When it comes to the holidays, there’s a lot to look forward to from festive foods, fun traditions, and time spent with your family members. Because this can also be a chaotic time during the height of COVID-19 and flu season, you may also find yourself experiencing fear, anxiety, stress, and feeling more vulnerable than usual to sickness. Now more than ever, your holiday health is so important to pay attention to. Here you can find some general tips to make sure your holiday season is healthy, safe, and enjoyable!
Water makes up 60% of your body’s total weight and you need it daily to keep your body hydrated as well as operate bodily functions and provide nutrients throughout the body. It’s important to drink water, plain or infused, as much as you can throughout the day, especially during the winter months when your immune system is at its most vulnerable. Not to mention, drinking water daily makes you feel more energized, alert and prepared for the day. If you plan on consuming alcoholic beverages as you celebrate the holidays, try to limit your consumption by choosing water rather than a drink with your holiday meals or alternating with water between your drinks. Don’t neglect your body’s needs!
Boost Your Immune System
The holidays are one of the most critical times of the year to take care of your immune system. Eating a healthy diet and whole plant foods daily like fruits, vegetables, sea moss, nuts, greens and seeds is one of the best things you can do to boost your immune system in order to receive the nutrients your body needs, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A. If you’re someone who prefers natural forms of treatment for common colds and flu season instead of OTC medication, make a respiratory steam at home using sage, mint, eucalyptus, lime, orange peels, and cinnamon. The purpose of this steam is to clear your nasal passage and lungs by inhaling the steam through your nose to build your immune system stronger daily. If you’re a tea drinker, add ginger and honey to give your immune system that extra boost it needs to fight off bacteria and viruses and your body that extra burst of energy and don’t forget to take daily vitamins during this season as well.
Practice Hand Washing
Handshakes, kisses, and hugs are extremely easy ways to spread germs, especially during the holidays. Do your part by washing your hands often and keeping them away from your eyes, nose, and mouth and encourage your family and friends to do the same, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because this is such a critical time to take care of your health, it’s more important now than ever to wash your hands before eating, cooking, and after using the bathroom, entering someone’s home and touching multiple surfaces.
Make Time for Self-Care
As winter approaches and sunlight continues to set earlier in the day, you may find yourself feeling moody, irritable, low energy and sad at certain times throughout the day. Because weather changes can negatively affect mental health for a lot of people, catering to your needs is especially so important during the winter months and what a better time to start that than the holiday season! Take a few moments to yourself everyday just to breathe, relax, and clear your mind. Make a list of personal health goals you’d like to set for yourself to start on New Year’s Day. Plan an at home spa day for yourself, go for a walk, lose yourself in a good book, meditate, or even watch your favorite movie, as long as you’re doing something for yourself every day, even if it’s small. It’s easy for stress and the madness of the holidays to take a toll on your mental and emotional health, but it doesn’t have to if it’s managed well and you commit to taking care of yourself and staying healthy.
Did you know that stress lowers the immune system? Physical activity is one of the most beneficial ways to stay healthy. Not only is it good for your body and overall health, but it also improves your sleep, enhances your mood, and reduces depression, anxiety, and stress. Exercise can be as fun and creative as you want it to be. If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy running or working out in the gym, go for a group bike ride or walk around the neighborhood and sing Christmas carols. Aerobic exercises like biking and swimming are vital to staying healthy to support the immune system. A healthy, active body gets sick less often and this is a good time now more than ever to stay healthy during the holidays.
Maintain a Healthy Sleep Schedule
It’s normal to feel more tired than usual during the holidays as your body is no longer receiving the nutrients from the sun it’s used to due to the seasons changing and lack of sunshine. Because of the limited sunlight, your wellbeing is directly affected by this. The average human needs about eight hours of sleep every night. During the winter, the happy hormone serotonin is decreased while the sleep hormone melatonin is increased, due to lack of sunlight. Because melatonin is associated with depression, you’ll be more likely to feel sad during these months, which is why a good night’s sleep every night is so critical to good health during such a crucial time like the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re putting yourself at risk for sickness, exhaustion, fatigue, and overall low energy, increasing stress. Turn off your phone at night, drink a cup of milk, or journal about your day. Have a set bedtime routine every night that gives you some time to yourself to unwind, meditate and relax your mind. Since fighting off bacteria and viruses requires more energy during the winter, the body requires more sleep.
Eat in Moderation
As it goes without saying, good food is a major requirement when it comes to the holidays, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy food. Because every meal may not be the healthiest or have all the nutrients your body needs, it’s important to eat in moderation and provide better food choices for yourself in order not to overwork your body or make yourself sick. Especially during the holidays, eating healthy is important. Don’t overeat, take your time between each helping, and go easy on the desserts and festive treats. Go for a walk after Thanksgiving dinner or consider cooking healthier foods or making a new healthy treat to take to Christmas dinner. Substitute a couple of desert choices for fruit like strawberries, grapefruits, and oranges, which are all high in immune-boosting vitamin C.
For additional tips to stay healthy this winter, check out our other blog post about cold and flu season.