Just because it’s holiday time doesn’t mean that winter’s little ills will take a break! Here are our tips to avoid them and have a healthy holiday season.
1. Avoid overeating
Let’s face it, food is a major theme of the holidays. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, food excesses can lead to digestive troubles including indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux. The best way to prevent these digestive issues is 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 your 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 most enjoy. That being said, in case of gastrointestinal problems, your pharmacist can help you.
2. Stay active
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 a while. 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.
3. 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 a while, can cause serious damage. The adverse effects of alcohol can affect the entire body—not just cause a hangover! Women should limit their alcohol consumption to 2 glasses a day and men to 3. Women can occasionally have 3 glasses and men 4, as long as women don’t exceed 10 glasses a week and men 15.
4. Prevent infections
Handshakes, kisses and hugs are great ways to spread infections like colds, flus 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 or 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—to protect yourself from the many viruses you’re sure to come into contact with over the holidays. 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. Finally, if you are feeling sick, stay in bed. It’s better to miss a party than to infect all your relatives!
5. Watch out for food poisoning
The risk of food poisoning increases during the holidays. A turkey stuffed the night before can become a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria. In fact, the turkey’s cavity isolates the stuffing from the cold air and provides a perfect environment for bacteria to multiply. Buffets left out for too long can also present risks of food intoxication. 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 (cooked or ready-to-eat foods coming into contact with raw meat or poultry); cook foods at recommended temperatures and refrigerate all leftovers right after a meal. Finally, remember to thaw the turkey in the fridge.
6. 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!
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