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Almost everyone looks forward to the holidays. Whether you want to spend time with family, friends, and coworkers, or you are simply looking forward to all the great food and fun that the holiday’s offer, it’s important to reflect on the important things in life.
One of those things is your health.
We know that there are dozens of sites offering tips, but let’s be honest- are tips like “serve carrots instead of rum balls” or “skip the holiday fudge” realistic? Obviously rum balls and fudge are not healthy, but what are the holidays about if you don’t enjoy the little things life has to offer?
No, we aren’t suggesting that you eat a plate of fudge. We are simply saying that many holiday tips just aren’t realistic, so they don’t work.
Take a look at our 11 holiday tips that will keep you healthy because they are based on life as it is, not life as we wish it was.
You might have heard the old “you’ll gain 10 or 12 pounds if you don’t diet during the holidays.” Well, this simply isn’t true. Believe it or not, most people only gain 2 pounds between turkey day and New Years Day.
Of course, as we mentioned above, this doesn’t mean you should go all out, hog wild with abandon and drink a gallon of eggnog at the company party! The best healthy holiday eating tips is to follow the 80/20 rule. If you eat right 80% of the time, then the other 20% won’t matter.
If you should lose control and eat that entire plate of fudge, don’t think “Well, I’ve blown it. I might as well finish off the cookies.” Instead, be kind to yourself. Think along the lines of “That was the best fudge, but I shouldn’t eat like that. I’ll have a big salad for dinner to make up for it.”
One interesting holiday health fact is that many people believe that the holidays are the most depressing days of the year, but studies have found that this isn’t true. In fact, the lowest suicide rates occur in December. You might feel blue because of certain events, or if your family is far away and you won’t be with them, but this doesn’t mean you have to just sit home and brood. Healthy holiday wellness tips to help keep you in the holiday spirit include:
Like food, drinking can become a real problem during the holidays if you let it. Besides leading to those awful hangovers, drinking too much can give you an erratic heartbeat, even if you are healthy. Doctors see this so much at this time of year, they’ve dubbed it “holiday heart syndrome.”
Drinking might make you feel happy and free, but isn’t winter dangerous enough without you feeling like you could fly on the ice? Drink too much and that’s exactly what will happen, but you will be flying on your behind down an icy driveway or sidewalk and end up at your chiropractor’s office the next morning!
Like eating, drink in moderation. Put ice in your drinks and try having a virgin, a soda, or a glass of water in between drinks to help give your body time to process the alcohol.
The last “gift” you want to give away or receive is the flu virus. Spending the holidays with the flu is the biggest bummer next to having the flu on your wedding day. Staying healthy during the holidays means so much more than just avoiding excessive food and drink; it also means avoiding viruses.
You can greatly reduce your risk of catching the flu by getting your annual flu shot. You might think it’s too late, but truthfully, it’s NEVER too late! Go get vaccinated before you buy another gift. Do it today!
Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently and no, it is not rude to pull out that miniature bottle of hand sanitizer and use it whenever you feel you need to.
If you find that you are exhausted from all the parties, planning for parties, Christmas caroling, and pot lucks then opt out! Seriously, you do not have to be all things to all people. Learn to say “Oh, I would love to, but I can’t. I already have something else planned.”
If the kids or in-laws being underfoot is driving you a bit crazy, make plans to have a massage (most chiropractors offer a terrific massage service) get a pedicure or just take time out to destress by doing something you really enjoy.
Believe it or not, most house fires occur during the holidays. Keep an eye on candles and be certain that they can’t be knocked over the pets or children. Don’t leave your fireplace or stove unattended and don’t forget to install a carbon monoxide protector in your home.
The holidays can make us feel guilty if we don’t spend enough money on gifts, as if the amount of money spent equals how much we care. We can also get so caught up in the loving, giving atmosphere of Christmas that we end up spending a lot more than we planned or that we can afford.
Set a budget before you hit the stores or go online. Rather than give everyone in your office a $5 candle, how about giving them a card with a $1 lottery scratcher ticket? It’s the thought that counts, not the price.
If you find that you are too busy to keep your normal exercise routine, that’s ok. The holidays only last a couple of weeks, as long as you are getting at least some exercise, you can return to your normal schedule soon, but don’t make the mistake of skipping exercise altogether!
If you have previously made doctor, dentist, or appointments with your chiropractor, don’t skip them! Many people schedule their appointments after the New Year and you might find a new appointment harder to make.
Don’t let those little aches or pain get ignored either. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If your back hurts or you are getting headaches every day, make an appointment with your chiropractor now, not after the holidays.
Remember to get some exercise, keep your appointments, stretch, and get at least 7 hours of sleep each night so you won’t start off your new year with some type of health issue.
This is the perfect time to tell people how much you care for them and what you value about them. You don’t have to gush but letting someone know that you are so grateful to have them as a friend because you can always count on their support means more than any present ever will.
This is also a great time to give back. Whether you plan on donating toys, working in a soup kitchen, visit the elderly in nursing homes or pass out coloring books to children stuck in the hospital, giving back to your community is a great way to experience the holidays in a meaningful way.
Yes, we want to add to this “…whenever possible” because we do understand that sometimes, you simply cannot avoid them. You don’t have to sit next to them at the table, however! Take whatever steps you need to avoid people who grate you the wrong way.
Sometimes, at this time of year, we experience feelings of hope; hope that people will change. While they can, they rarely do. People are who they are, and you should find ways to accept this or you will make yourself miserable when they disappoint you year after year.
The holidays are such a short-lived pleasure that many of us try to cram in too much in too short a period of time, which leaves us exhausted and feeling let down later on.
Choose your activities carefully. Which will truly be the most fun? Yes, your mother might expect you to come to her annual tree decorating party, but if you would rather go to the night time sledding party with your BFF, your mother will simply have to understand.
Don’t try to do too much or try to be the best everything. You won’t get a raise for spending days searching for the perfect gift and you won’t get a promotion for going to every party. Spend the holidays more like a vacation, than an obligation.
Let’s focus more on what the holidays are really about; being with the people we love and cherish. We don’t have to be perfect, we don’t have to be all things to everyone on our Christmas card list, we just need to be real humans who are perfectly imperfect and that is the best holiday health and safety tip ever.
From everyone at Better Health Chiropractic and Physical Rehab, we wish you the very best holiday season this year and every year.
Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.