Tips & Tricks for a Healthier Holiday Season

Man relaxing in slippers by the fire, with his bright phone nearby

The holiday season is officially upon us, and with it comes a merry minefield of holiday mishaps. Whether you’re indulging in your favorite savory-sweets, spending time at annual celebrations, or preparing for everything in between, it’s understandable why your personal health and wellness may fall to the bottom of your priority list. Still, without paying regard to your well-being, you’re more likely to walk into the new year feeling exhausted, stressed, and perhaps a bit heavier. Needless to say, it’s important to be mindful of your health, no matter how busy your schedule may be. Lucky for you, we’ve made a holiday health list for you to check twice, to keep you looking and feeling your best at the start of 2020. So before you embark on your holiday journey, try following these tips and tricks:

Talk With Your Doctor

When you get overwhelmed, it’s easy to forget about the small stuff. Once in a while is not a big deal, but constantly overlooking certain appointments, daily vitamins, and needed prescriptions may eventually wreak havoc on your health. This is why you must still make an effort to take care of yourself and tend to your health needs, regardless of any extra obligations you may have during the holiday season. Fortunately, there are many simple ways for you to do this.

Start by visiting with your doctors at the beginning of the holiday season so you can address any issues you may have ahead of time. Even if you’re too busy to meet with them in person, there are other available resources you can consider. Various telemedicine services, for example, can allow you to talk with a healthcare provider and receive proper treatment all while remaining in the comfort of your own home. It doesn’t matter what sort of medication you’re searching for — whether it’s a birth control prescription, allergy medication, or mental health counseling — telehealth services can do it all!

Set Alarms

In order to get everything you’d like to get done throughout the day, you’ll need to improve your time management skills. One of the best ways to do this is by setting alarms. From waking up at the same time every day, to handling tasks more sufficiently, setting alarms is a guaranteed way to keep you moving throughout your day and ultimately, take control of your holiday schedule.

To do this correctly, you should block out specific periods of time to work on each of your tasks. Think about how much time you’ll need to productively reach your desired outcome. Say, for instance, you need to run errands, prep a holiday dish, and wrap at least five presents for your kids. How long do you think it’ll take you to do each of these things? Grocery shopping may take up to two hours. Prepping a holiday dish (depending on the type of dish and the number of people expected to eat it) may take another hour or so. Finally, wrapping five presents will probably take about thirty minutes or so. Using this information, set an alarm or a timer for each of these efforts and follow the alerts accordingly.

Schedule Time to Exercise

Between all the shopping, food prepping, and holiday festivities, it may seem like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done. Although it may be difficult at first, figuring out a time to schedule a quick workout every day is essential for maintaining your overall health throughout the holidays. Not only will it help to balance out the extra calories you’re likely consuming, but it can also help to alleviate the stress that generally builds up in the midst of all the chaos.

The exercise you perform doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous either. Even just taking the stairs instead of the elevator while you’re shopping or going to the office will work fine! Whatever form of exercise you do, make sure that it’s an activity you consider to be challenging, but also enjoyable. Otherwise, you’re more likely to view exercise as a “have-to,” rather than a “want-to,” which may make you less motivated once it comes time to actually do it.

Drink Responsibly

There’s nothing wrong with kicking back and having a few drinks with your loved ones every now and then. However, sometimes you may find yourself drinking too much during the holiday season. Besides the awful hangovers you’re bound to feel later on, heavy drinking may also lead to “holiday heart syndrome.” This is a term coined by doctors who’ve reported to see a spike in erratic heartbeats amongst people who overindulge in alcohol during the holidays. Because of this, people are prone to heart attacks and other serious heart-health related problems during this time.

To prevent this, drink at least one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you drink. Along with that, you can also dilute your drinks by adding ice cubes and mixers, like soda water, with your drink. Finally, give your body a chance to fully absorb the alcohol by waiting thirty minutes to two hours before drinking another beverage. Using these tricks, you’ll be able to drink at your leisure while simultaneously monitoring your alcohol intake.

Eat Slower

When you imagine the holiday season, what do you immediately think of? Some might say, family, while others might say presents. But for many people, they’ll think about their favorite holiday dishes. November and December are typically synonymous with over-eating due to the abundance of high-calorie foods and savory-sweets we’re normally exposed to. And while you may be getting ready to say your final farewell to your summer bod, you don’t necessarily have to. We’ve previously covered the importance of healthy eating habits (see here).

Even if you choose to treat yourself to some not-so-healthy holiday dishes, studies show that eating slower will allow you to embrace the taste, without it impacting your waist. When you overeat in a short amount of time, your brain is unable to process that your body is already full. By eating slower,  you’re allowing your body to feel fuller because it releases ghrelin, your “hunger hormone,” while you’re still eating. In turn, your appetite is reduced and you’ll begin to feel fuller more quickly.

 

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