Is it common for you to treat yourself maybe one too many cookies during the Christmas season? That’s okay, we all do it, but it’s important to incorporate some balance into our diet and daily routine, so we’re not completely thrown off, come January 1st. And though Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year, it can also be a little overwhelming, bringing an unwanted amount of stress our way.

So, our gift to you is 8 tips to keep your mind, body, and spirit healthy during this holiday season!

#1 Love Your Neighbors
First things first – don’t forget to love on others. This time of year, we tend to focus our attention on what to buy and what gifts to ask for. While the giving of gifts is a way to spread holiday cheer, don’t forget to maybe go the extra mile for others during this season. Whether it’s helping your elderly neighbors put up their Christmas lights, taking lunches to those who work during the holidays, or inviting someone over to your house who doesn’t have anyone to celebrate with – do something for others this joyful season.

#2 Think First, Eat Second
Statistics show that the average person consumes about 3,000 calories just for our Christmas dinner…which explains the weight gain most of us experience. You know, those extra 10 pounds that just magically appear the next day. Rather than mindlessly eating whatever is in front of us or finishing our plate at the sake of pleasing the cook, long after we’ve been full – take a moment and think whether you really want it. Or, are you just eating it because it’s right there in front of you? It’s recommended to eat a normal-sized meal, then give yourself about 20 minutes to see if you’re still hungry. Tip: it might be better to walk away from the food during that time, so your mind doesn’t play tricks on you!

#3 Don’t Forget About Balance
With all the delicious snacks and endless amounts of dessert, we tend to forget about those healthy options, like fruits and vegetables! It may not be the dish that people are most excited about, but it’s important to get your vitamins and minerals so you can stay healthy. If you know a salad or fruit bowl won’t be on the menu this year, make sure to stop by the store so you can encourage everyone to add at least one healthy side to their Christmas dinner. (And no, wine does not count as a serving of fruit).

#4 Avoid Food Poisoning
As found by the Food Standards Agency, December is one of the highest months for people to get food poisoning. So, if you’re one of the cooks on Christmas, make sure not to leave food out all day. It’s best to make sure the food on the table has either just been cooked, or just come out of the fridge. Leftovers should always be eaten within 48 hours or should be frozen to preserve longer. And if you’re cooking up a turkey this year, be sure to defrost it in the fridge!

#5 Don’t Be a Couch Potato
We know it’s always a special treat to spend quality time with family and friends snuggled up around a fire watching good Hallmark movies, but don’t sit on the couch all day! You can still get in that special time by going for a walk together, especially after a meal so your food can digest properly. The more active you are, the healthier you are – so go for a bike ride, play with the kiddos on the trampoline, or kick around a soccer ball and create some wonderful memories outside. Just moving your body for 30 minutes a day will do the trick.

#6 Worry Less, Love More
The season to be jolly can sometimes be a bit overwhelming and can even turn us into a grinch. With overspending on gifts, cooking for hours on end, deep cleaning the house, or exhausting our energy on entertaining the house guests – stress is bound to take over at one point or another. Try to lift your spirits up and keep that sense of humor. It’s not really the end of the world if you accidentally burn the squash casserole, is it? Christmas comes around once a year, so it’s not worth it to spend it stressing over small things, and it’s definitely not worth the elevated blood pressure. Give yourself a break, remember the reason for the season, and spend these last weeks of 2019 loving on those around you.

#7 Spread Joy, Not Germs
Christmas time is usually spent traveling, hanging out with extended family and friends, and giving alllll the hugs, which can, unfortunately, expose us to different viruses – the most common being the cold. Minimize your risk of getting sick by washing your hands, coughing into your sleeve, and maybe not giving out a free high-five to that person who just sneezed into their hands… Maintain a healthy immune system by eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, and staying active. This way, your body can fight off any viruses that come your way.

#8 Schedule Your Vaccines
Last, but certainly not least – make sure to get your flu vaccination before it’s too late! The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and up to get the flu shot every year; to help reduce the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and even flu-related deaths. Influenza activity typically peaks between the months of December and February but can last through May. Scheduling your flu shot may be the best decision you make all year! And while you’re visiting our office, you could go one step further and get your annual physical, if you haven’t already.

What’s better than starting off a new decade than by letting our trusted providers, here at Eagles Landing Family Practice, get and keep you healthy?

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