What’s the one thing everyone wants for the holidays? It’s not a toy, or a vacation, or even a ring (and we don’t mean on the phone). It’s to have a happy holiday - and nothing wrecks your holiday spirit faster than an emergency trip to the doctor.
In the spirit of having both a healthy and happy holiday, we thought we’d offer a few tips to stay in tip-top shape all the way through the season to your New Year resolution:
Avoid the Red Nose: Preventing Illness
Winter is more than just the holiday season, unfortunately. It’s also a time when many tend to fall sick. Add in the stress of travel and wrangling kids, and lots of friendly hugs and handshakes, and it’s a recipe for illness. Fortunately, it’s not too late to take action to avoid being sick this holiday season:
- Take the time to get flu shots for your family.
- Be extra-sure to wash your hands regularly - and ensure your kids do the same.
- It’s not just polite to cover your nose and mouth when you’re coughing or sneezing - it also helps protect others from getting sick.
Silent Night: Get Some R&R
It’s very tempting to stay up late or change up your family’s routine “just this once” around the holiday season. However, you need sleep and relaxation now more than ever! Stressing out over the holidays can affect your entire family’s enjoyment of the season - so avoid it with these tips:
- Others in your family can pick up on poorly-managed stress. Remember that caring for your emotional and mental health is vital! It doesn’t just help you, but possibly your whole family.
- Keep bedtimes and wake-up times the same, if possible. Sleep routines are important - and if you’re a parent, you’ll thank yourself for sticking to the schedule the first week back to school!
- Remember that life needs balance. Taking some “downtime” to relax between exciting activities can help you stay sane this holiday season.
Let It Snow: Addressing The Cold
Chilly weather doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all the time, but it does warrant some extra precautions. The weather outside may be frightful, but follow these tips and your health will stay delightful:
- Warm up and slow down. Make sure you’re limber and warmed up before heading out for a cold outdoor activity to help prevent injury. Remember that your body is working to keep you warm, so take it easy on any outdoor chores, like hanging lights or shoveling snow.
- Bundle up in layers when you head outdoors. This helps you regulate your temperature to stay cool or warm as your activity requires.
- Know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite. Babies and older people face a greater risk, as do those who have been using drugs or alcohol.
It’s a Marshmallow World: Holiday Treats
It’s not the holiday season without a cup of eggnog or two, right? It’s fine to celebrate with delicious food, just remember to stay balanced! Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you can’t eat a veggie or two. We promise: Other seasons also have cookies.
- If you love dessert, try sampling a few options, rather than taking full servings of anything.
- Survey the entire holiday spread before you take anything - and try to grab healthier options first; this will help you feel fuller, sooner.
- Offer to bring along a dish or two to a party! Many hosts appreciate the assistance, and you can be guaranteed of a healthy option or two to try.
Dream by the Fire: Light & Fire Safety
Twinkling lights, warm fires...the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without gorgeous lights. But holiday lighting comes with its own challenges. Avoid an emergency and stay safe with these tips:
- Use care when lighting and maintain fires. Remove decorations and other materials from the fireplace before starting your fire. Keep children well away from any fires - even gas fireplaces can cause serious injuries.
- Make sure you check any holiday lights for frayed wires before decorating.
- Before going to sleep, make sure all fires are out and all lights are unplugged.
12 Ways to Health
Wondering what else you can do to have a healthy holiday? The CDC put together this delightful song - “The 12 Ways to Health”. Give it a listen and internalize these tips. Then, go have yourself a healthy little Christmas (or Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa…).
These tips can make a big difference during the holidays - but they may not have covered everything that’s important to you if you’re dealing with a specialized diagnosis. If this is the case, and you have questions about managing your or your family’s health needs this season, please reach out to your Genesis Medical practice or physician - we’re here to make your holiday a healthier one!