Staying Healthy at Christmastime

While it’s the most wonderful time of the year, winter and the holidays don’t always have the best influence on your health. It’s certainly disappointing to wake up Christmas morning with a throat that’s on fire, or feeling guilty about that one pie slice too many. I have good news for you! There are small, easy tasks you can do everyday to help keep you healthy during the holidays and even throughout other seasons of the year.

First and foremost, stay hydrated!

As I’m sure you know, water is so important for our health, but for some reason, it is also something many people have a hard time remembering to drink. So I am here now to remind you (and myself) to drink more water, especially during the season of sickness.

Honestly, I’m not a fan of eggnog, but I LOVE apple cider. These kinds of things, while technically being beverages that can have a kind of hydrating effect, are not as nourishing as water, so before you refill that glass with whichever holiday drink strikes your fancy, try to drink one or two full glasses of water first.

A second and important way to stay healthy during the holidays is to eat with mindfulness.

That is, enjoy the fun foods you are eating while also being aware of creating a healthy balance. Dig into the sweet potato casserole your aunt makes every year, but also consider additional healthier--but still delicious!--options such as hummus with carrots or cucumbers instead of crackers and dip. Also, give yourself a few minutes before going back for seconds to help you determine your level of satiation more fully (pun intended). You may realize that you aren’t as hungry as you thought you were, and go back for a less amount of food as opposed to the previously desired amount. Your body will thank you!

Since the holidays are associated with an increased amount of less-than-healthy foods consumed, it might be a good idea for you to revamp your exercise regimen and further help yourself burn the extra energy you are consuming over the next couple of weeks and through all of the leftovers (let’s face it, who hasn’t had leftover pie for breakfast at some point in their lives?). This could mean an extra power-walk, a daily run, or more sessions at the gym. Do this according to your own personal health needs and what your doctor recommends.

Winter is also infamous for being the time

of year for illness.

Whether it’s the common cold, influenza, or an icky stomach virus. While you can never really be guaranteed a sick-free season, simple steps like carrying hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes in your car or purse, washing your hands, and cleaning frequently used objects like doorknobs, your computer keyboard, and the car’s steering wheel can increase your chances of wellness.

You’d be surprised how many things we touch during the day that rarely, if ever, get cleaned on a regular basis. This can also go for travel, since popular transportation methods like planes have so many surfaces that probably don’t get cleaned as much or as well as they should be.

December is notorious for being an intense month for everyone.

With finals and all of the stressful things that come with that are here for many of you. With that in mind, one last important thing to consider during this particularly eventful time of year is the reality of the necessity of rest and self-care.

Take time to relax and rejuvenate your energy, and thereby your health, by doing activities that are calming or enjoyable for you, whether they may be walks, drawing, listening to music, watching your favorite TV series, or reading a novel. Don’t reduce the priority of taking care of yourself by putting those needs on the back burner.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but the completion of just a few of these things has the potential to carry beneficial effects for your well-being this winter. What ways do you like to take care of your health during the holidays?

Written by Alexandria Garcia