10 Holiday Health Tips

The holidays will be here before you know it. Are you ready to survive them? Check out these 10 helpful hints for staying healthy and safe now through the new year.

Wash Your Hands Regularly

You should be doing this regularly year-round— and we really hope you are— but it’s especially important to frequently wash your hands during the holiday season. Why? For one, you’re likely to come into contact with more people than you normally would as you attend a variety of holiday parties with friends, co-workers, family, acquaintances, etc. Also, everyone is more likely to be sick during the winter months. And finally, with all the big meals being prepared it is a good idea not to get your germs into those feasts. Wash those hands regularly with soap and running water.

Don’t Skip Meals

Thinking it’s OK to overindulge during Thanksgiving or other holiday dinners if you just skip out on breakfast or lunch here or there? Think again. For one thing, abandoning your daily eating routine can confuse your body and cause it to think it’s being starved, leading to it hold onto more calories and fat. For another, if you show up starving to the office holiday party, you’re likely to eat more than you should.

Watch What You Eat

It’s not just about how much you eat, but what you eat. It’s OK to indulge a little on occasion, but try to keep yourself in check by limiting consumption of overly salty or sweet foods and by adding fruits and vegetables in the mix daily.

Manage Your Stress

Traveling, shopping, cooking, eating, partying – the holidays can be exhausting and stressful. Try not to let yourself get too worked up over all the hustle and bustle, as doing so can take a real toll on your mental health and make your blood pressure rise. Take time to relax and be realistic about what you can accomplish. These are the holidays – they’re supposed to be fun!

Weigh Yourself Daily

Worried you’ve been eating too much/too poorly and exercising too little? Well, if you don’t track your weight, how will you really know for sure? You won’t, which means you won’t know whether or not you need to make adjustments. Because it’s important to keep your mental health in check too, don’t allow yourself to feel too bad if you gain a few pounds either — it's OK. However, it's important to hold yourself accountable and prevent yourself from letting three or four extra holiday pounds become a much bigger problem.

Get Enough Sleep

Do you end up staying up all night prepping Thanksgiving dinner, celebrating with family and friends all day and then pulling another all-nighter to get the best deals at the big box stores on Black Friday? If so, it’s time to cut back. It’s easy to get so caught up in all the holiday activities that you don’t get enough sleep, but doing so will cause you to be overtired, which can be dangerous— especially when driving around visiting relatives and running errands. Overall, a lack of sleep is bad for your mental and physical health, so be cognizant of the hours you may be losing.

Get Regular Checkups and Vaccinations

Planning to visit a lot of people this holiday season? Make sure your doctor is one of them. Regular wellness exams and screenings can identify small problems before they become big problems, increasing the odds that these issues may be cured or treated without major procedures or medications. Meanwhile, vaccinations prevent diseases and save lives – yours and others’... don’t skip them!

Don’t Drink Too Much

Drinking too much is extremely dangerous to both yourself and others, especially in the event that you are operating a vehicle, in which alcohol should be avoided at all costs. Even if you’re not going to get behind the wheel, overindulging in alcohol can still be a serious problem. Having more than a few drinks in one night and doing so more than a couple nights a week can dramatically increase the chances of doing serious damage to your heart and other organs. Watching your weight? Drinking can also be a huge deterrent when it comes to your waistline, as well.

Keep It on the Rocks

Speaking of weight gain from drinking; all those pre-made mixers, sodas and juices make alcohol that much more likely to lead to weight gain. If you want to indulge in an adult beverage this season, try adding some ice and/or soda water to your drinks to keep you sipping longer while consuming fewer calories, ultimately doing less damage to your organs and slowing your rate of intoxication.

Travel Safely

We’ve already warned against the dangers of drinking and driving, but avoiding this situation isn’t the only key to staying safe while traveling. Always wear your seat belt, obey the rules of the road, and adjust your driving as necessary to adhere to the weather conditions. If you’re traveling with young children, make sure they’re properly seated and strapped into an appropriate car seat.

Author
Dr. Kyle Scarborough Dr. Kyle Scarborough is a family medicine physician at Family Life Medical in Conroe, Texas. Dr. Scarborough offers care for the entire family, including wellness exams, diabetes care, hypertension treatment, geriatric care, well woman exam, school physicals, and pre-ops and hospital follow ups.

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