Five Healthy Holiday Habits
As entertaining and enjoyable as the holidays may be, it’s also a stressful time, and that’s why it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines that will help you stay healthy through this season.
- Get enough rest. You’ll be asking a lot of yourself, physically, mentally, and emotionally – it puts tremendous pressure on your brain to not only handle all the extra work, but also to maintain itself, clean itself, and nourish itself. All of this happens automatically while you sleep, and that’s one of the most important reasons to get seven or eight hours of sleep each night – sleep is the time that your brain recovers and replenishes itself. Do your best to get some additional rest during the holidays – if you stay up late, catch up with an extra hour or two the next night, or as soon as possible. Your brain will thank you for it.
- Pace yourself on holiday foods. Our holiday diet tends to be heavier, sweeter, saltier, and more fried, among other nutritional indiscretions. We also tend to eat too much, as if it’s okay because of the date, though we know deep down it isn’t. It’s pointless to swear off all these foods – they are a vital part of the holiday spirit. And speaking of holiday spirits, many people enjoy adult beverages, too. And all of these extra calories and foods that are difficult to digest properly take a toll on your health. What’s the answer? Pace yourself. You can have pretty much whatever you like, within reason, just don’t eat it all. Have a bite or two. Enjoy it. Savor it. Then try another bite or two. If you take it in at a reasonable rate, you’ll avoid overeating and still get the pleasure of your favorite treats.
- Drink lots of water. Those same heavy, salty, sweet, fried foods will tend to clog up your system, and nothing cleans it out like having enough water. Typically, you probably need at least half an ounce a day for every pound of body weight, between eight and twelve glasses each day for most people. But during the holidays, drink a little extra, to give yourself an advantage in stressful times.
- Be careful when doing heavy work. You may be called upon to move furniture, hang decorations, scrub floors, carry bags of gifts or groceries, and dozens of other laborious tasks that stress our bodies and put us to the test physically. When lifting, bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your low back. And if you need to work over head, work for a while, then take a break to stretch or at least come back to neutral, to minimize muscle strain. And, make sure to check in with your chiropractor, who will help you keep your body in alignment so you can more easily handle the work you’ll need to do.
- Breathe. In stressful times, one of our first responses is to shorten our breath, costing us valuable oxygen and robbing the cells of their primary fuel, required to perform at peak efficiency.
Get into the habit of taking a few deep breaths whenever you are feeling stressed, tired, anxious or distracted. Often, the air you take in will clarify your thinking, make you feel stronger and yet more relaxed, and will promote a general feeling of well-being. Even better, start your day with ten or twelve nice full breaths, and you’ll be amazed how refreshed you feel.
Get Educated! Get Inspired! Take Action!…..and Have a Happy Healthy Holiday!
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