Unwrapping Tips for a Sneeze-Free Holiday SeasonDecember 2023
Smiles for SeasonDecember 2023
by Christine Fisher
Some might say the holidays are the best of times and the worst of times. The merriment can be a nice break from the usual routine, but too much indulgence could start a downward spiral mentally and physically.
From eating more sugary treats to skipping your regular exercise routine, the holidays can overtake good intentions, leaving you feeling less than your best.
“Between the get-togethers, late nights and rich foods, it can all add up to indigestion, bloating, insomnia and stress,” explains Rebecca Braud, MD, family medicine physician of Braud/Davies Family Medicine and member of the West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital medical staff. “It’s no wonder we might feel out of sorts.”
To have a merry Christmas, now is a great time to regain control of the holiday season. “Right now is always the right time to make healthy choices; what you choose today helps your tomorrow,” Dr. Braud says.
Here are four tips to help reset your health and set yourself up for a healthy and happy holiday season.
Whether you like a rigid schedule down to the exact time of day, or feel best with a more flexible time frame, aim to have a daily routine. Meal planning and prepping, waking up and going to bed at generally the same time each day, and including movement in your day will all help you feel more in control of your life and schedule.
Choose the organizational style that suits you, whether it’s committing to certain times of the day for healthy activities, or simply deciding you’ll meal plan on Thursday evenings and go for a walk every morning. By blocking out chunks of time, you can accomplish your goals.
“These habits can help improve your energy and improve your outlook,” Dr. Braud says. “The best routine for wellness is the one you will stick to.”
From school activities with the kids to office gatherings, community events and family celebrations, there are countless holiday opportunities to enjoy — but, when added all together, it might get overwhelming for some.
If it begins to feel as though you’re scattered and have too many commitments, it’s time to regroup. Put all the upcoming activities you’re considering attending on a calendar and then decide which ones are priority and allow yourself to let the other ones go. “Your peace of mind and health are worth the adjustments,” Dr. Braud says.
As you’re making your plans, include one or two activities during the holiday season that you’ll look forward to. It could be a drive to see holiday lights, an evening to read a good book, watching a favorite movie, or a fun gathering with friends.
Self-care includes healthy hygiene. As you’re inevitably around more people and going to more places, be sure you wash your hands frequently. Germs are everywhere, but soap and water are the best defenses against them.
Get plenty of sleep.
Once you establish a bedtime routine, you’ll find that your body will likely respond positively to it. Sleep is essential to your overall health; it’s a time for your body to repair itself and for your immune system to produce proteins that combat infection and inflammation.
Incorporate physical movement daily.
Whether it’s a vigorous workout, a low-key walk and stretching, or a mixture of these throughout the week, doing some kind of movement each day is beneficial. “It’s a great way to combat the effects if you over-indulged on sweets or rich foods the day before,” Dr. Braud says.
Regular exercise can improve mental clarity, boost your energy level, help maintain a healthy weight, increase mobility, reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke, and keep your bones, joints and muscles healthy.
“By incorporating these wellness tips now, you’ll likely experience a happier holiday season,” Dr. Braud says.
Give yourself the gift of peace and joy and focus on choices that boost your health and happiness.