Staying Healthy Through The Holidays
The holiday stretch can be a hard time to take care of yourself amongst the parties, family gatherings, and what seems to be an endless amount of cooking. This time of year, though, with limited daylight hours and schedules more packed than usual, it’s especially important to take steps that help us stay healthy.
Even when there always seems to be 101 things to do, it’s important to remember that you need sleep for so many reasons. Sleep is when your body recovers from the day before, and getting the recommended amount of sleep can help you focus and keep your mood stable throughout the day. Try to get 7-8 hours per night, and take breaks & naps when you can.
- Drink water
Keep your fluid intake (of the non-alcoholic variety) up. Drinking 6-8 cups of water per day will help keep your hunger signals in check, while making sure your skin, organs, and muscles all perform as they should. The winter air in Vermont is especially dry, so even if you’re not always thirsty, aim for those 64 ounces!
- Eat regularly
Holiday tables are decorated to the nines with pastries, cakes, cookies, buttery starches, decadent sauces, and all sorts of sugary and heavy treats. Beat the impulsive cravings driven by intense hunger by eating regularly and keeping on top of those hunger swings.
- Have healthy snacks on hand
Keeping snacks around when there’s already so much other food out may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s important for a number of reasons. Keeping your blood sugar level with healthy protein-rich foods will help keep your mood even and keep you from intense cravings for the sugary sweet stuff.
- Go for walks
Be sure to bring your winter hat and gloves in the colder weather, but getting outside for some fresh air does a world of good for your body. Walking, even for 15 minutes a day, is shown to reduce stress and boost your immune system, all while being gentle on your joints. When you go for a walk within 15 minutes of a meal, your body is better able to regulate blood sugar as you digest AND lowers your triglyceride levels and blood pressure.
- Say no
There can be an endless stream of things to do, fun and otherwise, during the hectic holiday months. Traveling, parties, celebrations, and all kinds of events may seem tempting at first, but it’s just as important to say no sometimes. Don’t feel pressure to say “yes” to every invite that comes your way. It’s a one-way ticket to burning out and not enjoying the time you could be. Give yourself permission to say no so you can take the time you need to relax and recover throughout the month.
Even amongst the chaos, remember that the holidays are about spending time with loved ones, reflecting on the year prior, and celebrating. Take time to laugh, smile, and enjoy the company of others…you’ll be happier AND healthier if you do.