Make Sure You Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

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August 30th, 2008

The holidays can be a fun time full of great people, food and events. Yet they can also be a time packed with stress, exposure to illness and less than healthy habits. If you’ve suffered through the holidays in the past with a cold, feeling guilty about your diet or just regretting some of your health decisions, this year is the time to rectify your mistakes. It is possible to make it through the holiday season happy, healthy and with sanity intact, provided you’ve got some will power and are willing to plan ahead.

One of the biggest health missteps people make during the holidays is overindulging. It’s hard not to with all that great food around, but it is possible to enjoy holiday treats without blowing through thousands of calories in only a few hours. One way is to indulge in moderation. If you have some cookies, avoid the eggnog. If you want a couple of cocktails, eat less at dinner. Another way is to cook up healthier alternatives to your favorites that will let you feel like you’re getting the real deal without all the calories, fat or carbs.

Stress is also a major factor in holiday unhealthiness. With so much to do, cook and prepare, sometimes there’s hardly a minute to spare around the holidays. Yet too much stress can make it easier for you to get sick and can aggravate any existing health conditions you might have. To combat holiday stress, you can scale back your celebrations so that there will simply be less to do. If that’s not an option, start planning early and have a schedule laid out ahead. This way, you can tackle a small portion of the work at a time.

Because you’ll be around so many more people and stuck indoors around the holidays, your chances of picking up a cold or flu are much higher. Pair this increased exposure to viruses with elevated stress or a poor diet, and you have a recipe for one sick holiday season. To keep germs at bay, make sure to wash your hands often, keep hand sanitizer at bay and avoid eating and drinking after others. Illnesses are one thing you certainly don’t want to share with your family over the holidays, so do what you can to keep them at bay.

While you may not be able to account for all factors when it comes to your health around the holidays, you certainly can do a number of things to help keep yourself looking and feeling better no matter how you choose to celebrate this season.

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