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The holidays are approaching, which means the season of celebrating with family and friends is upon us. There will be parties and get-togethers, large meals, an abundance of holiday treats, and an ever growing list of additional time commitments and errands. Guaranteed there will be something that will “come up” to take time away from your normal schedule and routine. During the holiday season it’s far too easy to neglect your self-care and overall health.
With the neglect in your health and increase stress due to the overwhelming to do list and family gatherings your immune system will be weakened, which can lead to illness, wrecking your holiday cheer.
We’ve got five things you can do to help maintain your health this holiday season.
Get Plenty of Sleep. Our bodies need sleep no matter what time of year it is. Lack of sleep can result in your immune system suffering, which can lead to a host of health problems. We highly recommend sticking with your usual sleep pattern during the holidays, getting 8 to to 10 hours a night whenever possible. Sleep will not only help prevent a compromised immune system, but you’ll feel better overall. It will help maintain your mood, mental stamina, and stress levels so you can deal with all the family drama you know is lurking around the corner.
Stay Active. We know stay active during the holiday’s seasons can be a challenge but it’s important to exercise even during this busy time. And NO, walking around the mall, and lifting heavy Christmas packages does not count, even if you’re wearing yoga pants. Exercise will be your first defense in maintaining a healthy immune system, combating the dreaded holiday weight gain and keeping your stress levels in check. An easy way to keep exercise at the forefront of your holiday season is to schedule it in, the same way you would an appointment. This way you’re much more likely to plan other activities around your workout.
Limit Your Sugar Intake. Tis the season for ginger bread cookies, hot cocoa, peppermint bark and figgy pudding. The holidays are filled with some of our favorite seasonal desserts, but it’s important to stay mindful of all the tempting treats. Sugar is an immune system depressant that effects the white blood cell’s ability to destroy bacteria and viruses. Consuming too much sugar can weaken your body’s ability to fight off the cold and flu at a time when you definitely need to feel your best.
Maintain a Healthy Diet. We understand that the last thing you want to worry about during the holidays is if your grandma’s famous casserole is healthy or not. Holiday dishes tend to be more carbohydrate laden, and the extra dose of carbs will not only cause weight gain, it will increase inflammation throughout your body. Be mindful during the holidays that you’re still eating a balanced diet, including lots of dark leafy greens and colorful vegetables to boost your vitamins and anti-oxidants throughout the month and watching your portion sizes as you enjoy the holiday dishes. It’s important to keep a healthy diet as much as possible especially if you’re just at home watching re-runs of Christmas movies, or if you are at a holiday party.
Wash Your Hands Frequently. With all the celebrations to enjoy and gifts to buy, the holiday season is a time when people tend to make commitments even when they are not feeling well. There’s an increase risk of exposure to bacteria and viruses, wherever you go. People who are coughing and sneezing will trek through the mall for hours to find the perfect Christmas presents all the while spreading germs. Washing your hands frequently is a key step to limiting your own exposure to these germs and letting illness destroy your holiday cheer. Remember that doors, public transportation, airports, shopping carts and hand rails are breeding grounds for germs.