Stay Healthy During The Holidays

Here's How To Have A Healthy Holiday Season

The holiday season is filled with activities and temptations that can harm your health. You may face an abundance of rich desserts cropping up at parties, shopping trips that put you at the mall in the middle of cold and flu season, busy schedule demands that heap on stress, and more this season. Fortunately, there are things you can do to stay healthier this holiday season. Below are several ideas that can make a difference.

Understand And Manage Holiday Stress

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Stress can take a toll on your health in many ways, and the holiday season can bring an abundance of stress. This means you may find yourself more susceptible to colds and the flu, and experience lowered immunity in general. It is helpful to know where the stress is coming from so you can do your best to minimize its effects. It's also vital to have effective strategies with which to manage this stress so that you can not only stay healthier, but happier as well.

Here are some of the most common sources of holiday stress and effective ways to manage it. Holiday stress management is a gift you give yourself, but it's a gift to your loved ones as well, as they'll enjoy a happier, healthier, and more relaxed you.

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Minimize Holiday Perfectionism

It's tempting to enjoy the holidays to the fullest, in every sense of the word. However, if you go all-out, you're more prone to burn-out. It may be tempting to re-create a full range of holiday traditions from your childhood and bring in a host of new traditions as well--baking, gifting, caroling, decorating, and other traditions are joyous, exciting, and memorable. But sometimes less is more, and if you observe only those traditions that bring the most joy, you can really savor the experiences they bring. Learn where to cut corners so you can truly revel in the holiday traditions you hold most dear. Letting go of those aspects of the season that become overwhelming can free you up to enjoy what's left, and stay healthier without all the stress. And cutting down on added stress and busy-ness can mean more time for healthy habits like exercise and sleep, so minimizing perfection can help you to maximize your health during the holidays.

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Healthy Holiday Eating

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From now until January 1st (when people will be hitting the gym en masse) there will be many tempting reasons to slip into poor eating habits. There seems to be more food around, and most of it is delicious. You may also find yourself less able to cook healthy meals when you're more busy. And when stressed, emotional eating can become a temptation. Wouldn't it be nice to start the new year with momentum toward healthy habits, rather than with a feeling that you need to get back to being healthy with your lifestyle? Learn about holiday stress-eating triggers as well as other factors that contribute to the 4-5 pounds that many people gain this time of year--and discover effective ways to stick to a healthy diet without feeling stressed or deprived as a result.

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Get Better Sleep During The Holiday Season

Sleep deprivation can make stress levels soar.
Sleep deprivation can make stress levels soar. Diane Diederich E+/ Getty Images

 There are many reasons we may get poor quality sleep--or not enough of it--during the holiday season, and this can make everything more stressful.  If you become too busy, if the stress of the season or even the wrong diet make your sleep less restful, you may make yourself more vulnerable to catching whatever is going around.  Keep yourself healthy by protecting your sleep schedule!  Here's how to sleep well during the holidays.

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Exercise When You're Busy

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When we get busy, exercise often goes by the wayside. During the month of December (which is right around the corner), it becomes challenging to find time to exercise, and it may be tempting to put your workouts on hold until January. Don't! Exercise is an excellent stress relief tool and can keep you more relaxed as well as more healthy. Cutting unnecessary activity out of your schedule can be helpful, and there are other tricks to help you maintain an exercise habit during the busy month of December as well. Instead of abandoning workouts (or waiting until January to start), find creative ways to work around a busy schedule. Here's what you need to know.

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