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Stay Healthy Over the Holidays

Some ideas and suggestions to help you remain healthy during the holiday season.

No one wants to get sick or become injured over the holidays because the holidays are such a wonderful time of the year. There are parties to enjoy, seasonal musicals, gift exchanges, delicious foods, and fun get-togethers. Here are some ideas to help you stay physically strong and mentally sharp so that you don’t miss out on a single wonderful memory or experience during this year’s holiday season.

Don’t rush. Stores are often crowded. Lines are longer. Traffic is crazier. The wait at the post office is insane. Although there is the temptation to rush frantically along with everyone else, make a deliberate effort to slow down. Going at a constant rapid pace isn’t healthy for your heart. When you become anxious and try to accomplish too many things at once, your body enters fight-or-flight survival mode. This causes too much stress on your mind and body. Try to slow down. Savor the festive sights and sounds.

Remember the purpose behind the holiday. Spend time with friends and loved ones. Connect with people you remember and care about, even if you haven’t seen them in a couple years. Bring a bit of joy to someone’s life. Support a local holiday charity, or perhaps sign up to buy new sneakers for some child or teenager who could really use a new pair of shoes. Doing so will actually improve your mindset and your health.

Wash your hands more than usual. Use warm, soapy water. Invest in a small scrub brush / nail brush and use it to wash beneath your nails, around your rings, and the webbing between your fingers. Clean your hands after you shake someone’s hand, touch elevator buttons, use a hand-rail for stairs, touch a door handle, or use a restaurant menu.

Sign documents with your own pen. Keep a nice pen with you at all times; one that writes fluidly and doesn’t smudge. Use this pen to sign documents with. Try not to share pens with the entire office, or with the public. Occasionally clean your pen with a gentle disinfectant. This helps you to keep your hands free from germs.

Don’t post every special moment on Instagram or Facebook. Some special moments aren’t meant to be shared. They are just for you and your closest loved ones to remember and cherish. Post them in your heart, not on social media. Bringing the special event to mind later will bring joy to your heart and balance to your life.

Cut back on the use of electronics. Connect with friends in person and make beautiful memories. “Lose” your phone for a bit while you go for a walk or decorate for the holidays. Enjoy some fresh air. Give your shoulders and neck a break from texting and using your tablet. Stop looking at a display screen and turn the actual pages of a classic novel while you are curled up inside a warm blanket.

Avoid commercialism as much as possible. Instead of fighting crowds of frantic shoppers, enjoy holiday crafts and DIY projects. Try making some homemade soap, candles, or cookies. Make hand-crafted jewelry or try building and painting a piece of wood furniture. The reason behind a DIY project isn’t actually to save money, but rather to create a beautiful, high quality item that will last.

It’s ok to enjoy holiday cookies, desserts, and snacks, but make sure that your body gets enough nutrition. Eat some fruits and vegetables every single day, no matter how busy you get. Sample a new blend of coffee or tea and add honey from a local apiary. Buy real maple syrup made from the sap of an actual maple tree. (It may taste different at first but only because your taste buds are not accustomed to the real thing.) Cook with organic flour and real butter. Eat when you’re hungry but try not to over-eat.

Pack light when you travel. Bring clothing that you can mix and match. Don’t over-fill luggage or bring heavy suitcases. If possible, wash laundry while at your destination rather than bringing too many changes of clothes. The last thing you need over the holidays is a strained muscle from lifting luggage.

Sit at the table when you wrap gifts. Don’t hurt your back by sitting for hours on the floor wrapping presents. Stream some holiday classics while wrapping gifts at the table. Try not to hunch your shoulders while gift-wrapping. Use a supportive chair with the package you are wrapping directly in front of you. Stay limber by getting up and stretching your legs every now and then. Keep tape, scissors, and ribbons in accessible locations to avoid over-reaching to get them. Purchase some gift bags for those irregular-shaped gifts that are difficult to wrap in paper.

Get enough rest. Unless you’re attending a holiday party, make preparations to go to bed at a reasonable hour. It helps that it gets dark earlier during this time of year, because the darkness allows your mind and body to prepare for relaxation and sleep. Receiving enough sleep enables your body to feel energized the next morning. Your body also needs to get enough sleep in order to maintain a healthy immune system.

Dress appropriately for the weather. Wear layers of clothing that can be added to or removed depending on the temperature. Have a spare blanket and jacket in the car in case the weather turns cold unexpectedly. Keep your hand and toes warm and dry. Have a hat and gloves available if it turns chilly.

Laugh and smile. Laughter is important for overall health. Especially learn to laugh at yourself. When unexpected things happen (and they will), sometimes the response is a good chuckle instead of fretting about the situation. Focusing on good things gives much fewer gray hairs than dwelling on negativity. Smile often and share your smile with others.

Before you know it, the holiday festivities will be over. Take steps to remain healthy and enjoy every beautiful moment of the holiday season.

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