Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Family walking outside during the holiday season

The holiday season is a busy time of year. Check out our tips for how to keep yourself healthy so you can enjoy this special time with your loved ones.

The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's can be joyous, but they can also be stressful. Eating too much, not exercising enough, and straying from your usual routine can take its toll. Here are some tips for staying healthy during the holidays, so that you can better enjoy the time with friends and family:

  • Get your vaccinations. The holidays typically kick off flu and cold season, as people from different households gather indoors. It’s important to get your flu and COVID vaccinations ahead of time so you’ll be protected. It takes about two weeks after getting a shot for your immune system to respond – be sure to plan ahead.
  • Pick your favorites. It’s tempting to sample all the wonderful homemade foods at holiday gatherings, but that leads to a heaping plate and overeating. Pick just a few favorites instead to savor.
  • Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is important anytime, but particularly during the holidays when there may be alcoholic drinks around. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases urine output and dries you out. Drinking plenty of water can counter that effect. You can make staying hydrated more tasty and fun by using natural flavorings such as apples, cinnamon, mint, and berries.
  • Eat healthy meals. We all enjoy a few indulgent meals during the holidays. To balance those out, try to make your other meals healthy. For example, before a festive dinner, have a salad for lunch. You can also have a healthy breakfast the next morning, such as oatmeal or avocado toast.
  • Take a walk after dinner. Instead of flopping down on the couch, get outside and take a walk after a holiday dinner. Not only is it better for digestion, the physical activity is great for coping with stress.
  • Keep exercising. With all the extra activities during the holidays, it’s easy to let your normal workout slide. It’s important to keep exercising during this time, as it helps both your physical and mental health. If you’re pressed for time, try exercising in short bursts throughout the day.
  • Maintain your sleep schedule. Cramming a lot of events into a few weeks can interrupt your sleep pattern, which in turn leads to fatigue and poor eating habits. Going to bed and waking up at your normal times helps keep your body and mind healthy during this busy time of year.
  • Make time for yourself. We want to spend as much time with family and friends as possible at this time of year, but you should also block out some “me time” as well. Doing some relaxing activities, such as reading or taking a walk in the woods, can help keep your emotional health in balance.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and that these tips will help you stay happy and healthy during this special time of year.