood, too.

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