5 Ways to Stay (or Become) Healthier This Holiday Season
Many people make New Year’s Resolutions. The fresh start of the new year can create a great foundation to develop new habits or alter your lifestyle, but you don’t need to wait until January 1st to start implementing steps to reach your goals. We’ve gathered up 5 ways that you can stay healthy - or start your health journey - over this holiday season.
1. Enjoy the Food
Holiday meals are usually multiple courses with many, many dishes to choose from. Try taking just a few bites of each, so that you don’t over-stuff yourself by indulging in heaping portions of each delicious, oftentimes unhealthy, dish.
Another way to be conscious of your eating during the holiday season is to make sure that you wait at least 10 minutes after finishing your plate before heading back for a second helping. It can take a few minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you are full, so if you don’t allow a break in between plates, you could end up eating more than you should.
2. Stay Hydrated
This one might seem obvious, but that’s because it is so, so important! Your body needs water to perform essential day-to-day functions and it can be easy to get swept up in the chaos of the season without remembering to meet this basic need. Some people don’t notice the beginning stages of dehydration during the fall and winter months because the sun isn’t out or because they are not dripping in sweat, however during this time of the year the air can become drier, requiring you to increase your water intake.
Additional alcohol consumption can also create a need to drink more water than you are accustomed to. Have some wine at the holiday party and enjoy drinks with extended family; just make sure that you are adjusting your water intake accordingly so you may feel better the next day.
3. Enjoy the People
The holidays usually mean being in close quarters with people. Whether this is due to traveling and being crammed into a plane with a bunch of strangers, or if it is from piling into your parent’s living room to watch the parade with 20 of your closest cousins. Either way, being in close quarters with people can be an introduction to new germs.
When you are sick or not feeling your best, it is easier to slip back into old habits of not eating healthy or skipping out on exercise. Stay healthy by washing your hands frequently, carrying hand sanitizer when you’re on the go and staying up to date on your immunizations, as recommended by the CDC
4. Find Time to Exercise
A good way to start building good habits, or to continue with current ones, is to make sure you plan ahead. If you are traveling away from home to visit friends or family, try booking a hotel with a gym or get a guest pass for a gym near where you are staying. Keeping up with an exercise routine and being consistent is a huge factor in reaching your goals.
If you can’t make it to a gym, look up some at-home workout videos, do yoga in your hotel room or go for a run around the neighborhood. When your normal day-to-day routine is disrupted by the holidays, it is not so much the level or type of physical exercise that matters - it’s that you keep your body moving and active, so you don’t disrupt your progress.
Need some energy to get started exercising?
5. Practice self-care
The last tip I have for you is that during all of the excitement and jam-packed schedules that can come with the holidays, it is vital to take some time for yourself. Self-care is super important in keeping our stress levels low, which in turn can benefit our immune system and other bodily functions that can directly impact our health.
Instead of letting your mother-in-law stress you into a panic, try to slip away for 30 minutes here and there to continue reading your favorite book, take a bubble bath or go for a walk
outdoors to clear your head. Anything that you find time to do for yourself and that you find value in can greatly reduce situational stress and keep you on track to a healthy and happy new year!