10 Ways to Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

With the holidays upon us I wanted to take some time to talk about the effects that this busy time of year can have on our health. Living with chronic illness {mine is systemic lupus} doesn’t have to steal your joy and zap your energy. But, it is tempting to push yourself with the amount of activity on the calendar this time of year.  Here are a few tips for taking care of yourself while still enjoying this joyful time of year.

  1. Pace yourself.  It is  not wise to plan several events in one day, especially if you don’t allot any time for rest in between.  It is better to attend a few get togethers and truly enjoy yourself than attend many and end up feeling yucky!
  2. Remember to maintain  a healthy diet.  Pigs in a blanket and eggnog do not a healthy diet make!  Certain medications need you to maintain your intake for your body to metabolize them properly (such as anti-coagulants).  So, don’t forget to eat and when you do eat, try to keep the foods as nutritious as possible.
  3. Be careful with alcohol, especially if it is contraindicated with any of your medications.  Even if it doesn’t interfere with any meds, alcohol can impair your      balance.  So again, be careful!
  4. Take a nap.  Even if it is just for 15-30 minutes it allows your body to re-energize. You will feel better physically and mentally and make far better company than if you are tired, crabby and in pain.
  5. Take time to enjoy the little things this holiday season.  There are a lot of ways that limitations may affect your holidays but there is so much more to be thankful for so  focus on the positive!
  6. Do a lot of your shopping online.  This avoids exposing yourself to the crowds at the malls (and the germs if you are immuno-compromised) and allows you to save your energy for spending time with family and friends.  Many online deals are available this time of year and most have specials on shipping, if not free shipping during the holidays.
  7. Keep it simple.  If you are entertaining or participating in holiday events, resist the urge to go all out, thus exhausting yourself.  Your guests are coming to spend time with you.  So, if that means sticking a frozen lasagna in the oven leaves you feeling up to visiting and enjoying your company, that is just fine! And, if asked your friends and family would choose quality time with you over handmade place cards every time.
  8. Get some sunlight.   Being indoors too much limits your Vitamin D intake.  Vitamin D is not  only good for your mental health but your neurological health as well.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a risk this year, especially for those of us cooped up.  Ways to avoid this are to spend time doing things you enjoy, with people you enjoy and to get outdoors when you can.  If sunlight and heat affect you like they do me, this time of year is great for being outdoors and soaking up some sunlight.
  9. Laugh!  Laughter is awesome medicine and the holidays are usually full of opportunities to laugh at others and yourself (in a nice way of course:-)
  10. Remember the true reason for the season:  The birth of Christ, being thankful and making goals for the new year that is almost upon us.  The world is about so much more than just us- so reach out and help someone less fortunate.  That  will always make you feel better!

What ways do you keep yourself healthy during the holidays?

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