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Healthy Living During the Holidays

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Happy Holidays Graphic
A key aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is focusing on goals that are sustainable over the long term. As with any goal, you need to have periodic check-ins with yourself and make necessary adjustments–including vacations, new daily schedules, and the holidays! Staying healthy does not mean that you have to perfect one hundred percent of the time or that if you slip up, you have failed and cannot reach your goals. There is no need to feel guilty for participating in festive celebrations with friends and family or think you must give up on your goals until it’s time to make your New Year’s resolutions for the upcoming year. There are plenty of opportunities to take the time to plan, amend, and modify your health goals before, during, and after the holiday season.

Make a Healthy Holiday Plan

Setting personal health goals for the holidays does not mean you cannot enjoy yourself or have fun with loved ones. When thinking about what you look forward to the most during the holiday season, also consider the things you do not enjoy. This can include stress, overindulgence, idleness, or boredom. By planning ahead, you can make small, healthy changes that will add up over time, helping you reach your long-term health goals. For example, if your holiday goal is to eat healthily, you can make a plan to cook meals at home that are grilled, broiled, or baked instead of fried. Also, there are many healthy food replacements for rich, high-calorie foods that can help you maintain your diet without sacrificing flavor and taste. To avoid food cravings, think of diversions to distract you from eating, such as taking a walk or drinking a glass of water. Once you have your plan, share it with your family and friends to avoid awkward but well-meaning questions. Share as much of your plan and health goals as you feel comfortable with and request their support and encouragement. It is also okay to ask your loved ones not to comment on your choices as you work towards your goals. Family preparing a thanksgiving feast

Savor Seasonal Delights

We enjoy the winter holidays for many reasons, with one of the biggest being food. As they say, everything in moderation, and the same goes with holiday foods and beverages. When attending a work party, celebratory gathering, or family dinner, think about a healthy meal you enjoy that can contribute to the potluck buffet. This will ensure that you have at least one healthy option. Once it’s time to eat, look over the holiday offerings and choose those food items that you may only get to enjoy once a year rather than those you can get any other day. Then, take a moment to savor the taste and joy you receive from your food, and before going for seconds, give yourself 10 to 20 minutes to check in with your brain on whether you are full. If you enjoy festive beverages that contain alcohol and/or high amounts of sugar, alternate with a glass of water between glasses to maintain a healthy balance. During the holidays – or anytime – it is crucial not to skip meals in anticipation of the treats ahead. This will most likely backfire on you and lead to overeating. If you are too hungry, it can cause you to eat quickly, and you can easily ingest twice the amount of food your body actually needs. Instead, consider eating a filling snack beforehand that can help curb your appetite, like cheese, fruit, nuts, or yogurt. Family having fun on the beach

Actively Visit with Loved Ones

We all enjoy sitting around the table or relaxing on the couch while we catch up with family and friends. However, you can also talk and reconnect during healthy, physical activities. Instead of spending a day watching holiday movies, find a local charitable run or walk that your family can participate in. Before gobbling down your holiday dinner, arrange a friendly flag football outdoors. Or plan a rousing game of charades after dinner. Instead of meeting friends at a restaurant, suggest meeting for a hike at a local park or ice skating at a rink.

Take Time for Self-Care

Self-care is not selfish; it is vital to your health and well-being. While you plan meet-ups, dinners, and parties with your loved ones, schedule time to reconnect with yourself. This can be meditating when you wake up, reading a book during your morning coffee, taking an afternoon walk, or taking a warm bath before bed. If you find yourself overly stressed during the holidays, think of what is causing your stress and what you can change. For instance, the time to shop and wrap gifts, combined with financial strain, can make gift-giving very stressful. To relieve stress, you can suggest a Secret Santa gift exchange with friends, or your family can plan a fun outing or day to give back to those in need. And if you feel overwhelmed by the obligation to attend parties and get-togethers, it is entirely okay to decline invitations. Another essential part of self-care is getting plenty of sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep will help you stick to your health plan, make good decisions, keep up your energy levels, and make you more fun to be around. The National Sleep Foundation advises that keeping consistent sleep and wake times is important, even during the holidays, as well as getting at least seven hours of sleep a night.

Are There Any Non-Surgical Methods to Maintain Healthy Joints During the Holidays?

Are you looking for nonsurgical solutions for joint pain during the holidays? Fortunately, there are various non-invasive methods to maintain healthy joints. Regular exercise, such as swimming or walking, can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints. Additionally, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet and practicing stress-relief techniques like yoga or meditation can contribute to joint health.

Family Integrative Medicine is Here for Every Season

If you are looking for help in reaching your healthy lifestyle goals, the knowledgeable and compassionate team at Family Integrative Medicine can assist you in making a plan and coach you on how you can adjust when needed so you can do the things you love most.

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