The holidays tend to be a time of joy, abundance, and long-awaited social gatherings. However, this can come at the cost of over-indulgence, stress, and unhealthy lifestyle choices. The key to this is balance. Here are a few tips to help you and your families stay healthy this holiday season.
- Plan ahead. Trying to coordinate travel plans, often with multiple different family members, can be quite stressful. Try to do this well in advance of your planned get-togethers. Having one (or two) “trip coordinators” can help minimize confusion between groups. Pick someone who wants the position, has the time to plan, and will be respectful of people’s requests. And when all is said and done, don’t forget to thank that person for helping to make everything a success!
- Be aware of your food and drink intake. The key here, again, is balance. If breakfast is very heavy, then make sure lunch and dinner aren’t. If dinner is going to be a grand affair, then make sure that lunch (and snacks) are on the lighter side. Also, don’t forget the power of portion control. Portion control allows you to have a little of all that delicious food, but not a lot of it. Eat until satisfied, not full.
- Don’t forget your exercise. If on vacation or away from home, it is often easy to skip physical activity (even if you’re used to doing it at home). This is the “vacation mentality.” Don’t fall for it. Stay active and you will feel better. Also, physical activity will help to offset some of those extra calories you take in if you slip up on tip #2!
- Get your rest. Sleep is absolutely essential for not only feeling good, but for your body to function as it should. Your stress level will decrease and your energy level will increase if you choose to get adequate rest during the holidays. How much? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being.
- Be mindful. Simply put, enjoy the moment. When you are gathered with friends and family, try to forget the stress of work and the daily grind. Forget the stress of planning the vacation (if you didn't follow tip #1). Forget having to “get back to reality” at the end of the trip. Live in the moment, take a look around, and enjoy the people gathered with you. After all, that is what the holidays are all about.
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