8 Tips for Having a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season

By EmilyM

It’s hard to believe that November is here once again. With Halloween just barely behind us and autumn leaves scattered on the ground, we once again head toward the wonderful time of year marked by family gatherings, logs on the fire and beautifully decorated tables covered with every type of dish imaginable. Though it’s all too easy to lose track of your health goals during this busy and magical time, keeping yourself healthy is important to fully enjoy the season.

Here are 8 easy tips to keep your health in check.

1.) Keep your fitness routine the same: It’s fairly normal to get sidetracked by all the festivities, but when you increase your calorie intake and decrease your exercise, weight gain is commonly the unwanted side effect. There is no need to go workout crazy by any means, but simply remaining consistent with your normal routine is beneficial for both your mental and physical health.

2.) Drink plenty of water: Did you know that sometimes when you feel hungry, your body may actually be craving water? The signals our body is sending us get crossed on occasion and we end up mindlessly munching when what we really need is to get hydrated. Before sitting down to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, try drinking a glass of water. You will not only help yourself meet your daily water needs, but also eliminate that ravenous feeling that may lead you to overeat. Perhaps even more importantly, being in cold and dry wintry air is one of the fastest ways for your mucus membranes to dry out, leaving you open to picking up infections and viruses. Remember, by the time you feel thirst, dehydration is already beginning so try and incorporate plenty of water into your day.

3.) Save room for dessert: Though this may sound counterproductive, stopping before you are totally full or “saving room for dessert,” is actually the smartest way to eat. Have you ever noticed that when you eat until you feel you cannot take another bite you feel lethargic and even more full about 10 to 15 minutes after you stop eating? If you keep this simple thought in your mind, you will enjoy the food you eat more when you stop before hitting your limit. And you may even realize you are full enough before the dessert hits the table.

4.) Take time for yourself: With the buzz and excitement of family and friends during the holiday season, it’s a wonderful time but it can also be very taxing on sleeping, eating and normal socializing patterns. While the company of others is typically a very healthy part of life, too much can be rather exhausting. Set your boundaries and allocate certain times of relaxation for yourself. Whether it is an hour or two of reading or a relaxing bubble bath, setting aside “you time” will help you battle holiday burnout.

5.) Plan your alcohol intake ahead of time: Before going crazy with the eggnog, have a set plan about how much you will be drinking during holiday celebrations. It’s often easy to get carried away with the jolly mood of the season, but sugary sweet alcoholic drinks are packed with calories and too much alcohol can leave your body run down, dehydrated and in a post-holiday slump. Come up with a plan and stick to it and your body will thank you for it.

6.) Take your vitamins: During the holidays, you will most likely come in contact with more people than normal. From the airport to the train station, there are a million and one ways, it seems, to pick up the common cold and other winter illnesses. Make sure to bring hand sanitizer with you for public travel and also take vitamins to boost your immune system.

7.) Get plenty of rest: Everyone has their own sleep requirements to keep them running at their full physical and mental capacity. Most adults fall somewhere between 6 – 8 hours. Whatever your norm, try to stay as close to it as possible. The great thing about the holidays is that you have more time to spend with loved ones, so sleep in or go to bed early when you can.

8.) Head for the veggies: When food is everywhere in sight, having a bit here and there can really add up fast without you even noticing. Rather than going heavy with the carbs and sugars, try to load up on veggies instead. You will still satisfy the urge to snack with some healthy munchies.

Being healthy doesn’t mean taking the fun out of the holiday season. In fact, without all the guilt of weight gain or the burnout of no sleep and too much socializing, this may just be the best holiday season yet!