Tips for Keeping Healthy Over the Holidays Written by: Olivia Frymark

As the holidays approach us, it’s normal to feel stressed about staying heathy. Whether it’s your first time coming together to celebrate as a group since the pandemic began, or additional pressures of feeling like you need to make up for eating festive treats or fit into an ideal outfit, we’re here to guide you with healthy tips to keep in mind this holiday season.

Wash Your Hands

This tip may sound obvious, but we are still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic on top of it being flu season. Gatherings may feel more lax, but we need to help stop the spread of germs! The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

Get your Booster!

If you haven’t already, get your COVID-19 booster shot! If six months have passed since your second shot, now is the time to schedule that booster. Everyone ages 16 and older are eligible. Vaccinations are our best defense against COVID-19 and the emerging Omicron variant. Keep yourself and those close to you safer by getting vaccinated. Text your zip code to 438829 for a list of vaccination sites in your area and free transportation.

Stay Active

With altered schedules over the holidays, fitness routines can be hard to stick to. But this doesn’t mean you can’t stay active. Don’t stress if you can’t make it to the gym seven days a week. Instead, set smaller, more attainable goals. Think of one thing you can do a day to get your body moving. Whether it’s an at-home virtual workout or a short walk around your neighborhood, either will get your blood pumping and you feeling good!

Don’t Stress

Holiday treats can be hard to deny – and no one is saying you have to! A lot of people tend to stress or focus negatively on their bodies this time of year. An additional part of keeping your body healthy is keeping your emotional well-being top of mind too.

Here are some good practices to follow:

  • Avoid talking about food and/or your body. Just because food can be one of the main events of a holiday get together, doesn’t mean all your conversations have to rely on it. Nobody has permission to talk about your body either – how different you look since the last time someone saw you, etc. Both of these topics can be triggering for those who struggle with body dysmorphia and it’s best to just avoid them fully.
  • Come prepared. If a conversation is leaning towards food or body discussion brings additional unwanted stress, have a few talking points you can easily change the subject to.
  • Partake in activities that don’t revolve around food or looks. Engaging your mind in different activities is healthy and distracting. Read a book, see a show, spend time exploring a new place.
  • Practice gratitude. Check in with yourself. Your body is actively working to keep you alive and healthy. Often times, we’re so distracted by negative thoughts that it’s hard to refocus and remember this. Show yourself the kindness you would to a friend.
  • Remember not to over-extend. When you are feeling stressed or anxious, it’s okay to say no to a party invite when needed. Instead of feeling unwanted shame for backing out, try being open and sharing your thoughts. The responses may pleasantly surprise you. Or if being with others is a good distraction from your negative thoughts, make a conscious effort to surround yourself with others even if you aren’t feeling 100%.

Swap in some healthy eating habits

If holiday eating has got you worried, here are some healthy habits you can work into your daily routine:

  • Drink more water. It’ll keep you hydrated and helps aid in the digestive process to keep you full.
  • Consume everything in moderation. No one is saying you can’t have a few festive cocktails or a delicious dessert. Just be mindful of how much you’re consuming. In between drinks, make sure you have a full glass of water. After dessert, ask yourself if you really want another serving or if it could be a delicious treat added to brighten your tomorrow.
  • Eat before you go. If you are worried you’ll overindulge, eat before you go. Make an effort to eat a full healthy meal before whatever event you’re attending so you can arrive full and won’t be consumed by cravings.
  • Choose healthy substitutes. When cooking, review your recipe to see if there can be any healthy substitutes to swap in. For example, you can use Greek yogurt to replace mayonnaise or sour cream, sweet potatoes for mashed potatoes, stevia for sugar, coconut milk for heavy cream, whole grain bread instead of white bread, roast vegetables instead of putting them into a casserole, and so on. You can alter almost every recipe by cooking mindfully.

While the holiday season can be a little stressful at times, just remember it is supposed to be filled with joy, gratitude, and togetherness. Practice kindness on yourself and others. Keep these tips in mind to make it the best it can be!