In this post, we will take a look at holiday season health hangups and discuss how to maintain or improve our health during this busy, food filled time of year.
The truth is, while Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s can be times of great joy, the feelings of depression and a negative mood are actually also very common during the holiday season. Additionally, most people will consume around 3,000 calories per holiday meal, which is more than the daily recommended calorie allowance for a grown man. On average, Americans add on 1-2 pounds each November to January. While this isn’t a large number, it will take most of us about five months to ditch those measly couple of pounds!
Does this mean we shouldn’t indulge? Shouldn’t enjoy ourselves? No way! However, let’s take a look at some ways to ensure a healthier holiday season this year, while still enjoying ourselves and the loved ones around us. We’re bringing along some quotes from favorite holiday movies for this list:
Get More Active
“I can’t get up, Ralphie! I can’t get up!“A Christmas Story
You don’t need to wait on a New Year’s resolution to get more active. A simple mindful way to be a little more active this season is to make sure you aren’t just sitting around the majority of the day. It’s tempting (and enjoyable) to cozy up on the couch, in front of the fire, watching whatever Christmas specials are on television, but remember to balance that out by also taking a walk if the weather is nice, or playing with new outdoor gifts such as scooters, bikes, frisbees, etc.
Go Easy on the Booze
“Fuller! Go easy on the Pepsi!“Home Alone
If you imbibe a little extra this time of year, be aware those alcohol units really add up! Mulled wine, spiked egg nog or cider, Bailey’s, Kahlua, and on it goes… Be sure to drink at least as much water as alcohol, if not more.
Be Mindful of What You’re Eating
“We elves try to stick to the four main food groups; candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.“Elf
Overdoing it at the holiday meal(s) can contribute to weight gain, sure–but overindulging can also contribute to heartburn and/or lethargy. One way to be mindful of what you’re consuming is to eat a normal sized meal and wait 20 minutes, then see if you’re still hungry (it takes this long for the brain to register that the stomach is full). Additionally, look at what is on your plate–holiday meals are notorious for having an absence of healthy fruits and vegetables (fruits in a creamy marshmallowy fruit salad and green bean casserole are not what we are talking about here, friends). If there are some healthy options around, add a little of those to your plate, or make sure to consume fruits and veggies throughout the day at other times. A healthy diet also helps us stay well and avoid the colds that are so often passed around during this time of year.
Take it Easy, Skip the Stress
“…It’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.”National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Stress can come with the holidays–cooking, cleaning, to do lists, overspending, and expectations of others can all contribute to this stress. Combat it with perspective. Is it really the end of the world if that side dish isn’t perfect? Or if your ceiling fans are dusty? Or if Grandma Hazel doesn’t approve of the way you set the table? Some practical ways to combat stress are to say no to non-essential things, get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, ask for and accept help, and take some time for yourself– rest, get a massage or pedicure, or go see a movie.
Cool it with the Wanting
“What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.”It’s a Wonderful Life
Consumerism is king in our culture, and no other time portrays this as much as Christmas. Try doing something for others–make some extra holiday goodies to give to neighbors, invite someone alone over for the holidays to your holiday meal, buy gifts for a family in need, volunteer at a local shelter, give a gift to a friend anonymously, or call someone you haven’t talked to in a while and don’t be in a hurry to stop listening to them (they may be one suffering from loneliness this season).
Sing Your Heart Out
“Blast this Christmas music! It’s joyful and triumphant.”How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Turn on the tunes. Sing. Throw in some dancing as well! Research has shown that music can lift our moods, reduce stress, and help us to concentrate better. Dancing has multiple benefits as well, including improved memory, improved flexibility, improved balance, reduced stress and depression, improved cardiovascular health, weight loss, and increased energy! Bonus points for singing and/or dancing with friends–being socially engaged can lead to higher levels of happiness, reduced stress, and a stronger immune system.
As you go through this season, we hope you find ways to relax and enjoy these days. Wishing you a happy, healthy, and blessed holiday season from everyone at Insight Thermography of Oklahoma!
“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep counting my blessings.“White Christmas