When the holidays roll around, there’s a tangible excitement in the air. For most people it starts around Thanksgiving and continues to build momentum. The party isn’t really over until the first week of January. That’s when the New Year’s resolutions kick in. People vow to “undo” all of the unhealthy habits they’ve indulged in during the festive season—whether it’s overeating, drinking too much alcohol, or too much lethargy and not enough activity.
Most people go through this routine plenty of times before they finally start considering ways to break free of it. The push and pull of holiday excess and New Year’s resolutions finally gets us asking: How can I enjoy the most festive time of the year in a healthier way? The answer may not be the same for everyone, but there are a few general tips that most urgent care centers and medical professionals agree on.
1. Avoid illness
This usually isn’t what people think about in terms of staying healthy for the holidays, but seasonal illness can hit hard this time of year—especially cold and flu. Make sure you’ve received the proper immunizations as recommended by your doctor, and pay extra attention to hygiene throughout the season. This will help you steer clear of unexpected holiday illnesses.
2. Look, don’t touch
Holidays sweets are a wonderful tradition, and it’s hard to tell your loved ones—let alone yourself—to keep your hands off. But knowing where to draw the line can make a big difference. Most holiday sweets are packed with sugar and calories, and take significant effort to burn off. By limiting your sugar and fat intake at every event, you’ll avoid packing in those extra calories that translate to weight gain, fatigue, and feeling of lethargy.
3. Keep your exercise routine regular
For many people, the holidays are a hectic time of family gatherings, pageants, services and company dinners. Air travel is often involved as well. Commitments to regular exercise often suffer this time of year as the calendar fills up. But making a commitment to getting those workouts done, even if you’re on the road, can make a huge difference. You’ll also have more endorphins in your system, which makes for good “holiday cheer.”
4. Limit alcohol intake
The holidays are also a time when alcoholic beverages tend to flow. However, too much alcohol can wreak havoc on health, from high blood pressure to irregular breathing. There’s also the question of calories, which most alcoholic beverages are full of. According to the Mayo Clinic, a safe amount of alcohol during the holidays (or anytime) is generally one drink per day for women (and men over 65), and two drinks per day for men under 65. Ask your doctor or medical professional what they think about healthy levels of alcohol intake.
5. Take a moment to relax
Taking a healthy moment to yourself to simply relax and let go of stress is not only a healthy thing to do this holiday season—it will also help you to enjoy your friends and family more. Breathing and stretching exercises are good ways to reduce stress levels throughout the body.
Have a healthy holidays
Try switching up your holiday routine with an extra emphasis on health. You just might find that the season becomes even more festive when you take good care of yourself all the way through New Year celebrations. You’ll also get a head start on those resolutions!