Just because it's the holiday season doesn't mean that winter's little ills will take a break! Here are a few tips to avoid them and have a healthy holiday with your friends and family.
Let's face it, food is a major theme of the holidays. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, food excesses can lead to digestive troubles including indigestion and acid reflux. The best way to prevent these digestive issues it to moderate your food intake, and the best way to do that is, to know when you've had enough. Try to eat slowly, as the brain takes about 20 minutes to let you know you're full. Also, go easy on the appetizers, meats, desserts, cream sauces, etc. to leave room for healthier choices. Fill half you plate with veggies and drink plenty of water, which will help with digestion. Finally, don't force yourself to eat everything, but choose what you enjoy most.
Don't neglect your physical activities during the holidays. It's even more important to stay active during this period. Besides being good for your overall health, exercise can help you get rid of stress and forget about your worries for awhile. It's even recommended to increase your level of physical activity during this time of festivities. For example, if you already run three times a week, run a fourth time. Not only will you feel better, you'll also burn more calories. But don't ruin all your efforts by using exercise as an excuse to eat more.
Limit Your Consumption of Alcohol
No doubt there are numerous occasions to raise a glass with family and friends during the holidays. However, drinking to excess, even if it's only once in awhile, can cause serious damage. The adverse effects of alcohol can affect the entire body-not just cause a hangover!
Handshakes, kisses and hugs are great ways to spread infections like colds, flues, and gastroenteritis. Prevent them by washing your hands often and keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Also, remind people who are coughing and sneezing to cover their mouths with their elbows. A single cough or sneeze can project thousands of saliva drops into the air. Always keep a small bottle of antibacterial gel on hand-even better, leave a big bottle out for everyone to use. Try to keep your distance from people who present cold or other infectious symptoms. It may sound simple enough, but it's not always easy to do at gatherings and parties. If you are feeling sick, stay in bed. It's better to miss a party than to infect all your relatives.
Watch out for Food Poisoning
The risk of food poisoning increases during the holidays. Cross contamination of meat, leaving buffets out to long, under cooking meat can all lead to food poisoning. To reduce the risks, it's important to follow basic rules for safely preparing, manipulating, cooking and storing food: wash your hands often and thoroughly clean all cooking utensils and work surfaces; avoid cross contamination, cook foods at recommended temperatures and refrigerate all leftovers right after a meal.
Take Time for Yourself
If you're feeling tired, you risk exhaustion and increasing your level of stress. You might not have the time to take a spa day during the holiday madness, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take a little time for yourself. Between shopping, cooking and hosting, make sure you take a moment each day to just relax and clear your mind. A few moments are all you need to unwind and recharge. Take an evening walk, listen to relaxing music, rent the movie you've been wanting to see, lose yourself in a good book, treat yourself to a massage, etc. There are many ways to take some time out and pamper yourself.
And on that relaxing note, happy holidays!