Welcome to Blogmas 2017! Rheagan from Where the Wild Rose Grows is joining us today! Be sure to go visit her for more great tips and advice!
Health means different things to different people and can cover so many different facets. During the busy, often disruptive, holiday season, various aspects of our health can become neglected.
To help you stay on top of your health this holiday season, I’ve compiled my top seven tips for having a healthy holiday season!
1. Try to keep to your regular routine as much as possible.
Maybe you go to the gym for an hour every morning, but during the holiday season you might not have time for such a commitment? Getting up at your regular time and doing something to get the blood pumping will help keep your body on track. Maintaining a routine as much as possible helps you sleep better, eat better, and reduces stress, plus it will help keep everyone in the groove of normal life so it’s not such a shock to the system when holidays draw to a close, especially for the kids who have had a nice long break from classes.
2. Get adequate and quality sleep.
Protecting our circadian rhythm is hard enough in our modern lives, never mind adding the holidays on top of it. Wherever you happen to find yourself, try to prioritize quality sleep. This will help support your immune system and make you more resistant to all those cold and flu bugs floating around this time of year. Not only does good sleep help us look and feel better in the short term, it has positive, long-term effects on our heart health, mental health, weight, and more!
3. Include whole foods in your diet wherever you can.
Of course no one is going to be perfect, but making better choices where you are able will benefit your health in the long run. Whole foods are higher in nutrients than their pre-packaged and processed counterparts, as well as higher in fiber and healthy fats. Additionally, the nutrients found in whole foods are in their ideal ratios and synergistic combinations to further benefit our bodies and keep us healthy. Eating healthy during the holidays doesn’t have to be a chore. Preparing and cooking dishes from scratch is not only good for your health, but it can also allow you quality time with loved ones as you bond over preparing Grandma’s pumpkin pie the old-fashioned way or starting new culinary traditions with the next generation.
4. Get outside!
I know it’s chilly this time of year, but responsible sun exposure and fresh air are both very good things for our health. Sun exposure is the catalyst for vitamin D synthetization in the body. Increased vitamin D levels mean better health and a stronger immune system, which will help ensure you enjoy your holiday season illness-free. Vitamin D is also connected to staving off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can affect some of us during the shorter days of winter. Fresh air has many benefits to our health, not least among them helping improve digestion. With all the treats floating around this time of year, our digestion can likely use all the help it can get! It also makes you happier, so bundle up, get outside, and have an even happier holiday.
5. Drink enough (of the right kind of stuff!).
Staying hydrated can be a challenge in the winter months, and especially when our regular schedule is disrupted or we are not in our usual surroundings. But drinking enough is important for a variety of reasons that will help us tackle the joys of the holiday season in even better spirits. It helps flush toxins from our system (perhaps after one too many indulgences) and it also helps keep us regular, which can be a challenge for some when travelling or facing a disruption to their regular diet. Drinking enough water also helps prevent and relieve headaches and fatigue and increases energy.
6. Enjoy the socializing.
More and more research is coming out on the health benefits of positive social interaction and support. When else are you (hopefully) going to have more of that than when families are gathered to celebrate together? Positive social interactions have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and strong emotional bonds may help provide important motivation to improve lifestyle factors. Research has also found that social people are less likely to become ill or struggle with depression. Positive social interactions also benefit us by improving sleep and delaying memory loss over time.
7. Embrace good stress, avoid bad stress.
Chronic, unresolved stress can have a very negative impact on our health in a variety of ways, from lowering our immune system to impacting our mental health. But good stress, the kind we face when striving to achieve goals, can do good things for our health. As we look towards the New Year, try to set reasonable, attainable goals for yourself. This will keep you motivated and mentally sharp, and it will also provide you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when you reach them, further motivating you to keep working towards new goals. You want to challenge, not overwhelm, yourself.
That’s it! Those are my top seven tips for having a happy and healthy holiday season. Give them a try and let me know how it goes or share some of your own top healthy holiday tips below!
Rheagan writes from her home in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. She is a paralegal-turned-stay-at-home-mama with a passion for healthy living, and you can find her over at Where the Wild Rose Grows.