The holiday season is typically one of the most challenging times of the year to maintain your healthy habits. As such, it can sometimes feel as overwhelming as it is festive.
With endless temptations, social gatherings (whether virtual or in-person), and indulgent holiday favorites, such as decadent pies, pumpkin spice lattes, candy canes, hot toddies, and sugar cookies, it can be easy to turn a blind eye to the importance of wellbeing. But, overindulging in holiday delights can leave one feeling stressed, depleted of energy, carrying unwanted extra pounds, and susceptible to longer-term health implications.
This year in particular, amidst the global pandemic we find ourselves in, it is incredibly tempering to treat oneself, but it is equally important to remain in good health as we face another spike in COVID-19 cases.
Experts in Primary Care, our Devine Concierge Medicine Doctors understand the importance of enjoying the holiday season and suggest easy to implement health tips so you may do so, while simultaneously safeguarding your wellbeing.
Below are 5 healthy holiday tips you can begin implementing with ease to maintain your health throughout this holiday season:
1. Stay Hydrated
For years the importance of consuming adequate amounts of water has made headlines, and for good reason. The human body comprises of over 60% water. Water is the most crucial element in human survival, it enables the proper functioning of each organ in the body, it helps your body to regulate temperature and maintain blood pressure levels, and it cleanses your body of waste, and toxins.
Additionally, drinking water serves another beneficial function—it can limit your food intake.
Studies have shown that oftentimes when we feel hungry, our body is actually alerting us that it is dehydrated. By ensuring you are consuming enough water throughout the day, you will not only support your organs in proper functioning, you might also prevent unnecessary snacking.
2. Stick To Your Exercise Routine
The holidays can often be the hardest time to stick to your exercise routine, but also the most crucial time to do so. Skipping your daily exercise, while also consuming more sugar than usual, can lead to a detrimental cycle of stress, fatigue, and impaired sleep, which can further damper your desire to exercise.
In order to keep your body and mind active throughout the holiday season, make a commitment to yourself (or perhaps an accountability partner) to continue your standard exercise routine throughout the holidays. In doing so, you maintain the foundation of your healthy habits and you may well notice how a commitment to exercising leads to healthier decision-making in other aspects of your life as well.
3. Select Your Food Choices Wisely
The endless array of decadent holiday delicacies can be extremely hard to resist. Unfortunately, these delicacies are usually extremely high in sugar and trans fats, which can cause both short-term and long-term harm to your body.
While we are advocates for enjoying holiday festivities, we believe in doing so intentionally—by being conscious of what you are consuming and by limiting your indulgences to avoid over-consumption.
When hosting a holiday meal or attending a family gathering, take the time to prepare a healthy dish to contribute to the meal and, when dishing up for yourself, fill your plate with the healthiest options first. By filling up on the best-for-you options, you leave less room for the indulgences.
4. Introduce Healthy Holiday Traditions
Holiday season events typically center around multiple-course meals and whip-topped drinks, but that doesn’t have to be the case. While most people do enjoy the delicious holiday favorites, they too feel fatigued, heavy, and lacking energy after excess holiday consumption.
Be the change in your family and create new, healthy holiday traditions that either don’t center around eating, or introduce new, healthier choices. Perhaps you might arrange an ornament decorating event instead of an eggnog and rum hour, or introduce a seasonal salad challenge instead of a pie-eating contest.
5. Focus On What Matters Most
With all the holiday hype, the latest must-have trends, and the constant advertising across all media channels, it is easy to become distracted and enchanted by the festivities, and forget about what matters most—your health and your loved ones.
This year has highlighted the fragility of life and the importance of savoring moments with those we love. Let this be a reminder that the holidays are not meant to be primarily about food. The festive season is truly meant to be time well spent with those we cherish most.