Well, it is almost here. That time of year where we often put aside our typical routines for the luxury of relaxation, the holiday meals (complete with cookies and cake) and the spiced eggnog. After all is said and done (and eaten), does January ever leave you feeling sluggish, like a beached whale who has had “too much party?” To minimize the amount of “recovery time” needed after the holidays, read on.Physical Health – You have heard it before, but hear it again. Rest, eat well and exercise. Make the extra effort to continue a regular exercise program during the holidays. But if getting to the gym when visiting the family; here are some simple tips to get the holiday exercise your body needs to stay healthy: When shopping for presents at the mall, try using steps instead of elevators. Park at the far end of a lot and walk the extra steps. Also, take brief, brisk walks around town if you cannot get to the gym.
Avoid the Sniffles – December and January are typically when flu and other illness hit. Most illnesses are passed on by direct contact with germs. The three best things to do to avoid colds and flues include: Do not share food or drinks with anyone, even if they seem healthy. Keep your hands away from your face; most illnesses are caused by dirty/germy hands near the mouth or eyes. Wash your hands before eating or touching your face.
Nutrition – The typical American gains 5 lbs. over the holiday season. This is the reason why so many New Year’s resolutions’ begin with – “lose weight.” To avoid the tighter waistband, following these reasonable nutrition suggestions during the holiday season: Rather than expecting to ignore high calorie foods like eggnog and cookies, choose small portions. Fill a plate with low fat choices, such as apples, cranberry dishes, baked squash, pumpkin, breads, and pastas. Plan social events that do not involve food, such as ice skating, renting a holiday movie, or singing carols.
Offer to bring a favorite lowcalorie dish to holiday parties, so you know there will be at least one “safe” item available. Arrive fashionably late and stand far away from buffets to not be tempted to nibble constantly. Instead, indulge in conversation.
Stress Management – during the holidays, you may have to fight traffic to pick your brother up at the airport, find time to buy grandma new slippers, wrap the presents, decorate the house, brace yourself for the family holiday bickering, and/or prepare a five course meal. Remember this is a holiday, relax! When holiday preparations become overwhelming, try doing this simple deep breathing exercise: Take a deep breath through your nose and hold for ten seconds.Then slowly exhale through your mouth for another ten seconds. Repeat ten times. Stress during the holidays can lead to overeating, overdrinking and increased susceptibility to illness, so take it easy.
Avoiding the Holiday Disaster – if you stumble across the rum eggnog and spiked punch, remember to drink responsibly. Eat something before going to an event with alcohol. The effects of alcohol are felt much more quickly on an empty stomach and can lead to overeating and overdrinking. Also, try to drink one glass of water before each glass of an alcoholic beverage. Following these quick tips, achieving holiday health can be your gift to yourself. Remember, have a happy, healthy holiday full of good cheer!