Healthy holidays! How to protect your well-being while you celebrate


by Baylor Scott & White Health

Nov 29, 2023

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration and spending quality time with loved ones. However, it can also be a time when your health takes a backseat due to the hustle and bustle of festivities. Your normal meal prepping routine may fall by the wayside or hitting your 10 thousand steps each day may be more challenging.

It's okay to change your healthy schedule slightly at this time of year, so don’t be too hard on yourself. However, it is important to prioritize your well-being during to ensure you can fully enjoy the season. Here are five tips on how you can stay healthy during the holidays.

1. Stay well this winter

One of the most common health concerns during the winter holidays is falling victim to colds and flu. You’re more likely to encounter viruses and bacteria when the stores, restaurants and airports are packed with people. Plus, traveling can be tiring, which makes you more likely to feel unwell.

To minimize your chances of getting sick, it's crucial to practice good hygiene. Remember to wash your hands frequently, especially before meals and after being in crowded places. Using hand sanitizers can also be a convenient option when soap and water are not readily available.

You should also boost your immune system by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated can go a long way toward keeping your immune system strong. And don't forget to get your flu shot, as it provides an added layer of protection against the seasonal influenza virus.

2. Find time for self-care

When you’re caught up in the flurry of the holidays, it's easy to neglect self-care. However, taking care of yourself is essential for your overall well-being. Make it a priority to set aside some time each day for self-care activities, like reading, taking a warm bath or engaging in a hobby—anything that helps you relax and rejuvenate. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it's necessary to recharge your batteries and be there for others.

3. Get enough sleep

Sleep is often overlooked during the holiday season. Maybe you stayed a little too late at the party or sat up past your usual bedtime addressing greeting cards. Missing an hour or two every so often may not seem like a problem, but consistent, quality sleep plays a vital role in maintaining good health. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Establish a consistent sleep schedule, even during weekends and holidays, to ensure your body gets the rest it needs.

Also avoid doing your holiday shopping on your phone before bedtime. The blue light emitted from your phone and other electronic devices can interfere with your sleep patterns. Creating a peaceful sleep environment, with a cool, dark room, can also contribute to a better night's sleep.

4. Eat healthy meals

The buffet at your office gathering looks incredibly tempting with its cookies and cakes, and you just had to have seconds at your family’s holiday lunch. This season is notorious for indulgent feasts and treats. While it's perfectly fine to enjoy the occasional holiday treat, it's important to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.

Aim to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains in your meals. Fill your plate with colorful and nutrient-rich foods. Moderation is key when it comes to holiday treats, so savor your favorites without overindulging.

And don't forget to stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day. Many of us remember to drink lots of water during the warm summer months, but it's important in the wintertime, too.

5. Deal with stress

The holiday season brings a mix of emotions and stressors. It's crucial to find healthy ways to manage stress to protect your mental and physical well-being. Engaging in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga can help you de-stress. Prioritize your tasks and delegate when possible to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Remember to communicate your boundaries and say no when necessary. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who can provide a listening ear or a helping hand when needed.

Staying healthy during the holidays is about finding balance and prioritizing your well-being. By following these tips, you can navigate the holiday season with ease, ensuring you have the energy and vitality to fully enjoy this special time of year. Take care of yourself and have a happy, healthy holiday season!

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